Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Bartimaeus Trilogy: Book Two - The Golem's Eye

The Bartimaeus Trilogy: Book Two - The Golem's Eye

Jonathan Stroud
Fiction  Series
For ages 12 and up
Disney-Hyperion, 2004   ISBN: 978-0786818600

Bartimaeus the djinni is not at all pleased to be have been summoned a mere two years or so after his last summoning. Nathanial had agreed that he would not summon the djinni again and yet here Bartimaeus is once again, brought back to London to help the boy solve yet another perplexing problem. Nathanial now works for a high ranking minister in Westminster and his job is to find and to stamp out the resistance movement which keeps making annoying attacks on the homes and businesses of powerful magicians in London. These annoying commoners have even had the audacity to attack the government itself. It is not to be tolerated and yet Nathanial is not having a great deal of success finding this group of anti-magician malcontents. Things get much more complicated when a large and very powerful golem is let loose on the city. Could the resistance be behind this magical monster as well? Clearly Nathanial needs Bartimaeus to help figure this puzzle out.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in London, Kitty and her resistance friends are planning their raids on magician targets. Everyone in their group is fed up with the way in which the magicians keep the "commoners" oppressed and powerless. This state of affairs cannot be allowed to continue, the people have to fight back and Kitty and her comrades hope to be the ones to lead the revolution against their oppressors. Kitty is astonished when she is told that the leaders of her group have decided to break into the tomb of Gladstone, a famous and powerful magician who once ruled Britain with a fist of iron and a magical staff. As it turns out, this plan backfires and Kitty, Nathanial and Bartimaeus are thrown together in an often terrifying adventure, which could be the undoing of all three of them.

In this second book in the Bartimaeus trilogy the wise-cracking djinni once again will have his readers smiling, if not laughing, at his outrageous behavior and wickedly funny remarks. There is a serious underlying theme however as we become aware of how the "commoners" have indeed been misused by the magician class. How they have been kept ignorant, how they have been silenced, imprisoned, and generally subjugated. They are not the only ones either for magicians have been using "demons" like Bartimaeus for thousands of years. It is interesting to see how Kitty evolves and how she begins to see that it is not enough to simply lash out at the magicians; one has to have purpose and direction.

Wonderfully written from the point of view of Bartimaeus, Kitty, and Nathanial, this highly entertaining book with its magical creatures, its high adventure, and its unexpected plot twists will delight readers who enjoyed the first book in this series.