Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Ring of Solomon: By Jonathan Stroud



Bartimaeus, everyone’s favorite (wise-cracking) djinni, is back in book four of this best-selling series. As alluded to in the footnotes throughout the series, Bartimaeus has served hundreds of magicians during his 5,010 year career. Now, for the first time, fans will go back in time with the djinni, to Jerusalem and the court of King Solomon in 950s BC. Only in this adventure, it seems the great Bartimaeus has finally met his match. He’ll have to contend with an unpleasant master and his sinister servant, and runs into just a “spot” of trouble with King Solomon’s magic ring….


I’ve been a fan of Stroud’s other books for years, including his Bartimaeus Trilogy and his standalone novel Heroes of the Valley. So naturally I was a little worried that this new novel might not be as good or engaging as some of his past since it’s been so long since Stroud’s last release. But I have to say I wasn’t disappointed in the slightest with The Ring of Solomon.

The Ring of Solomon takes place in the time of King Solomon, back from the stories of the old testament. Of course Stroud doesn’t just give us a bland retelling of the stories of King Solomon instead he puts his own twist on the stories using everyone’s favorite djinni, Bartimaeus, to still up trouble, make insulting yet humorous wisecracks, and cause overall general mayhem.

Personally, I found Asmira a much easier and more interesting lead human character to read than Nathaniel. But the true star in all of these books continues to be Bartimaeus. He is still the mischievous, wise cracking, character that we came to love in the previous books. Stroud does a fantastic job of reestablishing Bartimaeus’s character though, so new readers of the series wont be lost by any of Bartimaeus’s remarks or style.

As for the other human characters they are all 3-D and interesting. My personal favorite was King Solomon, I was genuinely surprised with some of the twists Stroud had in there for the king, and I really enjoyed them. There are some “evil” characters, but to be honest, Stroud does a fantastic job making sure his characters are complex enough that they are able to surprise even loyal fans of Stroud’s other books.

As for plot twists The Ring of Solomon has plenty to entertain and keep readers on their toes. Nothing new for fans of the previous series.

But the real important aspect to take away from this is that fans of the previous Bartimaeus books will love this book. Side remarks detailing Bartimaeus‘s exploits from the previous books are described in much fuller detail, characters such as Faqarl make a fun guest appearance, and the footnotes are so hilarious that anyone with a pulse should love them. These aspects and other positive points really tie the books together, making the overall experience that much richer.

All in all while I was originally scared the book wasn’t going to live up to its predecessors, this fear was wholly disproved. The Ring of Solomon is a fun exciting book with likable characters, a good pace, and enough twists and turns to keep fans interested. Not only that but this prequel to the series does a fantastic job making it possible for new and old fans of the series to enjoy and understand many of the jokes and plot lines. All in all a great book.

8.5 out of 10


Publisher: Hyperion Book CH

Published: November 2, 2010

Price: $17.99

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