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The Golem's Eye (The Bartimaeus Sequence) Audio CD – Abridged, Audiobook
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"A must-purchase for all fantasy collections." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Book II of the Bartimaeus Trilogy Eagerly awaited sequel to The Amulet of Samarkand an unputdownable combination of magic, adventure and political ambition, with an enigmatic djinni as complex as ever!See all Product description
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Nearly three years have passed since the events of "The Amulet of Samarkand". Nathaniel (more widely known as John Mandrake) is now apprenticed to Jessica Whitwell, the Security Minister, and works at the Department of Internal Affairs. His boss, Julius Tallow, is a typical magician : cruel, arrogant and self-serving, he would happily throw another (such as Nathaniel) to the wolves if it meant saving his own hide. (These same qualities, with extra ambition, have also become more pronounced in Nathaniel). However, since Tallow has more problems than he's aware of, Nathaniel's main rivals are the Chief of Police (Henry Duvall) and his assistant (Jane Farrar).
Nathaniel has been put in charge of pursuing the Resistance, a group of commoners who oppose the Magicians' Rule. Generally, their attacks have been limited to small-scale thefts, nothing that would've left Nathaniel under any great pressure. However, the night before Founder's Day (Gladstone's Birthday), a number of shops are attacked and practically destroyed. Policemen were killed, while a number of demons and search spheres used in investigate are missing. However, there are no indications the attack involved the use of magic - although Nathaniel is far from convinced, the Resistance are the most obvious culprits. Under no illusion that results are required, he realises he has to summon Bartimaeus again.
Bartimaeus (the fourth-level djinn summoned by Nathaniel) is caustic, irreverent and hopelessly vain - he boasts about the walls he built at Uruk and Karnak, but never mentions his work at Jericho. While he wasn't too fond of Nathaniel when they first met, he is even less impressed with his master in this book : in fact, he is determined to let Nathaniel down whenever and wherever possible. The last time the duo worked together, they briefly stumbled across three of the Resistance's members - a small group, led by a girl called Kitty. In this instalment, they share the spotlight with Kitty - a commoner with a limited natural resistance to magic.
While Kitty's introduction reduces the amount of time Bartimaeus features, it gives some indication of how the commoners are treated and why there is a Resistance. It means fewer wisecracks (Bartimaeus is the book's funniest character), but it adds to the story and action significantly. The focus from one chapter to another switches between the characters, though the story never stalls. Stroud writes Nathaniel's and Kitty's stories ("Kitty and her parents watched him in silence"), while the djinni tells his own ("I could tell it was Prague as soon as I materialised"). "The Golem's Eye" is very easily read and very enjoyable - but I would recommend starting with "The Amulet of Samarkand".
I've tried to analyse why I found it something of a chore initially, and concluded there were two possible problems. Firstly, Bartimaeus, whose witty voice added so much humour to the first book seemed to be somewhat underused. I always felt that in book one, it was his chapters that really sparkled - so hearing less of him was certainly a disappointment. I suspected that the prologue was added to inject a bit of excitement and start the book from Bartimaeus's point of view, instead of waiting a hundred or so pages for him to appear - but otherwise, it added little to the overall story. Instead we have new narrator, Kitty - and although, at first, I found her a dull substitute for the djinn, it was eventually her part of the story that held my interest and kept me reading. I warmed to her in a way I never managed with Nathaniel.
The second problem was that Nathaniel seemed even less likeable than in book one. Whereas, in 'The Amulet of Samarkand' he had some redeeming features and won the reader's sympathy by being the underdog - in this book he seemed cold, hard and very unsympathetic. I realise that he has to have some kind of emotional growth curve over the series and will, no doubt, learn from his mistakes - but I would've preferred him to be a little easier to relate to; after all, he is the main character.
In retrospect, I decided that I enjoyed the book, despite my early doubts - and look forward to the next instalment.
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