Friday, November 28, 2008

The Bartimaeus Trilogy

Just finished listening to Simon Jones' excellent readings of Jonathan Stroud's Bartimaeus Trilogy. There's a lot of wonderful things to chew upon in this series, including some wonderful takes on magic and magical items that ought to satisfy many old fans of D&D. I won't spoil anything but many magical items are created by binding demons/spirits/djinn/etc. within them to create the appropriate effect. Nothing new, I suppose, if you're used to Michael Moorcock's Elric series, but it's all very logical and well-thought out. But there's a lot of stuff and meat in here for something that's supposed to be a "book for children".

One thing I do want to add is that Stroud effectively displays why the normal people in the story distrust the people with power. This has been something that's always fascinated me about UK superhero stories, how the writers are more willing to explore the possibilities of deluded and dangerous super-people, which seems so at odds with the American depictions of super-people who seem much more well-meaning and morally grounded. I guess I'm just another naive and dopey American, but this work of fiction has given me another means of looking at the world.

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