Bartimaeus is a cynical, 5,000 year old, wise-cracking djinni whose master is a 14 year old magician’s apprentice and a junior member of parliament. Once again Nathanial (the apprentice,) and Bartimaeus must solve several problems which are affecting London. The first one is the resistance, this is a group of commoners who are rebelling against the magicians. The second issue is the devastating destruction that is being released by an unknown entity.
This is the second 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 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’s or Kitty’s saga. Bartimaeus can also refers to himself in the third person when he takes on various animal or human forms.
This book takes a good look at discrimination. It shows us what the world would be like if there was a powerful ruling class that thinks it is above the law and consequently mistreats the common people. It shows the common people fighting back and it really makes us feel angry at the injustice. Kitty is a major player in the resistance and this book gives us a really good understanding of Kitty and what drives her. The results of Kitty’s battle are quite sad by the end of this book. Nathaniel, being a magician’s apprentice is part of the ruling class and in this book, he becomes corrupted by the power he is given. Although we do get glimpses of his good side towards the end of the book. There are two major problems that he is trying to solve with Bartimaeus’s help. The first is the resistance, the second is a golem causing great damage.
Bartemaeus has an interesting view on life and his reflections are humorous and enjoyable to read. It is interesting how the story unfolds. We learn more about the resistance. We learn more about the history of the world that the story takes place. There is not a lot of growth in Nathaniel’s character, although he is a much more powerful magician. We become concerned by the decisions he makes. The story is exciting and there are several battle scenes as well as a chase scene. 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 Bartimaeus played a smaller role. 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 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.