Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud

Today I have a special guest-my husband, Mr. GreenBeanSexyMan. I told him how I needed some more "guy reads" featured on my blog and since he is a guy and all, who better than to recommend a great guy read? If you like his post, I'll ask him to come back and give more suggestions-he reads a lot of fantasy and the more I can convince him to read MG or YA the better!

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Genre: Fantasy

Release Date: various-all three are available now

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

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I am a picky reader and I have wanted to pick up a new series for quite awhile now. I have been looking to fill that void left by Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, and others, but nothing has been holding my attention lately. Then by chance I saw the first book of the Bartimaeus Trilogy on audio book on a display and picked it up.

I was immediately swept away by the bold storytelling. It also helped the Simon Jones narrated the audio books and his performance would give even Jim Dale a run for his money.

About the books: The titles of the books in this series are: The Amulet of Samarkand (2003), The Golem’s Eye (2004), and Ptolemy’s Gate (2005). This series is a fantasy steam-punk hybrid that pulls its roots from genie (spelled djinni in the books) mythology. Set in London, the timeframe seems to be a bit of a mash-up of the last 300 years of British history. There are cars and airplanes, but everything else is old fashioned. The roads are still cobblestone and soldiers still use muskets. The story follows three main characters: Nathaniel, Kitty, and of course the genie Bartimaeus. Nathaniel is a young but powerful, up and coming magician. Kitty is the idealist radical fighting the “injustice” of magician rule. And Bartimaeus is the all-powerful, cunning, frightfully witty djinni (at least that’s what he wants you to think).

Mr. GreenBeanSexyMan says: Jonathan Stroud tells a deliciously dark and twisting tale that has more than enough humor to keep even the most stoic reader laughing. Bartimaeus is hilarious and is among my favorite characters of all time. The story drags a bit at the beginning of the second and third books as you wait for Bartimaeus to be brought back into the story, but as a whole the story flies by almost too quickly. There are times that the story seems to fall back onto fantasy convention, but even then Mr. Stroud seems to quickly bring his singular viewpoint back to the central focus. But what makes this series different from so many others is the ending. Without giving any spoilers away, I can tell you that this series has the most appropriate ending that I have ever encountered. Whatever it is that you may feel the story may lack, make sure you finish this series because the end more than makes up for any shortcomings that you may notice elsewhere. I give this series 5 stars based on the strength of the ending.

While this is a trilogy right now, Bartimaeus is returning in a fourth book entitled The Ring of Solomon due for release November 2, 2010

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from audiobook copies from the library


  1. I've seen these books at the library for years but didn't really know what they were about. After reading your review I will definitely give the first book a try. I loved the Harry Potter books and enjoyed the Percy Jackson series so I think I'd like this too.

    Great guest review Mr. GreenBean. I hope you review more books in the future!

  2. YES! Everything you said, yes! I've read the books once and listened to them twice. I love Simon Jones' narration and Bartimaeus is one of the best characters ever.

    I didn't even know about the Ring of Solomon. OMG I am so excited now. Thanks!

  3. I've heard really good things about this series, and I even have the first book on my shelves.

    I should stop procrastinating about it, and read the thing!

  4. I LOVE this series! It doesn't get enough recognition!

  5. Yes, I agree with what you said, especially about the end. I didn't know there would be a fourth book. Thanks for letting me know.

  6. I absolutely gobbled these books up. Thanks for letting us know about the fourth book!

  7. Thanks for the great review! I've looked at these books for years, wondering if I should read them or not. Now I'll give them a try :)

  8. The ending really does make up for all the other things I didn't like :)

  9. I have to admit I've never read these but they are so amazingly popular, even in my little urban school media center, that I can't believe we're not hearing movie news on this. Or mayber there is new that I'm missing??

  10. I haven't seen any movie news, but I wouldn't be surprised if this one was made into a movie considering the popularity of fantasy films right now.

  11. I've heard that the rights were bought but that's about it.

  12. I love, love these audiobooks. Do you know if Stroud's newest book, Heroes of the Valley, has been turned into an audiobook yet? It's very long, but I heard great things from friends who read it.

  13. Mary Ann-We have an audiobook version at my library, but it's a different narrator than the one who does the Bartimaeus books.

  14. whoa, fourth book?? that was news I haven't heard!
    Boy I read these books over a year ago and I can't think of what the end was!!! after all these comments I'll just HAVE to go back to them sooner than planned so I can be reminded.
    I did really really love Bartimaeus, he's really a great bad/good guy.


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