Monthly Archives: February 2011

Bartimaeus: The Ring of Solomon by Jonathan Stroud


“No matter how may times you see the dead walk, you always forget just how rubbish they are when they really get moving.  Sure, they look OK when they first break through the wall – they get points for shock value, for their gaping sockets and gnashing teeth, and sometimes (if the Reanimation spell is really up to scratch) for their disembodies screams.  But then they start pursuing you clumsily around the temple, pelvises jerking, femurs high-kicking, holding out their bony arms in a way that’s meant to be sinister but looks more as if they’re about to set down at a piano and bash our a honky-tonk rag.  And the faster they go, the more their teeth start rattling and the more their necklaces bounce up and get lodged in their eye-holes, and then they start tripping over their grave-clothes and tumbling to the floor and generally getting in the way of any nimble-footed djinni who happens to be passing.  And, as is the way with skeletons, never once do they come out with any really good one-liners, which might add a bit of zest to the life-or-death situation you’re in.”

Bartimaeus:  The ring of Solomon by Jonathan Stroud

Couldn’t have said it better myself Bartimaeus.  And that’s the great thing about any of the Bartimaeus books (Amulet of Samarkand, Golem’s eye, Ptolemy’s Gate and featured title) Bartimaeus has character.  He’s a Djinn with attitude, a tough and resourceful character from the Other Place that will make mince meat out of any magician foolish enough to make a mistake in his presence.

We were introduced to Bartimaeus as the unwilling slave and eventual friend of a young magician called Nathaniel.  Though Bartimaeus’ appearance on our plane are always unwilling, he does make the best of this time amongst the humans.  Though compelled to complete dangerous or onerous tasks, Bartimaeus always does it his way with a sharp-minded, keen eyed, sarcastic-mouthed way.  In Bartimaeus: The ring of Solomon we go back into Bartemaeus’ past and witness his adventures in the court of Solomon. 

I picked it up… because I’d read the first Nathaniel and Bartimaeus series and knew that with  our favourite Djinn the story would at least be a fun ride.

I kept reading… because it was a Bartimaeus book and once he picks up with a young warrior on a quest of her own the action and fun really picks up.

I would recommend it to… anyone who loves character as much as I do.  Children from middle eastern families love these stories as they deal with the creatures from their families traditions.