I find it amusing how many people compare this book to Harry Potter. Yes, they both involve magic, but that's the end of the similarity. The very basis of magic in this book is that magicians are evil, scheming, and enjoy enslaving other beings. In Harry Potter Magic itself was pure, free to be used in any way desired. But that's all I'll say on that, as this is a review of Bartimaeus, not Harry Potter.
After only the opening chapter, I was in love with the writing style Stroud uses in this book. The characterization of the djinni, Bartimaeus, is absoutely amazing and delightfully enjoyable to listen to. Nathaniel's character was not as interesting, but held true to what one would expect in a child that age.
After being horribly spoiled by the phenomenal narration of people like Stefan Rudnicki (Numerous books, including most Orson Scott Card books), Scott Brick (Harry Potter, US edition I believe), and Michael Kramer (Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time), I was hoping for someone I wouldn't mind listening to. What I got was another fantastic narrator in Simon Jones. He really brings the characters to life.
All in all, there is little negative to say about this audiobook. The story is rather predictable, but it still immerses you in an interesting magical world, not your standard fare. I would recommend this book for both adults and children, though not young children under the age of 10 or so, due to it's dark and relatively violent nature.
I tried this book out as part of the Sword and Laser book club and am happy I did! This is not the kind of book that would normally entice me, being more into fantasy or far-future galaxy exploration Sci-Fi. The prologue gets you into the strangeness immediately and introduces the character you spend the rest of the novel trying to understand. When the actual story starts, it uses the classic dual-location philosophy, slowly building the world and introducing stranger and stranger things, finally building to, at least part of, the why and how of the prologue.
There's everything a space opera should have, and it's all written extremely well. I can't wait to dig into the sequel! Anyone with any interest in Sci-Fi should try this out, even if you normally aren't a fan of this style setting.
Yes, especially of the Young Adult section. The way this book was written and the stories and characters left as loose ends were frustrating to me. I prefer deeper writing, but the overall story is interesting. Anyone not looking for that deep connection to the characters but wants an interesting dragon story that's not the usual, you'll have a fun journey.
This was an incredible read. I first picked it up looking to know more about barefoot running and its effect on form, endurance, and injury rates. I got what I was looking for, but I also got an incredible story.
This book is full of sudden tangent stories about everything from the creation of ultra running races, the evolution of the human body, and how the downfall of society is directly linked to the creation of the running shoe. While a little jarring at first, as they take you out of the primary story arc, these stories all weave together in the end to create a beautiful and moving whole.
I can only hope that everyone has a chance to read this book and understand its message. If we can do that, the world will be a stronger, healthier, happier, and more positive place. And all it takes... is running.
As a short note about the audiobook version, the narrator has been chosen well. He does a good job displaying the energy in what he's reading, as well and using (at least what sound to me) like accurate pronunciations of the Spanish phrases.
I give Born to Run, by Christopher McDougall, an easy 5 out of 5 stars.
Book 2 of A Song of Ice and Fire picks up immediately after the first ended, with no awkward crossover. More characters, much deeper plot and intrigue, and ever more interesting things awakening in the world, things thought long dead and gone. This novel continues Martin's epic in surprising and heart-wrenching ways. It is great to see an author that is not afraid to take chances with his characters, his tone, or his subject matter! Beware if you are not a fan of very dark reading, as the world is becoming a harsh place and no one is safe.
Martin's attention to detail and writing prowess continue in this novel. All in all, another fantastic read!
I give A Clash of Kings, book 2 of A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R. R. Martin 4.6 stars out of 5.
As with the beginnings of any fantasy epic, it takes some work to get into the heads of the many many characters in Martin's Song of Ice and Fire. However, Martin has an amazing writing style that is easy to get lost in, even if you aren't sure exactly what's going on.
A Game of Thrones begins the epic story of a handful so primary characters, from kings to onion knights, across the 7 kingdoms and beyond. Each story is full of amazing detail and told from that character's perspective, weaving them all together as the chapters move on.
This novel has a lot of politics, but you don't need to follow all the details to enjoy the read. Even so, the deeper your understanding the richer the story becomes. I have been told that this series benefits greatly from at least one re-read, if not more. Beginning as a very realistic medieval-style setting, fantasy elements slowly creep in the further the story takes you. All in all, a great start to what's shaping up to be a truly epic series!
I give A Game of Thrones, book 1 of A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R. R. Martin 4.5 stars out of 5.
This book continues the first book's excellent historically-based theme while nicely picking up the plot soon after the conclusion of the first book. I was pleasantly surprised to not only see little time lapse, but that this book did not introduce some random new plot device, but instead continues with the story of what China thinks about Temeraire's current condition, which was brought up many times near the end of the first novel.
Naomi displays once again an excellent knowledge of life at sea and the amazingly thought out logistics of her world. Wonderfully detailed descriptions of another of her world's civilizations fill the tail end of the novel.
I am still a bit annoyed with the odd time jumps that appear inside the story, but this time the beginning of important events are not cut off, which was my primary qualm with the first novel. Other than that, my only complaint are minor "conveniences" that would occasionally push the plot in favor of the good guys, such as a perfectly timed arrival or lucky not-quite-related events. Most of these, however, are things that could very well have happened and do not force you to "suspend your disbelief" much at all. Both of these complaints are minor and greatly overshadowed by the book as a whole.
From an audiobook standpoint, Simon Vance does a fantastic job portraying the various characters' voices, including very authentic-sounding accents! He also has a voice that is easy to listen to for long periods.
I give Throne of Jade 4.8 stars out of 5.
I greatly enjoyed hearing what two of the most prominent authors in this area had to say. Stefan is also one of my favorite narrators, so that was an added bonus. If you are at all interested in what these authors think about current issues, especially relating to literature in the classroom, I highly recommend giving this interview a listen.
As hard as I tried, I just couldn't convince myself to keep going with this story after the first hour or so. The dramatizing wasn't bad and the story initially sounded interesting. I'm honestly not sure what bored me so badly. Hopefully you will find it more entertaining.
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