Who wrote this book and when?
Jonathan Stroud published this final installment of the Bartimaeus Trilogy in 2005.
Has there been a film version?
Who are the main characters?
John Mandrake/Nathaniel – a magician who has reached the rank of Information Minister
Bartimaeus – a snazzy medium level djinni with attitude, usually in service of John Mandrake
Kitty Jones – a former Resistance fighter now in hiding, works as a student and a barmaid
Jane Farrar – magician, Nathaniel’s biggest competition, the Deputy Police Chief
Mr. Quentin Makepeace – a playwright and close friend of Prime Minister Rupert Devereaux
Mr. Harold Button – a magician, scholar, and book collector, out of favor with popular magicians
Mr. Clem Hopkins – a scholar with strange powers, somehow connected to both the magicians and the Resistance
Verroq – a mercenary with unprecedented resistances to magic
What’s it about?
In this last installment of the trilogy, we once again meet up with Nathaniel, Bartimaeus the djinni, and Kitty Jones. This time, Bartimaeus is severely weakened due to his extended service on earth wearing on his essence. Nathaniel has become withdrawn and fairly unapproachable after he was led to believe Kitty has died and he has been elevated to the post of Information Minister. And Kitty is beginning to teach herself magic in hopes of using it to overthrow the magicians once and for all. Again, all three of them are thrown together as Hopkins, the assassin, and the mysterious mastermind behind the entire plot against the government put their plan into play which results in a showdown you’d never expect.
Why is this book a classic?
It isn’t, the series is a best selling series (is there a broken record somewhere?)
Why should I read this book?
To round out the series if you’ve already started it, and if you haven’t – you should.
Has it won any awards?
Not that I can find.
“Chains! Ropes! Vans! Put them together and what do you get? No, I hadn’t a clue either. But it sounded like dirty work to me.” -p120
“Surely not even the stupidest magician would have been so vain, so foolhardy, so plain ignorant as to invite a being like Nouda…Surely everyone knew his track record (3). Oh. Right. Well, it’s like this. As I may have mentioned once or twice, there are five basic levels of spirit: imps (reprehensible), foliots (negligible), djinn (a fascinating class, with one or two absolute gems), afrits (overrated), and marids (dreadfully full of themselves). Above these levels exist more powerful entities, shadowy by nature, who are only occasionally summoned or even defined. Nouda was one such, and his rare appearances on Earth left a trail of blood and misery. Only the most unpleasant regimes employed him: the Assyrians (during the battle of Nineveh, when Nouda devoured a thousand Medes), Timur the Cruel (at the sack of Delhi, during which Nouda stacked the heads of prisoners to a height of 50 feet), the Aztecs (a regular engagement for Nouda this; in the end he discovered an ambiguity in Montezuma’s summons – as a reward, Nouda ravaged Tenochtitlan and left it defenseless against the Spanish). He was a formidable customer, in other words, hungry and not sympathetically inclined.” -p 338
If you have read all of the Bartimaeus Trilogy, there is a forum where Jonathan Stroud sometimes posts answers to fan questions or other information on the characters from the books. The link is available under the article about the Trilogy on Wikipedia.
I don’t want to say I was disappointed in this book…but I guess I was. Mostly because the ending was a realistic ending, instead of all the magical quality environment Stroud has been showing the entire series. The first half of the book was wonderful. Bartimaeus was his same old sarcastic self, despite his weakened state. And I enjoyed getting to know Kitty a little more, this time without losing the concept of magic or any of the energy of the novel. But about a third of the way through, the energy level dropped to nearly nonexistent until the end of the book, and Nathaniel just became a general whiny pain in the ass as he went through his various stages of conviction and redemption. He reminded me of a certain other teenage wizard in a certain other book five of a certain other magical series. I found the section of Nathaniel confronting Ms. Lutyens random and somewhat undeveloped and trite. Not that my opinion counts for much of anything…
I’d say out of all three books, the first was my favorite. It had an energy to it that was lacking much of the second book and part of the third. Probably because the entire concept was fresh and new.