The Golem's Eye (The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Book #2)

by Jonathan Stroud

Paperback, 2006



Call number

PB Str

Call number

PB Str

Local notes

PB Str




Disney-Hyperion (2005), Edition: Reprint, 592 pages


In their continuing adventures, magician's apprentice Nathaniel, now fourteen years old, and the djinni Bartimaeus travel to Prague to locate the source of a golem's power before it destroys London.



Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

592 p.; 5.25 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member Lman
I had gleefully anticipated this next tussle between the inimitable djinni, Bartimaeus, and the young magician Nathaniel, inevitable in the context of the finale of their last encounter; and I wasn’t disappointed, even though the timbre of The Golem’s Eye differed quite significantly from the
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first book.

To begin with, the reader is given a glimpse into our irascible djinni’s past by describing the fall of Prague to the British many years ago – informative, enlightening and necessary as a basis to this middle portion of the trilogy. The book then continues two years after The Amulet of Samarkand; Nathaniel, with his adult name of John Mandrake, is now fourteen and prospering so well under his new master he works as a part-time assistant to the Internal Affairs Minister, a sub-department of the Security colossus. Such is his success, he is tasked with the pursuit of the Resistance, a group of commoners aimed at opposing, and ultimately overturning, the regime of the Magicians; the activities of the Resistance having increased in the last few years to such a degree, that the powers of the state are intent on destroying them. Blamed for every indiscretion against the rule of law, this motley group had already earned Nathaniel’s ire, and come to Bartimaeus’ notice, in the first book, when the indomitable Kitty and her colleagues stole a magical artefact from Nathaniel and tried to rob the djinni of the amulet. When a fearsome golem is let loose to devastate London, factions in the government, trying to secure a stronger power base, immediately blame the Resistance for these attacks and thus censure Nathaniel, and his superiors, for their lack of success. Desperately needing strength and power to survive Nathaniel breaks his word and summons Bartimaeus into his service again.

Jonathan Stroud approaches this storyline in a decidedly different manner to his first writing style; the tone is more serious and a much less tongue-in-cheek attitude prevails. Major slices of the book now focus on Kitty and the other members of the Resistance, detailing their origins, past experiences and the reasoning behind their intense desire to escape the subjugation of their lives. Again, through consummate writing skill, the reader is smoothly juxtaposed and cleverly subjected to all the dissenting viewpoints of the varying individuals – underpinning the rationale behind, at times, the appalling actions of some of the protagonists. But Bartimaeus, and his sublime articulations, footnotes and all, are seriously missing, appearing only sporadically until the last third of the book – thus the change in overall feel. And Nathaniel attains such a level of bombastic pomposity and self-interest that I was surprised at my ultimate distaste and dislike of his evolving character, in direct contrast to Kitty’s.

Despite the differences this second book is still a gem. Due to, and because of, the fewer sarcastic repartees and witticisms offered by our djinni, their effect is outstanding - the commentary and subsequent descriptions, especially in regards to Nathaniel’s appearance and course of actions, are cruelly perceptive, savagely clever and riotously funny. On the whole, though, this book offers a sad and sorry insight into Nathaniel's and Kitty’s world, with an underlying pathos to many of the comedic elements, even as it consistently entertains and intrigues. And, just as before, left this reader eager for more!
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LibraryThing member atimco
The second book in Jonathan Stroud's Bartimaeus Trilogy, The Golem's Eye finds Nathaniel almost three years later as an important member of the government despite his youth. Some of his governmental duties include tracking down the Resistance, an elusive group of commoners challenging the
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magicians' power. Kitty, who was introduced briefly in the first book, becomes an important character in this story as the heart of the Resistance movement. She and several other young people have been born with a partial resilience to magic that enables them to resist magical attack. Other powers are also afoot in London with the advent of a mysterious clay golem. Who is controlling it? Nathaniel has to find out, and quick. Cue Bartimaeus!

This story really zooms in on the cutthroat political scene of the magicians' bureaucratic government, and I can't help but be reminded of the Ministry of Magic in Rowling's Harry Potter series. But unlike Rowling, Stroud is unrelievedly pessimistic about those in power. On the way to the top you have to step on a lot of people, magician and commoner alike — and positively crush the lower orders of magical slaves like djinni. I've always been a bit skeptical of the apparent lack of ambition on the part of the Rowling's wizards. Let's be honest here: would powerful magicians really be content to sit on the sidelines in secret and play at having their own cute little magical government while the non-magical people rule the world? Uh, no. Power corrupts and what else is magic? Or at the very least, think of all the good the magicians could do by ruling the world! (At least, start out by doing.) Stroud's oligarchical society reflects a more accurate view of human nature and is therefore more believable.

Another similarity between the Bartimaeus and Harry Potter books is how the boy-magician's role model (Gladstone for Nathaniel and Dumbledore for Harry) is deconstructed somewhat from a hero to a very flawed human being. Stroud takes it farther than Rowling does, revealing Gladstone as an oppressor and conqueror. Dumbledore gets off with a streaky history, it's true, but he's redeemed himself by years of service to others. It's interesting because Gladstone is set up as Nathaniel's inspiration in the first book when we don't know his real nature... and he's still that hero in the second even when we learn about his misdeeds. Nathaniel is learning to value power over everything else, and his hero keeps pace.

The characters are deepened in this story, and again I was surprised to find how much I cared about their fates. Bartimaeus is hilarious, as usual, and though he is probably an unreliable narrator where his own interests are concerned, he does have some good insights on what is happening in Nathaniel. I absolutely love the character of Kitty. She's one of Stroud's best creations; she could walk off the page. With the development of her character we now have three different viewpoints on the story, Bartimaeus's first-person narration and two third-person voices following Nathaniel and Kitty in alternating chapters. Stroud keeps all the reins of his plotlines taut and takes his readers on quite a ride.

I read this in a day, almost in a sitting, and when I finished it I couldn't wait to start the last book. Funny, sad, dark, and wry all at the same time — there's a reason this series made the bestseller lists. And don't forget the footnotes! Good stuff.
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LibraryThing member Cecrow
Nathaniel has established himself among the magician's government, and has been placed in charge of containing the Resistance. Scale of the acts of terrorism suggest to him that a greater power than the rebels is afoot, but he needs to prove it - and apprehend the culprit - before his career and
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freedoms are quenched by his overseers. A large chunk of the story also shifts away from Nathaniel's troubles to introduce Kitty as a new narrator. She presents an insider's perspective of the Resistance, which is struggling to raise its profile and achieve impact.

I was pleased to see the political and sociological story hinted at in the first novel now come to the foreground. Nathaniel's story fascinates as everything likeable about him is being subsumed. Bartimaeus continues to serve as entertaining comic relief, but also as the author's mouthpiece concerning the changes that have come over Nathaniel and what a true hero should be by contrasting him with Kitty. Here we see the difference underlined between adult novels and YA fiction: an adult rendition of this trilogy would not have Bartimaeus' guidance for our interpretations of character development. Rather than disparage this transparent device as an adult reader, I'm pointing to this trilogy as presenting a wonderful argument for YA fiction's place in the literary cannon. This novel, hence the trilogy, serves as a critical thinking tutorial for younger readers even as it entertains, encouraging them to judge the actions of leading characters, and simultaneously the presented society, rather than accept these at face value as always representing 'the good'.

The overarching storyline appears tied to Nathaniel's descent into immorality, so I hope we'll see some redemption of his character in the trilogy's final third. It would also be nice to see the society turning a page, or at least the setting up of some sure course for the Resistance to eventually succeed by. Whatever's to come, I'm sure it will be conveyed in the same fast-paced, action-filled format with liberal doses of humour thrown in.
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LibraryThing member xicanti
The second book in The Bartimaeus Trilogy is set two years after the first installment. Nathaniel has risen quickly through the governmental ranks. When he finds his career on the line following a string of disturbing incidents, he breaks his promise to Bartimaeus and summons the djinni once
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This is a much slower book than The Amulet of Samarkand. There are still some good action scenes, but for the most part Stroud focuses on the political situation. Kitty, a fairly minor character from the first book, takes centre stage; through her, we learn more about the commoners' lives and the Resistance. While I really enjoyed the scenes from her point of view, the additional perspective slowed the narrative down in places and occasionally made it difficult for me to stay involved.

But the thing that really brought this book down from 4 stars to 3.5 was Bartimaeus's infrequent presence. I really missed him! After the prologue, he disappears for nearly a hundred pages. I found Nathaniel repugnant this time around, and I was still just getting to know Kitty; it would have been nice to have a familiar, delightfully sarcastic voice around to help ease me back into the storyline.

This was still good, though. It's a worthwhile entry in an excellent series. If you like children's literature that actually says something and doesn't write down to its readers, give this trilogy a go. Start with The Amulet of Samarkand, though, so you've got the necessary backstory.
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LibraryThing member passion4reading
Nearly three years after the events described in The Amulet of Samarkand, Nathaniel has gone up in the world: he's now a junior minister in the Department for Internal Affairs and apprenticed to the eminent magician and Security Minister Jessica Whitwell, and tasked with capturing the ringleaders
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of the Resistance. When several shops catering for a magician clientele in Piccadilly are raided - their ground floors virtually destroyed and several officers of the Night Police are killed - the general suspicion immediately falls on the Resistance. But Nathaniel has doubts, and summons Bartimaeus once again to find the real perpetrator.

A worthy (and improved) follow-up to The Amulet of Samarkand, The Golem's Eye oozes atmosphere, tension, style, wit and a few heart-stopping moments of sheer terror. The action takes place both in London and Prague, and the stakes are raised considerably. The reader learns more about the beginnings of the Resistance and about Kitty Jones in particular, and it was Kitty's story and her independent spirit and bravery that was the big surprise for me; unfortunately Nathaniel doesn't come away from this as a very empathetic character, and I hope the rest of the series won't shape up in such a way as to make the reader choose between Kitty and Nathaniel. Where its predecessor was one mad chase after another, this title had quite a different pace to it, which may not endear it to those who expect more action as that featured in The Amulet of Samarkand, but in my opinion the darker mood of the entire book and its predominant focus on the three major characters made this a superior, intelligent and very enjoyable read. Not everything is tied up neatly at the end, and I can't wait how the story progresses. The next volume in the sequence, Ptolemy's Gate, is already lined up.
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LibraryThing member heidilove
most middle books of a trilogy wane, but this one manages to keep the pace going, mostly by introducing new elements (pardon the pun) to the goings-on. could be read as a stand alone work, and that's what makes it work. Of course, by the time you're done, you just can't wait for the next one.
LibraryThing member Anduril85
Stroud does a wonderful job with this second installment in his series you'll be taken deeper into the world of the bureaucratic magician and the world of the summoned spirits if you liked a certain other book about a magic using youngster, the name of which I will not mention then I think you
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should give this a try it delivers all the magic you want with out any of the "look at me I'm famous and that girl I like, likes my friend boo hoo everyone feel sad for me.' feel to it. So uh like I said give it a try.
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LibraryThing member hpluver07
Jonathan Stroud has done it again! I liked reading this book and got through it fairly quickly.
LibraryThing member readafew
The 2nd book of the Bartimaeus Trilogy. Nathaniel's lot in life has improved quit a bit since last we and Bartimaeus saw him. His new Master is much more important in the running of the government and has helped him achieve an important post. Once again things are happening, problems are arising
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and Nat is going to get the blame if he doesn't figure out what's going on soon. So of course he falls back on what he knows and calls Bartimaeus back.

I found this book to be even better than the first one and really enjoyed the story which just flew right along. I consider these books to be on the must read for Fantasy readers. Once again Stroud gives Nat an accurate portrayal of an arrogant teenager who thinks he deserves everything from the world, merely for being who he is.
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LibraryThing member donkeytiara
a great easy read to share with your teen...or just to read instead of another chick flick!! My favorite line: "That IS a footstool."
LibraryThing member elbakerone
Although not as concise a story as the first book in the Bartimaeus trilogy (The Amulet of Samarkand), The Golem's Eye returns the reader to an alternate reality of London ruled by magicians and their djinni (genie) servants. Readers will again appreciate the sarcastic and clever footnote-talking
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Bartimaeus and many will enjoy seeing Kitty Jones, a youth involved in the commoners Resistance against the magicians, take on a leading role complete with backstory. However, this book suffers slightly in the shifting character of Nathaniel (aka John Mandrake). In the first novel, Nathaniel was at least a symapthetic child taking on the role of hero where as in this book he can hardly be considered a protagonist and though the story often centers on him, his character loses likability with every page. Luckily, Kitty and Bartimaeus will have the reader cheering for them throughout the adventures and of course, leave one eagerly awaiting the conclusion of the trilogy in the final book, Ptolemy's Gate.
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LibraryThing member roxy
Volume II of the Bartimeus trilogy. I read the first volume (the Amulet of Samarkand) about a year back and tremendously enjoyed it, regardless of the fact that it is a young adult trilogy. These days when looking into the YA section, most of the books have to do with magic... possible Harry Potter
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side-effect? Anyway, it gets really hard making your way through the really good stuff and the really bad... this trilogy is part of the really good stuff....
I remember the first one as refreshing, hilarious and witty... the second one dwells more on characters while still keeping the humorous edge of the first book. The development of the character of Kitty was one I wasn't quite looking foreword to (mainly because I thought it meant less Bartimeus first person narration which is a delight every time), but surprisingly, I genuinely became attached to her and the cause she was defending through the Resistance.
Though this is a teenage book, I found the ethic and moral issues Stroud mentioned were mature themes. Recommended to both young and adult readers looking for something fresh.
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LibraryThing member SnowLeopard
Nathaniel, known to all as the magician John Mandrake, has been promoted to the prestigious position of Assistant to the Head of Internal Affairs in the Great Britain Ministry. But because of his age (only a tender 14), not every magician gives him the credibility he deserves. Once again, Nathaniel
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finds himself in deep trouble, which means he must summon the all-knowing djinni, Bartimaeus.1 It is Nathaniel’s job to uncover a destructive group known as the Resistance, but they constantly evade him, and his status is quickly slipping in the eyes of his fellow ministry members. And on top of that, a monstrous stony Golem has attacked the city, but who is the intelligence behind the muscle? It is up to Nathaniel to discover and uncover these mysteries, so of course he passes it off to Bartimaeus.

The Golem’s Eye is the second book in the Bartimaeus Trilogy, right after The Amulet of Samarkand. Both of these books are great fun to read because of all the witty and humorous remarks Bartimaeus includes on everything he has an opinion about in footnotes.2

1A djinni is basically like your average genie you would find in any magic lamp, minus the lamp. A competent magician can summon a djinni simply by constructing a sealed pentagram in a circle on the floor and reciting the correct spell. Bartimaeus is an exceptionally pompous 4th level djinni who thinks very highly of himself, but not so highly of Nathaniel.

2This is a footnote.
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LibraryThing member rj_anderson
I enjoyed this one more than the first in the series -- still plenty of action and high-stakes adventure, but the addition of a third, unique and fascinating perspective to the story in the form of Kitty definitely heightened my interest. Nathaniel is quite the arrogant brat in this one and very
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nearly unlikeable at times, but I cling to the scraps of conscience he still retains and hope for reform in Book 3. (Oh, all right, I'm also shipping Kitty/Nathaniel but that has nothing to do with it. Really. It doesn't. Shut up.)Book 3 just came in to the library! I must hasten to get it.
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LibraryThing member sylviaxxx
Volume 2 of the Bartimaeus trilogy - still good fun and very funny
LibraryThing member rocalisa
The Golem's Eye by Jonathan Stroud (8/10)
Fantasy. A solid read, but Nathaniel is still a little sh*t and it suffers from book 2 in a trilogy syndrome.
LibraryThing member francescadefreitas
This was delightful. Bartimaeus' tone is still as entertaining as it was in the first book. Natathaniel, or rather Mandrake hasn't aged well in two years, he is more magician and less child - the change to adolescent is believable. The addition of Kitty's voice adds a new layer to the story, as we
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get to see life in this world from a commoner's point of view.
The plot is tangled and interesting, nicely built on the previous story. The conclusion of the major mystery is not as satisfyingly tied up as that of the first book, but this isn't annoying, it just makes me anticipate the third and final volume.
SImon Jones' reading is excellent.
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LibraryThing member tundranocaps
I like this book even more than the first, though it's a bit marred by all the memory scenes of Kitty.
LibraryThing member jfoster_sf
The main reason this didn't get 5 stars was because there was a definite lack of the best character, Bartimaeus, through the first half of the book. In his place you get Kitty, a member of the Resistance that Nathanial ran into in the first book. Also, this book was, to me, much scarier. There was
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one scene in particular where the description of a decaying skeleton almost made me stop reading it was so creepy! I still love the book as a whole, and will definitely read book 3, but I hope Bartimaeus plays a bigger part in the next book.
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LibraryThing member alice443
I read this, the second in the Bartimaeus trilogy first and so far it is my favourite.
LibraryThing member heidialice
The second in the Bartimaeus Trilogy, Nathaniel is a bit older, quite a bit more arrogant, and working for the government in London, trying to put down the Resistance, and trying to resist calling up Bartimaeus to his aid. Meanwhile, Kitty and her Resistance fighters are planning their most daring
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raid yet, and London is under attack from an unknown quarter.

Faster-paced than the first, and with a broader view, since we get Kitty's story in addition to Nathaniel's, this is a better read than the first. Parts read like a perfectly-paced, spine-tingling ghost story, and much of it's quite funny. It's still hard to like Nathaniel, but that's starting to seem like the whole point. I'm curious enough to read on through to the end of this series, despite its flaws.
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LibraryThing member atomichron
I enjoy the hotdog scene. So would you. (Trust me.)
LibraryThing member willowcove
Only read the first 100 pages, and had to put it down. Just too slow to start. Will try again later.
LibraryThing member Alera
The second installment of The Bartimaeus Trilogy continues to take our current world and mythos and use it to create a story that feels so real and yet is so apparently not. The best part about this series is not the story itself but the characters. Nathaniel has quickly shot to the top of the
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magical world at a very young age and it's going to his head. The novel shows how much he's changed with just brief glimpses of the man he used to be, sadly the only person who can bring out that out is the only 'demon' to know him from before. Bartimaeus continues to shine with both his snark and the author's ability to give him a good mixture of disdain for humanity and the mundane, but also showing the character does actually wish to see good. But the true stand out character and stand out feature of this novel is Kitty. Her story is heartbreaking and in many ways she is becoming the true hero of the series.
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LibraryThing member srewart
The sequel to 'The amulat of Samukand', Nathanial has moved through the rnks of the government, and is now one of its chief ministers. But when a mysteroius force starts moving through London, destroying everything in its path. Nathanial is given the impossible task of stopping this destruction.
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With his job, and his very life on the line, will Nathanial succeed?
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