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Author Topic: The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud  (Read 3664 times)

Offline Overlord

The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud
« on: December 09, 2010, 10:52:50 AM »
‘The Bartimaeus Trilogy’ was a series pushed heavily at the time ‘Harry Potter’s’ popularity exploded. It certainly isn’t a huge leap from one to the other in the sense that there is magic, mystery, loveable characters, comedy and page turning storylines. I would say though that these books are far more your typical ‘fantasy novel’ than the Harry Potter stories. Where as hardcore fantasy readers may struggle with Harry Potter, they would find that ‘The Bartimaeus Trilogy’ is far more suited to the accepted conventions… It is a story of revenge and the journey to achieving it.

That is not to say it is not original though… The Bartimaeus Trilogy gives us perhaps one of the most original characters and means of expressing that characters point of view since the genres birth. ‘Bartimaeus’ is an evil, sarcastic Djinni (basically a demon) summoned to this World from his dimension by what he considers ‘an unworthy magician’. This unworthy magician, Nathanial, has summoned Bartimaeus in order to exact revenue upon a sorcerer who has embarrassed and made a fool of him in front of his master.

Bartimaeus, who was quite enjoying his time relaxing within his own dimension, is not at all happy about this summoning. In fact he quite openly tells Nathanial that if he could he would kill him on the spot. Fortunately for Nathanial ‘Bartimaeus’ does not know his ‘real’ name. Upon becoming a trainee magician names are changed because the vast number of evil spells that can affect you require your original name. So… Bartimaeus is trapped in this world until he fulfils Nathanial’s demands; ‘still a powerful object from the sorcerer that embarrassed him’.

What makes this series ‘different’ and as thoroughly enjoyable as it is has to be the character of ‘Bartimaeus’. In addition to his constant sarcasm, wit and desire to kill the ‘hero’ always there throughout the book – he adds his own little ‘footnotes’ at the end of every other page or so. It might not sound like much, but the odd one will have you laughing out loud or at the very least grinning.

As the story progresses through to the second book things get a bit deeper and more powers, demons and problems are introduced. Nathaniel finds himself in a world that in addition to having a corrupt magical government has non-magical humans coming together in order to form a resistance against the magicians.

It’s hard to say much more without completely ruining the first books ending for you and the subsequent books after that, but what I will say is that this is more than a story about Nathaniel trying to steal a necklace. This book enters ‘epic’ territory in the sense that there is a huge conflict between humans and magicians, huge political power struggles, Nathaniel’s struggle through the ranks of being a magician, his loss of family and of course the Djinni that works for him looking to stab him in the back (literally) the moment he drops his guard.

The fact Nathaniel relies so heavily on ‘Bartimaeus’ combined with the fact that we are told by Bartimaeus himself that he is going to try his damned hardest to mess up Nathaniel’s plans is what makes this book so enjoyable.

In terms of its universal appeal – like Harry Potter, the majority of children would enjoy this book and there is enough action, adventure and darkness to entertain adults. If you are a ‘hardcore’ fantasy fan that likes epic series like The Wheel of Time, Lord of the Rings, A Song of Ice and Fire and so on… this probably isn’t for you. But if you are someone who enjoys a book that doesn’t take itself to seriously or a lighter read that you can literally whizz through – this is one for you.
Founder: http://fantasy-faction.com
Editor: Fantasy-Faction Anthology (Aug 2014)
Author: "Son of…" in 1853 (2013)
Host: Fantasy-Faction's Grim Gathering

Offline pornokitsch

Re: The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2010, 11:19:39 AM »
Good review!

Just to give this series a second thumbs up - I think the Bartimaeus Trilogy is just amazing. Clever, mature, funny, engaging, imaginative, surprising... everything that a fantasy series (YA or not) should be!

Offline Overlord

Re: The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2010, 05:16:43 AM »
Have you read the new book yet? I've heard mixed reviews about it... I have a feeling it goes back in time to when Bartimaeus was serving the Egyptians... always dangerous when authors do 'prequels' eck.
Founder: http://fantasy-faction.com
Editor: Fantasy-Faction Anthology (Aug 2014)
Author: "Son of…" in 1853 (2013)
Host: Fantasy-Faction's Grim Gathering

Offline pornokitsch

Re: The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2010, 09:28:03 AM »
Less of a prequel, more of a standalone.

Still very good, but it tries to do the entire trilogy in a single volume. If you liked the first three, you should read it.

Review: http://www.pornokitsch.com/2010/10/new-releases-the-ring-of-solomon-by-jonathan-stroud.html