Matthew's Reviews > The Golem's Eye

The Golem's Eye by Jonathan Stroud
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's review
Aug 06, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: childrens
Read in August, 2012

This story, a follow-up to the Amulet of Samarkand, takes place two years after the first book. Again, the story centers on Nathaniel amid his rise through the British Empire's government offices, but trouble is brewing in the colonies across the pond for the British. Though the colonies are threatening rebellion, Nathaniel is tasked with finding and capturing the Resistance, with whom he had brief encounters in the first book. This is where we get to (re)meet Kitty Jones.

Learning about Kitty's backstory and the reason why she has entered into the Resistance and the reasons for joining (and how this is tied to Nathaniel's story) is interesting, the story tends to drag at times. For the most part, during the early parts of the book, the story drags almost interminably, mostly because there is a decided lack of Bartimaeus. Kitty and Nathaniel are interesting characters, but without Bartimaeus' antics, the story lacks humor and pacing.

Finally, when a certain fourth level djinni enters the fray, the story seems to pick up and the plot moves along at an easy and fun pace, building toward a climax that seemed almost forced and rushed. After learning of the plot to unseat Nathaniel and his master, Jessica Whitwell, everything gears down in a rush. Nathaniel is suddenly promoted and is living the high-life in London, an elite now among the elite. While the final denoument for the series is yet to be experienced, a lot of the ending seems lacking. Mostly, the respect and friendship that has begun to blossom between Nathaniel and Bartimaeus is not truly fleshed-out, mostly because Nathaniel is too bull-headed to see it, and mostly because it seemed like the author tried to gloss over the last bits of Bartimaeus' servitude and get him back to the Other Place.

In short, this book suffers from a touch of the typical "middle volume" syndrome of a trilogy: the ending isn't resolved too well because of the final book in the series and the characters aren't fully fleshed-out because they have another book yet to grow. However, this does help to add to the Bartimaeus story overall and is still a fun, enjoyable read. If nothing else, it shows what Nathaniel is capable of, that Bartimaeus isn't nearly as crusty as he'd like us to think, and it whets the appetite for the final installment in the series.
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