A Goodreads user asked:
is this book the first part of the series or a prequel? should i read it first?
Justin I think there are insights to be had and tone to absorb whether you read The Ring of Solomon before or after the series. The trilogy does a better job of introducing the characters and concepts like 'essence' and 'the Other Place', but this prequel informs the reader more about the history and nature of magic, as well as the feats and trials of Bartimaeus, which are alluded to often in the trilogy without full background.
Navneeth Sundararaghavan Yes, it is a prequel. But nope, you need not read it first to understand the Bartimaeus trilogy any better. Amulet of Samarkand does a better job of introducing you to the world than this one.