I'm not blind drunk, I'm just blind.
For months I'd gone back and forth with myself about whether I was going to read the Twilight novels. But being blind, my only options were to either find them in braille, a medium which I find extremely tedious to be quite frank, or to listen to them. I tried at first to listen to the Library of Congress version, also known as the Talking Book version specifically recorded for us blind folks, but the narrator's voice ruined the story for me. But as is often the case in these situations, the commercially available audiobook was done much better. The story itself was far more interesting than I was expecting, always a plus, but Ilyana Kadushin's narration added just that little bit more to the pie, so to speak. Her smooth, slightly husky voice doesn't seem out of place, particularly when the character speaking is Edward Cullen or Jacob Black. I didn't hear the flatness that another reviewer complained about. I don't think they could have picked a better narrator unless perhaps it were Stephenie Meyer herself. Needless to say I'm glad I spent the two credits on this program, although I'll say right here and now that I messed up my sleep cycle for the next several weeks reading the entire series.
For those who didn't get the title, Simon Jones is probably best known by some as the voice of Arthur Dent in the BBC's TV and radio adaptations of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. But he does an excellent job of narrating audiobooks from what I've heard, particularly here.
The Amulet of Samarkand opens with the spirit Bartimaeus being summoned by the apprentice magician Nathaniel and ordered to steal a powerful artifact from a ruthless magician. Unfortunately for Nathaniel, he quickly finds himself in way over his head, involved in matters of treachery and intrigue. And to make matters even more complicated the wisecracking, sarcastic Bartimaeus has his own agenda.
I particularly like how the book switches from Nathaniel's point of view over to that of Bartimaeus, and particularly how when speaking from Bartimaeus' point of view it switches to first person narration. I particularly like Simon Jones' narration during these points, as he easily and perfectly captures Bartimaeus' witty, often scathing sense of humor. I haven't finished the book yet but I can't put it down for long. And when I've enough credits saved up I intend to purchase the rest of the trilogy.
Two years have passed since the events of Amulet of Samarkand. Nathaniel, now called John Mandrake to his colleagues, is a member of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the same department formerly headed by his late former master, the cowardly Arthur Underwood. Now apprenticed to a new master, Jessica Whitwell, Nathaniel is currently involved in a mostly fruitless hunt for a group of rogue commoners known as the Resistance, who wage small attacks on Magicians' dwellings and businesses to steal magical objects which they hope to use to eventually overthrow the cruel government. That operation is sidelined by a series of attacks on London by an unknown and seemingly invulnerable creature. Finding himself in peril of his life, Nathaniel summons the Djinni Bartimaeus, who discovers that the creature responsible for the destruction of many London businesses is a Golem,, sending Nathaniel to the ancient city of Praague, where such magic originated.
As with Amulet, narrator Simon Jones does an excellent job of narrating, bringing life to old and new characters alike, from Kitty Jones to the Afrit Honorius. If you haven't read this series yet, you definitely should. It may take a bit of getting used to since the magic isn't as pure as in, say, Harry Potter, but it's definitely innovative and interesting.
While I've LOVED the Bloody Jack series to date and Katherine Kellgren's performance, this wasn't one of my favorites on either account. The story was a bit too long with too many mishaps and I didn't like Ms. Kellgren's portrayal of some of Jacky's wilderness "friend" (for lack of a better word). Every time Mike Fink spoke I had to cringe just a little.
What I loved about this story, was Jaimy Fletcher's travel down the Allegheny, Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. When he was coming up with wording for the U.S.A. acronym I was absolutely doubled over in laughter. I couldn't wait to get back to Jaimy's story to hear what he came up with next. Poor Jaimy - he simply could not catch a break in this book.
If you are reading/listening to this series, you cannot skip this book. It is very good - just not my favorite.