Bartimaeus Is Back

The Golem’s Eye, by Jonathan Stroud – The second volume in the Bartimaeus Trilogy continues with a story seen from multiple points of view. One of the main characters is again Nathaniel, better known as John Mandrake, a young magician who is eager to advance in the British government. Compared to the first book, he’s less naive and more willing to play the games magicians use to vie for power. He once again summons the sarcastically witty djinni Bartimaeus, this time to investigate terrorist actions caused by a golem, resulting in the two of them journeying to Prague for more information. The rules for the golem were interesting, incorporating existing golem lore with new ideas that worked for the world Stroud developed. Notably, it’s resistant to magic, so a djinni can’t just destroy it. In addition to Mandrake and Bartimaeus himself, the third viewpoint character is Kitty Jones, a young member of the Resistance against the government of magicians. She appeared in the first book, but here we learn what her motivations are and how she came to be involved with what was basically a terrorist organization. In this volume, we really get to learn the extent to which non-magicians are considered second-class citizens, and how much the odds are stacked against them. I have to wonder what will happen in the third book, since this one shows Mandrake becoming more corrupt and power-hungry, as Bartimaeus himself notes. Will he find common ground with the Resistance, or will they remain at odds? And what about the assassin who remains at large? I guess I’ll have to read the next one to find out.

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