Book Review: The Bartimaeus Trilogy

Book Review of “The Bartimaeus Trilogy” by Jonathan Stroud

What an amazing series! I’m a pretty jaded reader and it takes a lot to get me excited. Same old plot lines and cliched tropes…I never imagined that The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud would be anything different. Boy, was I wrong! But it’s not the plot that’s the driving feature of this three volume series. It’s the djinni Bartimaeus.

The setting looks like it might be a Harry Potter clone. England, with the populace divided into commoners and magicians and all that. But there’s nothing to compare with the titular character. I’ve never seen such attitude. Humorous, provocative, imaginative, and with a hugely self inflated ego (perhaps deliberately), Bartimaeus makes you laugh and truly feel for the plight of the poor djinns and Other World entities who are called upon to serve their masters century upon century. He even makes a snide reference to an entity who was once trapped in a horrid old lamp…

The other characters – Nathaniel and Kitty act as foils to Bartimaeus. On the outside, he’s the slave and the magicians are the masters. But he steals the show, especially with his helpful little footnotes that might have been distracting were they not also so awesome :) I’ve often said that a story either has to have amazing characters, or a solid plot. This series is the latter through and through. And just one character at that – the rest is all meh. A one trick pony, but what a pony!

Stroud takes his time getting to some of the action sequences and there are many slow moving sections where he spends time detailing the scenery or building up to the finale. But then I’m a particularly notorious philistine and you shouldn’t take my impressions on this matter too seriously.

I’m sad that the books are over and that’s a great indication of its quality. Specifically, I’m upset that I won’t be hearing from Bartimaeus anymore. This is a fantasy series that’s fresh and original. If you’re on the lookout for something different, something to stimulate your fancy, and break away from the boring old cliches, you simply can’t afford to give it a miss.

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2 thoughts on “Book Review: The Bartimaeus Trilogy”

  1. There’s a prequel to the trilogy, incase you didn’t know. “The Ring of Solomon”.
    Guess you get to give that pony another go.


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