Title: The Golem’s Eye (2004)
Author: Jonathan Stroud
Genres: Fantasy, Young adult, Magic and Comedy
Release Date: 1st September 2004
Reviewed by: David
At only fourteen, Nathaniel is a rising star: a young magician who is quickly climbing the ranks of the government. There is seemingly nothing he cannot handle, until he is asked to deal with the growing Resistance movement, which is disrupting London life with its thefts and raids. It’s no easy task: the ringleader Kitty and her friends remain elusive, and Nathaniel’s job-and perhaps his life-are soon at risk. As the pressure mounts, he is distracted by a new series of terrifying attacks in the capital. But is it the Resistance again, or something more dangerous still? To uncover the perpetrators, Nathanial must take desperate measures: a journey to the enemy city of Prague and-worse-summoning once again the troublesome, enigmatic, and quick – witted djinni Bartimaeus.
A thrilling sequel to the best-selling Amulet of Samarkand, The Golem’s Eye is a roller-coaster ride of magic, adventure, and political skullduggery, in which the fates of Nathaniel, Bartimaeus, and Kitty explosively collide.
This book follows on from the first book in the series The Amulet of Samarkand which I reviewed early last week. This time around Nathaniel is older and has lost some, but not all, of his boyish naivety, as he strives for power, wealth and influence. However, dark forces seek to nip his ambition in the bud and his career hangs by a thread. He is forced to call upon Bartimaeus yet again to help him, as well as his old enemy!
Anyone who read my review of the first book in this series will know that I enjoyed the Bartimaeus Trilogy a great deal as a child, and continue to do so as an adult, possibly even more so. The second book in the series is no exception and, while possibly my least favourite if I had to choose, is too good for me to consider giving it 4 stars.
All of the elements that made the first book so excellent, the wit and humour, the brilliant plot design, incredible world building and convincing characters, are all present in this book and yet, Stroud has managed to build on them and develop them even further to create an incredible read, with the possible exception of the plot which is a “9 out of ten” compared to the first which is flawless to me. Of all the Bartimaeus books, this one is probably the one with the least good plot, however when not compared to the other books in its own series, it is still incredible.
I find it incredibly impressive however that Stroud has built on his former success in almost every other way. The characters have matured in the time between the first and second books and Stroud also introduces a third protagonist, which gives the story yet more depth. Stroud also intertwines the separate accounts of the three protagonists incredibly well to create a story full of layers of humour but also emotion. We see and understand the different characters motivations as well as their emotions directly reported by them, which is very effective, but also how they react to each other simultaneously in the same scene, which, particularly in Bartimaeus’ sections is often incredibly humorous. The humour in this book is just as sharp and witty as in the first book, if not even more so. Bartimaeus’ anecdotes, insults and other myriad forms of comedy never fail to bring a smile to my face.
Stroud has also expanded his universe brilliantly in this second instalment to his series, introducing new creatures and also giving even more background about the world of magic and magicians, as well as an account of the British Empire’s rise to power. He also fleshes out the workings of the magician government in more detail than in the first instalment. All of these additions to the lore of this universe make it feel fresh and renewed again and prevent the reader from feeling any boredom or complacency.
Overall this book is yet another brilliant instalment in the Bartimaeus trilogy, which I struggle to find fault with. It was a pleasure to read and I would recommend it to any reader of any age. Although it is incredible for children and teens there are multiple layers of humour and emotion at work in this book which I have only come to appreciate fully in adulthood and I am doubtless that if I read this book in another 5 years I would appreciate even more things that I have missed.
Be sure to check it out on Book Depository using my link here: Loisreadsbooks
Until next time,