Ptolemy’s Gate by Jonathan Stroud

This entry is part [part not set] of 3 in the series The Bartimaeus Trilogy

Book Review: 1 Treasure Box
The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Book 3
Publisher: New York : Hyperion Books For Children, 2006, Paperback: 501 pages, Language: English, ISBN-10: 0786818611, ISBN-13: 978-0786818617

Bartimaeus is a cynical, 5,000 year old, wise-cracking djinni whose master is a young magician (Nathanial) who is a successful member of parliment.  But things are not going well for the government. This is the story of the governments downfall and how Bartimaeus and Nathanial, along with Kitty’s help (a very interesting and resourceful commoner) deal with the problems.

This is the third book in The Bartimaeus Trilogy series, there are currently a total of four books, three in the trilogy with a prequel. All the books are children’s fantasy books. The story is told in modern times and it takes place in London, but in this world there are magicians who get their power by controlling and enslaving powerful djinni from the chaos plane. The story is told in the first person narrative with Bartimaeus’ voice and thoughts as we follow him around. Bartimaeus also tells the story in the third person narrative when we switch over to Nathaniel or Kitty’s  saga. Bartimaeus can also refer to himself in the third person when he takes on various animal or human forms.

This book deals with slavery and the repercussions that can occur when the people who are being suppressed fight back.   It shows the injustice of this vile activity.  The book starts out with Bartimaeus being greatly reduced in power because Nathanial has been mistreating him, he has only allowed him to return to the other place to rejuvinate a couple of days over the last three years. The government is in trouble because the commoners are rebelling from the inequalities between the magicians and the commoners, also the war in America is going badly for the government. The Prime Minister is protecting his position instead of protecting the country. We find out what happened to Kitty and watch her as she grows in strength, intelligence and power. We learn a lot more about the other place, the home of the djinni.

The story was not as exciting as the first two books, although there was a fair bit a mayhem towards the end of the book. Kitty, Nathaniel and Bartimaeus all show growth within their characters. The story was interesting and it gave a very unique view of the other place, the land of the djinni. Jonathan Shroud addresses the issues of slavery, suppression and inequality with this story, he also shows these things being overcome. It is a tale of goodness overcoming evil selfishness.  The story is part of a trilogy, yet it is also stand alone. 

I enjoyed the story but I did not think it was as good as the first book. There was not as much humour and it had a rather sad ending. Although it is considered a children’s book, I would recommend it to everyone except really young children. They would find it too scary since it involves murder, slavery and there is a fair bit of violence in it. If you enjoy a good story with a bit of humour that is in the fantasy genre and has a social message, then you would enjoy this book.

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