At first the castle's ruins are merely the backdrop to a day in the snow. But when the three break into the forbidden interior of the keep, they find the castle taking on a different and deeper meaning. Despite the freezing conditions, they spend the night there, to experience the power of occupation. But when the re-enactment gets out of control and a very real siege ensues, their playful dare soon turns into a frenzy of nightmarish action.
©2006 Jonathan Stroud; (P)2006 Listening Library
Oh brother... this *cannot* be written by the same man who penned the superb Bartimaeus trilogy. The Bartimaeus books were phenomenal: sparkling dialog, a captivating and brilliantly constructed plotline, and characters that were not merely three-dimensional, but at least four, or possibly five dimensional. The site of The Last Siege may be contemporary rural England, but surprisingly, it is less plausible than Bartimaeus's England, with supernatural beings and a Parliament full of scheming magicians.
The Last Siege is exceptional only in its dullness, the unimaginative and lifeless characters, and a plot that is as difficult to plod through as waist-deep snow. And the narrator! Even if the dialog were the least bit interesting, he makes the characters sound like preschool chipmunks. Maybe I would enjoy this book more if I read it in ink & paper, but the audio version is excruciatingly disappointing. I forced myself to continue listening, hoping, praying, begging for something to happen that would ring truthfully, that would make me care about the story and its characters. I'm almost through with it, and its so bad I'm not sure I can bear to continue. I'm not just disappointed in Jonathan Stroud, I'm angry with his editors, who allowed his reputation to be diminished by publishing this book and this audio version. The Bartimaeus Trilogy was pure genius. This is the polar opposite.
The synopsis from Audible makes this book sound way more interesting than it is. It's not bad, really, but definitely not what I'd expected after the Bartimaeus Trilogy. Kind of boring, with rather irritating characters. Slow moving, and there wasn't much resolution to the few plot points either. The idea of the story is interesting, but the way he approached it made it pretty dull.
Personally, I didn't have a problem with the narration of this book, but if you are concerned, be sure to listen to the snippet offered.
I found this book enjoyable, and was riveted during the last two or three CDs. The ending did provoke a reaction, both from me and my 14 yr. old daughter (who loved the book).
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