Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Bartimaeus: The Ring of Solomon

by Jonathan Stroud

took 3 days, approximately 8 hours continuous reading.

This is kind of a prequel to the trilogy Bartimaeus. Don't worry if you haven't heard of it, it hasn't been turn to a movie, yet. As all the books from the series, the stories are related to a djinni named Bartimaeus as it toils to its bidding when summoned by a human. The stories are mostly told through Bartimaeus' perspective, full with sarcasm and boasts, which lends the series its characteristic. The Ring of Solomon took place centuries ago in Jerusalem, which is a bit dull compared to the trilogy which took place in London. As the title suggest, this book follows all the predecessor in which there is powerful artifact in the centre of the point, which is in this case, the ring.

The ring contains power and with it, comes problem. Queen Balkis who refused to marry Solomon (in the story), sent one of her guards to kill Solomon and steal the ring in order to avoid destruction to her country. The story then follows the guard, as she carries her mission. Yes, a she who can somersault and throw a dagger with accuracy up to 40 yards. Her path and Bartimaeus eventually crosses each other.

This book follows the predecessor in almost every aspect but the problem is the time taken for their path to cross each other is too long. I was a bit bored waiting for the pace to speed up. Compared to the trilogy, where the protagonist meets Bartimaeus almost in the first chapter, the Ring of Solomon has a much too long intro in my opinion. Other than that, the book is charming with its jokes in almost every pages, mostly in the footnotes where Bartimaeus adds something to his narration. If you have ever read Terry Pratchet, you'll like understand what I mean. Though I must say the jokes are not that hard to understand.

Language wise is quiet simple, with only a few bombastic vocabs in the beginning as adjectives opening. That said, I had recommended the Bartimaeus trilogy before this to a few people but they somehow found it not to their likening. I guess it must be due to the style of writing which may seem to some people as 'jumpy', with its footnote and two different point of views, a third person and a first person view(Bartimaeus).
Therefore I suggest people who wish to read The Solomon Ring, to read the trilogy first. You won't miss a lot if you skip to this but let say Dumbledore says its better that way.

A good read for teenagers, clean of graphics description and raunchy scenes. Most probably will appeal to Harry Potter's fan