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Ptolemy’s Gate by Jonathan Stroud

This entry is part 2 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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The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series The Bartimaeus Trilogy

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
First book in the Bartimaeus Trilogy
Publisher: New York : Miramax Books : Hyperion Paperbacks For Children, 2004,  462 pages, Language: English, ISBN-0786852550

Bartimaeus is a cynical, 5,000 year old, wise-cracking djinni who has been summoned by a 12 year old magician’s apprentice. The two of them get drawn into a sinister and mysterious plot, that forces them to work together so they can save not only their own lives but those of many others.  However, since Bartimaeus was summoned he is also plotting to get revenge on Nathaniel (the apprentice.)

This is the first 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’s saga. Bartimaeus can also refers to himself in the third person when he takes on various animal or human forms.

Nathaniel is a very smart, impatient and industrious apprentice with a lame and ineffective master.  His master is the magician that has been put in charge of his upbringing and training. When a strong influential magician named Lovelace is introduced to Nathaniel and then abuses and belittles him without any protection from his master, Nathaniel decides to take revenge with the aid of a djinni.  This then leads to a series of steps that keep going wrong at every turn and unfolds a devious plan. 

There is plenty of excitement and humour as the story evolves. We get to know and understand Nathaniel as the story relays the events in his life that have lead up to the fateful decision which is the catalyst of these breathtaking few days. We also get a glimpse into who and what Bartimaeus is and we get to enjoy reading his interesting view on what is transpiring. Some people compare it to Harry Potter, but I did not see any resemblance other than that the protagonist are young wizards in training. The story is part of a trilogy, yet it is also stand alone.  There is a good build up in the story with a great final climax that comes to a good satisfying end.

I really enjoyed the story and although it is considered a children’s book, I would highly recommend it to everyone except really young children. They would find it too scary since it involves murder and slavery. But if you enjoy a good story with humour that is in the fantasy genre, then you would enjoy this book.

 

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The Golem’s Eye by Jonathan Shroud

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series The Bartimaeus Trilogy

Book Review: 1 Treasure Boxes
The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Book 2
Publisher: New York : Miramax Books : Hyperion Paperbacks For Children, 2005, c2004, 562 pages, Language: English, ISBN-10-0786818603

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.

 

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