Friday, August 06, 2010
Book Review: Ptolemy's Gate
However, Ptolemy's Gate is very much in keeping with the first two books: witty and clever. Jonathan Stroud is a brilliant writer. After seeing what he's capable of here, I will try and read all his books.
The story moves along at a good pace, though the bits about the war and the commoners' agitations did slow things a little.
Bartimaeus's essence has dwindled to almost nothing, and he needs, desperately, to return to the Other Place, if nothing, to at least recharge. He has been continuously bound for the last three years (since The Golem's Eye) to Mr Mandrake, now Information Minister, who has used the djinn along with several other spirits to run errands and take care of business as usual for the government. Mandrake is still only 17 years old, and his mental sharpness (I can almost hear Bartimaeus guffaw here) deserts him when he has to work with the attractive but cruel Jane Farrar of the police, and later with someone else we know.
It is delightful to read about Ptolemy in ancient Alexandria and his bond with Bartimaeus, the reason why the djinn takes on the boy's form so often. Stroud's descriptions are minimal but those few carefully chosen details paint a vivid picture of another time and place.
This trilogy is a must read for fantasy fans (young and old). The wit alone makes the books worthwhile but the intelligent writing and plot make them thoroughly admirable and worth owning.