Today I have a special guest-my husband, Mr. GreenBeanSexyMan. I told him how I needed some more "guy reads" featured on my blog and since he is a guy and all, who better than to recommend a great guy read? If you like his post, I'll ask him to come back and give more suggestions-he reads a lot of fantasy and the more I can convince him to read MG or YA the better!
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Release Date: various-all three are available now
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I am a picky reader and I have wanted to pick up a new series for quite awhile now. I have been looking to fill that void left by Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, and others, but nothing has been holding my attention lately. Then by chance I saw the first book of the Bartimaeus Trilogy on audio book on a display and picked it up.
I was immediately swept away by the bold storytelling. It also helped the Simon Jones narrated the audio books and his performance would give even Jim Dale a run for his money.
About the books: The titles of the books in this series are: The Amulet of Samarkand (2003), The Golem’s Eye (2004), and Ptolemy’s Gate (2005). This series is a fantasy steam-punk hybrid that pulls its roots from genie (spelled djinni in the books) mythology. Set in London, the timeframe seems to be a bit of a mash-up of the last 300 years of British history. There are cars and airplanes, but everything else is old fashioned. The roads are still cobblestone and soldiers still use muskets. The story follows three main characters: Nathaniel, Kitty, and of course the genie Bartimaeus. Nathaniel is a young but powerful, up and coming magician. Kitty is the idealist radical fighting the “injustice” of magician rule. And Bartimaeus is the all-powerful, cunning, frightfully witty djinni (at least that’s what he wants you to think).
Mr. GreenBeanSexyMan says: Jonathan Stroud tells a deliciously dark and twisting tale that has more than enough humor to keep even the most stoic reader laughing. Bartimaeus is hilarious and is among my favorite characters of all time. The story drags a bit at the beginning of the second and third books as you wait for Bartimaeus to be brought back into the story, but as a whole the story flies by almost too quickly. There are times that the story seems to fall back onto fantasy convention, but even then Mr. Stroud seems to quickly bring his singular viewpoint back to the central focus. But what makes this series different from so many others is the ending. Without giving any spoilers away, I can tell you that this series has the most appropriate ending that I have ever encountered. Whatever it is that you may feel the story may lack, make sure you finish this series because the end more than makes up for any shortcomings that you may notice elsewhere. I give this series 5 stars based on the strength of the ending.
While this is a trilogy right now, Bartimaeus is returning in a fourth book entitled The Ring of Solomon due for release November 2, 2010.
Full Disclosure: Reviewed from audiobook copies from the library