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Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Golem's Eye by Jonathan Stroud

The Golem's Eye is the second book in the Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud.  If you haven't read the first book, The Amulet of Samarkand, I recommend checking out that review first to avoid spoilers.

Quite a bit of time passes between The Amulet of Samarkand and The Golem's Eye.  Nathaniel is now 14 years old, and working for the government in Internal Affairs.  He's very into keeping his profile low and his fashion high.  He is happiest when his life is plodding along serenely.  Unfortunately, there's a Resistance movement building up in London; a rogue group of young people staging small attacks around town, trying to discredit the magical government.  Nathaniel is tasked with investigating and disbanding this group, led my a young lady named Kitty.  Nathaniel soon finds himself traveling to the enemy city of Prague and summoning his old "friend," the djinni Bartimaeus, to help him.

A slight sidebar to the book itself:  my local library classifies it as "Juvenile," and I'd recommend it to middle grades readers, based on writing style and language, etc.  However... the main characters are both young teens (older than middle grades readers), with no characters at all under 13 years old.  Also, the book is chock full of political intrigue, which is great, but some of it may pass over the head of younger readers.  I think it's a great book, and I can totally see myself recommending it to 8th or 9th graders.  So please don't let the "J" category put you off trying this book; I think it's a YA in masquerade!

In The Golem's Eye the reader gets an additional p.o.v.  From the first book, we've become acquainted with Nathaniel and Bartimaeus; in this book we also get the p.o.v. of Kitty, the young leader of the Resistance movement.  I don't want to give any spoilers, but I'll say that seeing through Kitty's eyes makes a big difference in the tone of the book.  Not everything is black and white; there is some more gray when you get to see the reasons or motivations behind someone's actions.  Not to condone attacks on the government, but Kitty and her friends may be more "lost" than "vicious."

We do, however, still get to enjoy Bartimaeus' witty repertoire!  I totally nominate Bartimaeus for Sassy Djinni of the Year.  His blunt honesty and appraisal of situations has me laughing out loud.  Literally.  I get these books on CD for my commute and sit at red lights laughing to myself, possibly worrying the other drivers around me.  :)  I could recommend this series on the basis of Bartimaeus and his sarcasm alone!

And then there's Nathaniel.  Poor Nathaniel is just trying to do his very best job in Internal Affairs when all the mess hits the fan.  Next thing he knows he's traveling undercover to an enemy country, investigating an anti-government group and their attacks on magic.  In The Amulet of Samarkand I felt a little pity for Nathaniel and his circumstances.  Even the circumstances he created for himself; I was still rooting for him, like you root for an underdog.  Unfortunately, in The Golem's Eye, I felt like he came across kind of wimpy and whining.  The action and Bartimaeus was enough to keep me listening, though.

So as I mentioned, I listened to this on CD.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Simon Jones narrates both, and he's got a delightful British accent.  And I love how he reads the Bartimaeus parts!  Good cadence, maybe just a little bit low and accented, but always understandable.  Two thumbs on the narration!


Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

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2 People left their mark' :

  1. Thanks for the explanation on how to classify the novel. I've also had my own internal conflicts for how some books are rated. :)
    @dino0726 from 
    FictionZeal - Impartial, Straighforward Fiction Book Reviews

  2. I will second Bartimaeus for that award! I love his character. Great series!