Book #32: The Golem’s Eye (2004)

golemauthor: Jonathan Stroud
language: English
length: 562 pages
finished reading on: 23 May 2013

The second of the Bartimaeus trilogy that I started reading basically as soon as I finished the last one (downloaded to kindle). The kindle presented a new challenge, for as I mentioned in the review of “The Amulet of Samarkand”, Bartimaeus loves footnotes, and these are a royal pain on a kindle, especially my old-style one without a touchscreen, where you have to select each one with a cursor individually and follow it as a link. I actually got around this problem by using the iPhone app in tandem to look at the footnotes. It’d be fine if it was one or two, but every chapter narrated by the character has about ten.

Anyway, the book is still good, funny, and has these flawed characters that we can still identify with. This adds in the story of Kitty, a “commoner” (muggle) part of the Resistance, a ragtag bunch of mostly children led by an old man and a man who is an inside contact in the government, who all have some kind of magical talent or genetic resistance. Kitty’s backstory is told before getting to the main story, but I got confused at this point, because I thought I caught a reference to the master having disappeared or died, and thus thought that some incidents that were happening in parallel were actually still part of the backstory. She meets the other main characters towards the end of the book.

The title refers to golems that have been released to cause destruction around London, so Stroud relishes in describing the destruction of famous places like the British Museum. A lot more of the mythology of his universe is revealed in the story and it’s very engrossing.

The other main character, Nathaniel, is given a lot more development in this story. Again, he’s a bit of a fantasy-fulfillment prodigy – at 14 he’s already procured a relatively high-ranking job in government – yet is jealous and nervous for most of the story. His appearance is almost never described appealingly, even by himself but especially not by his sarcastic demon – since the last story he’s apparently grown his hair long into something like curtains, and wears pretentious dinner suits to try and engender favour with high-ups. Of course, he also develops an interest in girls, at which point I honestly don’t give a shit. One of my long-standing gripes with Harry Potter was that I stopped really caring or identifying with him as soon as he develops an interest in girls and is only interested in kissing Cho Chang, and exactly the same applies here. It’s not such a strong point in the plot, though, and it’s implied that a magical charm was involved, so I can forgive it there.

I liked it, anyway. I now need to read the last one in the trilogy (although apparently there’s a fourth one too which is not properly part of the trilogy? I don’t really get it!), and I’ve decided to do so with an audiobook – at least that way I don’t have to worry about footnotes…

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