Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Bartimaeus Trilogy

The Funschoolers are on Christmas break! We're giving ourselves three weeks of very light math and foreign language practice with the rest of our time filled with lots of fun books, board games, maybe a family project or two and a weekend away in Lake Tahoe.

So I finally have time to catch up on my reading...and I chose:

The Amulet of Samarkand (The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Book 1)  The Golem's Eye (The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Book 2)  Ptolemy's Gate (The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Book 3)

Wait, don't tell me how it's going to end because I'm still about 150 pages away from the finale of Ptolemy's Gate. I wanted to post about this series because it's one of those YA series that I didn't think I would fall in love with...but for some reason, I have. I felt that Book One was a little stiff in the beginning and was tempted to stop reading after the first few slightly predictable chapters, but something pulled me in...I think it was the chapter about Nathaniel encountering demons for the first time in his master's study Book Two, I was hooked. Now, Book Three will end and I am actually feeling quite sad.

I actually read a lot of Young Adult fiction. Even before Harry Potter, action-packed, mystery/ fantasy-filled novels and childhood memoirs were my prefered genres. (I still can't stomach the vampy, lovey dovey covers of YA romances that I find in the teen sections in BandN and Borders so I stay clear of those).

Jonathan Stroud's trilogy is about a wise-cracking djinni called Bartimaeus and his young, flippant, but highly skilled master, Nathaniel (a.k.a. John Mandrake). Chapters are divided according to the points of view of each protagonist (there are three of them: Bart, Nat and a fiesty young lady by the name of Kitty Jones). At first, the footnotes (in every Bart chapter) drove me mad but after a while, I started looking forward to them, even if they were frequently cliched and overdone. The setting feels like an alternate Earth...I liked the whole premise of a parallel universe-style British Empire, filled with snippets of historic facts from real life, albeit from an otherworldly perspective. The magic and mayhem with funny little imps and foliots and more powerful demons of course, are lovely bonuses. Note for sensitive readers: there's quite a bit of murder in all three prepared!

Bartimaeus: The Ring of SolomonNot sure if the kiddo will pick this up soon. He may not like Nat's almost prepubescent cockiness, nor do I see him being comfortable with some of the suggestive descriptions of females or Nat's little crush (if you can call it that) on Jane and/ or Kitty (kiddo is in that "romance is icky" stage right now). But kiddo may become fond of Bartimaeus...and it will be fun to add the silly ol'djinni into our very lively discussions of characters we like. We'll have to see.

I'm going to miss Bart (I don't know if I'll re-read the series just yet...I have a bunch of other stuff on my waiting list...i.e. piles of other unread YA novels next to the bed). I still have The Ring of Solomon left so I don't have to say goodbye to Bart yet. But at the rate I've been devouring these books (and getting panda eyes from staying up so late) I'll finish Solomon in what, three days at most? I'll be having withdrawal symptoms before the weekend is up. Sob.


  1. Love the term, "panda eyes." Sounds so much cuter than I feel in the morning after those late nights. :)

  2. He he, in my case, the eyes are attached to a panda-shaped being too LOL!

  3. Have you heard about Across The Universe, coming out on 1/11/11? It looks like it's going to be fabulous!!
    You should check out the first chapter on line. It has me waiting with baited breath!! (The writer is a local to my area and a really neat lady.)

  4. Have you read Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones? I just finished it - could hardly stand to put it down. There are some uneven bits at the end but gosh it's a FABULOUS story. Loved it.

  5. Thanks Maria and Sheila! I will check these out soon.


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