The Golem's Eye (Bartimaeus Trilogy, #2) - Jonathan Stroud, Simon Jones Outside of the drive to and from work, the audio-book format really doesn't work for me. Without having to focus on a page, my mind just wanders regardless of how interesting the story may be; and make no mistake both the first and second books of the Bartimaeus Trilogy are interesting. I need a relatively brainless vocation like keeping an eye on the car ahead of me or following words on a page to keep the old ocular sense engaged or the brain goes veering off in all sorts of directions. I bring this up only because I've been on vacation during this time and had to listen to several of the CDs while relaxing at home. Invariably I would lose the thread of the story or (worse) doze off only to awaken three tracks later to find that Kitty had escaped Nathaniel once again or Gladstone's afrit had returned - I kept having to go back and relisten.

Despite these stumbling blocks, Stroud continues to weave an interesting story as, two years after the "Lovelace Incident," we find Nathaniel (aka John Mandrake) in charge of tracking down the "Resistance." (The only objection here is that Mandrake is only 14 years old and it does strain credulity - mine, at least - that anyone would put him in charge of anything.)

One of the best things about the story is Nathaniel's believable obnoxiousness. Some might wish that that spark of decency in him would be fanned to a flame but, honestly, who's going to fan it? Bartimaeus? Any other magician, who are (if anything) even worse? No, Nathaniel's character is developing quite interestingly.

Kitty remains our "moral" focus while retaining enough complexity to make her motivations interesting as well.

Finally, as I neglected to mention this in my review of The Amulet of Samarkand, I note that our narrator, Simon Jones, is very good. He manages to differentiate the novel's various voices so that you're not wondering who's speaking at any particular moment. (You might remember Jones as the original Arthur Dent from the BBC TV Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series, he had a cameo in the 2005 movie version, and he shows up all over the place as one of those character actors you'd recognize in an instant but can't quite place.)