Bane Chronicles, The
I do love Magnus as a character, but I have to say, the stories themselves didn't really do much for me. Also, because each story is narrated by a different person, the lack of a consistent voice sort of threw me off.
What Really Happened in Peru (with Sarah Rees Brennan) - 2.5/5
Narrator: Jesse Williams - 2/5
I can discern Sarah Rees Brennan's voice 8 million miles away. Oh, I felt her presence all over this one. This one was particularly light and funny (although it never actually gives away what happened in Peru to get Magnus banned), a fun bit of fluff. But it felt like a trifle, especially compared to some of the later stories, and also rather disjointed because of all the time jumps. Also, Jesse Williams might be the hottest of the narrators, but his performance was the weakest.
The Runaway Queen (with Maureen Johnson) - 3/5
Narrator: George Blagden - 3.5/5
Magnus tries to help steal away Marie Antoinette during the French Revolution in a hot air balloon. Solid story, nothing particularly standout about it. The narrator is British, and was a considerable improvement over Jesse Williams. Even does a decent American accent for Magnus. (Although why Magnus would have an American accent at all when America as a country is barely founded—oh never mind.)
Vampires, Scones, and Edmund Herondale (with Sarah Rees Brennan) - 3.5/5
Narrator: Andrew Scott - 5/5
My goodness, when reading, the prosaic tendencies of both Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan never bothered me, but DEAR LORD, it slows down the listening almost to an unbearable point. You get interesting bits in this story: Will's parents, the stripping of the Marks, Magnus's first encounter with Camille, etc. but I'm pretty positive I zoned out 15% of it while listening because it's so WORDY. Andrew Scott (Moriarty in the recent Sherlock adaptation) is EXCELLENT, and possibly the best narrator in the bunch.
The Midnight Heir (with Sarah Rees Brennan) - 4.5/5
Narrator: David Oyelowo - 3/5
This is my favourite story in the bunch. A clear nod to Gothic tropes as well as Dickens' Great Expectations, I suspect Rees Brennan's touch in those aspects. All the bits about James Herondale being damned? Probably Clare. She does tortured, angsty longing well enough, but I get bored with it. I'd only seen Oyelowo in Selma (excellent performance) and I didn't realise he was British too. Solid performance, if not particularly inspired.
The Rise of the Hotel Dumort (with Maureen Johnson) - 2.5/5
Narrator: Stephen Lunsford - 2.5/5
I don't recall anything about this story, or the performance. (Okay, that's a lie; it was set just before the stock market crash of '29, there was a cute guy named Alfie, the narrator's 20s New York accent was hilarious but not bad.)
Saving Raphael Santiago (with Sarah Rees Brennan) - 4/5
Narrator: Michael Trevino - 3.5/5
Basically, I'm fairly certain that all my favourite parts are probably due to Sarah Rees Brennan. Here there is considerable pathos, and the platonic relationship between Magnus and Raphael (and what it reveals about Magnus as a character) tugged at my heartstrings, something Rees Brennan does extraordinarily well. The performance was pretty good too.
Fall of the Hotel Dumort (with Maureen Johnson) - 3/5
Narrator: Cecil Baldwin - 2.5/5
This is actually a pretty interesting story, but oh my GOD was it ill-served by Cecil Baldwin as narrator. It isn't because his performance is bad; it's just that his voice is too recognizable as Cecil's from Welcome to Night Vale. For about 15 minutes, all I heard was Night Vale, Night Vale, Night Vale before I started paying attention to what was happening.
What To Buy The Shadowhunter Who Has Everything (And Who You're Not Officially Dating Anyway) - 3/5
Narrator: Jordan Gavaris - 2.5/5
Story is cute, narrator was serviceable.
The Last Stand of the New York Institute (with Maureen Johnson and Sarah Rees Brennan) - 3/5
Narrator: Jamie Bamber - 3/5
Here we get a bit of backstory about Valentine's circle and what happened pre-City of Bones. As far as backstory goes, it was fine, although Lucian/Luke's characterization as entitled brat surprised me a little. (Although it's not unrealistic.) What baffled me more than his characterization as entitled brat was Bamber's choice to give him a Northern accent. In fact, the whole "Idris accent" thing is terribly muddled: they sound British-ish...except when it's inconvenient to make them so. (I keep forgetting Bamber is British; he played Apollo in Battlestar Galactica as American.)
The Course of True Love (and First Dates) - 3.5/5
Narrator: Gareth David-Lloyd - 2.5/5
Magnus gets nervous and excited about his first date with Alec. It is ADORABLE. David-Lloyd's American accent on the other hand...(also, all I hear is IANTO JONES from Torchwood, and then I get all sad.
The Voicemail of Magnus Bane - 2.5/5
Narrators: Seth Numrich and Molly C. Quinn 3/5
Meh. Not a story, nor is it especially interesting. Takes place during the brief period of time Magnus and Alec are broken up in City of Lost Souls. Quinn's performance as Isabelle is cute. (But why does Isabelle have an American accent when Numrich's Alec has a British one? ARGH.)
Individually, the stories are fine, but collectively, they make a TERRIBLE audiobook. But I am looking forward to Simon's series anyway.