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Golem's Eye, The (The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Book 2) : Reviewed

Author:Jonathan Stroud
Reading Level (Conceptual):Children 12 and up
Reading Level (Vocabulary):Children 12 and up
Year of publication:2004

Sardonic musings of a demon summoned by a very young, but now, successful, wizard.

Bartimaeus Book Two: The Golem's Eye is a very good book, but before you read it you should read Bartimaeus, Book One: The Amulet of Samarkand, because things in Book Two will make much more sense that way.

This book switches perspective between three very different characters:
  • Kitty the feisty commoner,
  • Bartimaeus the sardonic djinni, and
  • Nathaniel (John Mandrake) the annoying magician.
My favorite character is Bartimaeus, because he gives you footnotes to explain stuff better, tell us his very personal thoughts, and talks very funnily.

-- Fizzy, age 11

Parent's note about the Bartimaeus trilogy:

As you can tell, my 11 year old really loves these books (she's finished the first two so far). But they are a bit of a departure for her -- there's real murder and mayhem in them, which, until recently, she would not have tolerated.

She loves them because the narrator of the book is a djinn who stands back from the action and makes kind of sarcastic comments about the other characters and the plot.

In these books, the gifted boy protagonist has been put in a position where he's been co-opted by an Evil Government because of his great intellectual abilities. The djinn has to obey the boy's commands, and a lot of the humor/sarcasm comes in when the djinn explains to the reader how morally compromised the boy is becoming. (And, to his credit, the djinn doesn't hesitate to tell the boy either, not that the boy listens most of the time.)

There a complex relationship between this book and slavery too. The djinn is a slave, and even though he respects the good qualities of his boy master, he also hates having to obey his commands. Most of the time, the djinn makes this clear. But he's sometimes more supportive of his master than I think an average slave might actually be.

-- Emily

Other reviews: Golem's Eye, The (The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Book 2)
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