At only fourteen, Nathaniel is a rising star: a young magician who is quickly climbing the ranks of the government. There is seemingly nothing he cannot handle, until he is asked to deal with the growing Resistance movement, which is disrupting London life with its thefts and raids. It’s no easy task: the ringleader Kitty and her friends remain elusive, and Nathaniel’s job-and perhaps his life-are soon at risk. As the pressure mounts, he is distracted by a new series of terrifying attacks in the capital. But is it the Resistance again, or something more dangerous still? To uncover the perpetrators, Nathanial must take desperate measures: a journey to the enemy city of Prague and-worse-summoning once again the troublesome, enigmatic, and quick – witted djinni Bartimaeus (goodreads.com).
This book begins another great adventure with Bartimaeus and Nathaniel (John Mandrake)! Now around 15 years old, Nathaniel is the apprentice to the Minister of Security following his heroic acts in the previous novel. It is his case to bring those behind the Resistance attacks to justice, but it appears this may be more difficult than he thought. Not only does he have to deal with the Resistance attacks, but their appears to be other attacks not associated with the resistance and it is up to Nathaniel to figure out what is going on. Of course, he wont be able to do it without his djinn Bartimaeus!
There is a lot going on in this book and I found it to be very interesting. I enjoyed how we got to take a more personal look at the Resistance movement that was mentioned in the previous book by following in the point-of-view of one of the members, Kitty. This brings a whole new perspective regarding the Magicians ruling over the commoners. It was very informative to follow around one of the commoners and learn how they feel about the Magicians. We find out that the life of a commoner isn’t all that grand under magician rule. Trying to figure out who was controlling the Golem also kept me interested in the story; however, it didn’t take long for me to have an idea as to who it was and I was pleased to find out that I was right. Although I could figure out this part of the story it is by no means that predictable. There were plenty of instances when I had no idea how things were going to turn out.
I didn’t think I would like the shifting perspectives between Bartimaeus, Nathaniel, and Kitty, but they were all highly entertaining. There weren’t a whole lot of high action scenes, but I quite enjoyed this about the novel. There is more information about magicians and their relationship to the commoners, as well as delving in to the world of the Resistance and why it is they do what they do.
The amount of violence contained in these books may be a little much for young children, but by no means is it for young adults. There is also a minimal about of cursing and no inappropriate or sexual situations or relationships that I always find to take away from a story. I was very glad about this! If I want to read about those kinds of relationships I would read a romance novel.
Nathaniel has really taken to his new role working for the government and it is rather easy to see how much he has changed since the first book. He wasn’t at all like I expected him to be. No longer is he the young child we learned to love, but has become a taller, more arrogant, rude, well-dressed, and sophisticated version of his former self becoming John Mandrake and leaving all traces of Nathaniel in the past. He is an entirely different person in this novel and doesn’t show the compassion that I thought he was capable of. He is definitely becoming one of his fellow magicians and I am not sure if I like this or not. I kind of wish he would be different and be one of the magicians that tries to help the commoners and realize what the magicians are doing. Maybe in the next book we will see another side of John Mandrake.
Bartimeaus is back and a little bit surprised to be summoned back so soon! He is just as great and sarcastic as ever, and really lightens the mood of the story with his humor.
The newest character we follow is Kitty, who is a member of the resistance, and how she ended up where she is. I thought she was an interesting, well developed character and has strong opinions of her own, which her parents and other commoners want nothing to do with. She understands that the magicians are not being fair and wants to do something to get back at them. I really enjoyed following her story and hope to see more of her in the last book of the series.
As in the previous novel, the writing is spectacular! I thought the footnotes for Bartimeaus were awesome and definitely added something to the story, but where not actually required for the story.
This book was just as good as the previous one. The plot was exciting and entertaining, and the characters were incredibly well-developed. I highly recommend reading this book if you enjoyed the first and I know that I cannot wait to start the last book in the series.
My rating: 4/5 stars
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