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on 4 June 2017
I thoroughly enjoyed this book on many levels, besides the magical one-to-seven. Well written, fast paced, sardonical and mysterious, still leaving loose ends for the third book.
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on 14 June 2015
I love the imaginative story line and the great way Stroud tells it. He writes in a funny, light and rhythmic way.
I really wish he would continue Bartimaeus' adventures for a long time!
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on 3 September 2015
Not quite as good as the other 2 books in the trilogy but still better than a lot of similar books.
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VINE VOICEon 10 February 2006
The second part of The Bartimaeus Trilogy, "The Golem's Eye" continues the story began in "The Amulet of Samarkand". Like the first instalment, the majority of the action is set in a mostly recognisable London - admittedly, with a few noticeable changes. The Empire (which still exists), having already defeated the Czech Republic, is now considering war with the North American colonies. All the same, some Czech spies are still operating in England, and the Czech immigrant community is viewed with suspicion. Magicians have been the ruling class since Gladstone's time, holding all positions of power. Rather than wands and potions, these magicians derive their power from their ability to summon and control a variety of demons - for example, afrits, djinn and imps. Meanwhile the non-magical human masses are referred to as commoners - some of whom have formed a very troublesome resistance.

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".
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VINE VOICEon 11 October 2005
After thoroughly enjoying 'The Amulet of Samarkand' I was eager to read the next instalment of Nathaniel's adventures - so much so, I managed to get hold of an advance proof copy. Unfortunately, I have to admit that, to begin with, I was a little disappointed - and for the first 100-150 pages I came close to putting it aside. However, I stuck with it and finally started to enjoy it almost as much as I had part one.
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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HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERon 28 December 2005
The sharp-tongued djinn of "Amulet of Samarkand" returns in the second book of Jonathan Stroud's Bartimaeus Trilogy. It's a solid fantasy romp with some sharp social commentary and chilling wizardry, but it suffers from somewhat less of the delightfully observant Bartimaeus.
It's been two years since budding magician Nathaniel summoned the djinn Bartimaeus, and the two ended up enmeshed in a bizarre conspiracy. Now Nathaniel is working his way up in the world of politics and magic, with the sardonic Bartimaeus as his servant. But then the two end up in another hair-raising adventure -- a golem is attacking people in London, and Nathaniel is trying to find out who sent it, and why.
Meanwhile, the resistance against the magicians is growing, and the golem is supposedly an instrument against the magicians. But that isn't quite the case. Instead, a fiery young resistance member, Kitty, is doing some plotting of a very different sort -- and her plans will bring her neck-to-neck with Nathaniel and Bartimaeus.
Stroud takes readers to a parallel world where England is ruled not by bluebloods, but by wizards. It's not a new idea, but he gives it a new spin by wrapping it in political power as well as magic. If the backstabbing mage's world of the first book wasn't chilling enough, Stroud presents the eerie Night Police in this one.
Stroud's writing is solid and detailed, with plenty of gloomy atmosphere and the occasional hair-raising episode. Perhaps the biggest flaw of this book is that the action more often than not focuses on Nathaniel rather than the cynically lovable Bartimaeus. However, it's to Stroud's credit that he can make the intricate political plotting so interesting, while mixing in some grimly funny magic as well.
Nathaniel is still a flawed anti-hero, like Harry Potter's more ambitious cousin. While he's a passable lead character, the one who really steals all the scenes is Bartimaeus. He doesn't appear nearly enough, but his acerbic observations tend to be right on the money. And Kitty is a more likable person than Nathaniel, with a bit more fire in her personality.
The sequel to "Amulet of Samarkand" suffers from a lack of djinn, but Jonathan Stroud manages to keep it going at a steady pace. "The Golem's Eye" is a creepy fantasy read, for anyone seeking something a bit darker and deeper than Harry Potter.
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HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERon 22 January 2006
The sharp-tongued djinn of "Amulet of Samarkand" returns in the second book of Jonathan Stroud's Bartimaeus Trilogy. It's a solid fantasy romp with some sharp social commentary and chilling wizardry, but it suffers from somewhat less of the delightfully observant Bartimaeus.
It's been two years since budding magician Nathaniel summoned the djinn Bartimaeus, and the two ended up enmeshed in a bizarre conspiracy. Now Nathaniel is working his way up in the world of politics and magic, with the sardonic Bartimaeus as his servant. But then the two end up in another hair-raising adventure -- a golem is attacking people in London, and Nathaniel is trying to find out who sent it, and why.
Meanwhile, the resistance against the magicians is growing, and the golem is supposedly an instrument against the magicians. But that isn't quite the case. Instead, a fiery young resistance member, Kitty, is doing some plotting of a very different sort -- and her plans will bring her neck-to-neck with Nathaniel and Bartimaeus.
Stroud takes readers to a parallel world where England is ruled not by bluebloods, but by wizards. It's not a new idea, but he gives it a new spin by wrapping it in political power as well as magic. If the backstabbing mage's world of the first book wasn't chilling enough, Stroud presents the eerie Night Police in this one.
Stroud's writing is solid and detailed, with plenty of gloomy atmosphere and the occasional hair-raising episode. Perhaps the biggest flaw of this book is that the action more often than not focuses on Nathaniel rather than the cynically lovable Bartimaeus. However, it's to Stroud's credit that he can make the intricate political plotting so interesting, while mixing in some grimly funny magic as well.
Nathaniel is still a flawed anti-hero, like Harry Potter's more ambitious cousin. While he's a passable lead character, the one who really steals all the scenes is Bartimaeus. He doesn't appear nearly enough, but his acerbic observations tend to be right on the money. And Kitty is a more likable person than Nathaniel, with a bit more fire in her personality.
The sequel to "Amulet of Samarkand" suffers from a lack of djinn, but Jonathan Stroud manages to keep it going at a steady pace. "The Golem's Eye" is a creepy fantasy read, for anyone seeking something a bit darker and deeper than Harry Potter.
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on 8 August 2006
Nathaniel is an utterly repulsive, unlikeable character with few reedeming qualities at all. He's changed a lot since the first book, and not for the better. This would have worked (and indeed did in the Amulet of Samarkand thanks to Bartimaeus) but not so this time. Bartimaeus doesn't even make an appearance until around about page 70, and then he feels to have a far more minor role than Nathaniel. As well as Bartimaeus and Nathaniel, we also have chapters dedicated to Kitty's story.

To be honest, too much of the book went on about Kitty's past (whilst interesting, I felt a lot of it could have been told in a much quicker fashion) then there was the whole Golem incident (which was rather dissapointing all in all). This book was too long, with not enough happening. I cursed the author many times for simply TELLING us that Bartimaeus and Nathaniel had had a conversation (since I just love to read their interactions) Bartimaeus' foot-notes, this time, added little much really, were jarring and often too lengthy. There was far too much time spent to characters doing nothing (at least a chapter on the Resistence basically passing time!) I really enjoyed the first book, but this was nowhere near as good.
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on 4 March 2016
An altogether astonishing book. Each novel is told through a series of highly original set pieces, and the author writes fluent action sequences.
But the adventures only frame the true essence of the books.
All the books in this series are about power and the global economy. Within that context, the first book was a story about personal ambition. This second book features a lucid look at class. The final book is about the redemptive quality of friendship.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 14 February 2010
This is definitely a "kidult" book. It is the final book of a trilogy I have thoroughly enjoyed, and didn't lose steam like so many others. The boy and his Genie (who hates him, and has him somewhat under his control rather than the other way round) have some good times chasing after artefacts and trying to put england to rights. A great fantasy, with thoroughly believable characters. It doesn't shy away from violence, but is done in a very subtle way such as would be suitable for any child from 10 up who is used to fantasy games and books. The jokes are also sometimes on a dual level as all the best cross age group stories are. I definitely recommend all three books or audio books.
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