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.
I am an avid listener. I listen between 75-100 hours per month on my iPhone: 60% fiction to 40% non-fiction.
This novel intensifies your feeling for the characters. By the end of this book you have so much invested in the story that you want to know the end; but are starting to mourn that there are only two more novels. This is the 2/3 point in the series. Be prepared for heartbreak and surprise – who is who. The strands of the base story complicate in this installment leaving you unsure of what twists and turns lay ahead -- excellent. There are storms brewing on every front, elder and immortals and on the side of good and the side of evil. You’ll have some big questions at the end of this one for sure.