'The Bartimaeus Trilogy' gets 5 stars for all three books, not only for plot and story, but for Simon Jones' award-winning narration.
Set in a London full of greedy and back-stabbing magicians, who get their power by summoning and enslaving entities (not Demons; Bartimaeus finds that insulting) from the 'Other Place', we first meet Nathaniel as a 12-year-old magician's apprentice. Talented, eager and impatient, he's not always a 'good' boy or even very likeable. We can understand him though, and see why he acts like he sometimes does; it is the way other magicians behave, and we can see what motivates him and why. Deep down, we also realize he does indeed have a caring and good soul.
Bartimaeus, the 5000-year-old djinni Nathaniel enslaves to do his bidding, is a riot, and also has a few tricks up his sleeve to keep Nathaniel in line. He is one of the funniest beings I've ever come across. Bartimaeus is also a character with many sides, and his relationship with another young master thousands of years ago is actually very emotional as we learn more about it over the course of the three books.
Kitty completes the trinity of main characters, and gives our third point-of-view, that of a commoner fighting the oppression of the magic users. At first eager, then disillusioned, and in the finale more enlightened than any one, she provides a good balance to the goings on of Nathaniel and the upper-class of magicians.
Over the course of these three books, our three heroes change and mature, taking us along on a thrilling ride full of witty humor, scathing sarcasm, melodrama, tragedy and pathos.
Simon Jones does the story proud with brilliant narration and voices. Ranked as a Golden Voice by AudioFile Magazine, nominated for nine 'Audie' awards -two of them won- in 2006, he was also named 'Narrator of the Year'(2005) by Publishers Weekly. Star of stage and screen, we can all be thankful he still finds time to tell us stories like this one.
If you're only familiar with Peter Pan from Disney or the last movie, you owe it to yourself and your kids to listen to the book that started it all. And this is the version you want.
Tim Curry is a wonderful narrator; his voice of Hook alone will give you shivers and goose-bumps. It's the penultimate pirate voice.
If I were still a kid, in bed, wanting to be read to, this is one of the voices I'd most want to listen to.
He also does the 'A Series of Unfortunate Events' books, by the way.
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