Reviews for Ring of Solomon : A Bartimaeus Novel
Booklist Reviews 2010 November #2
*Starred Review* Called a Bartimaeus Novel, Stroud's latest opens in a time and place (950 BCE Jerusalem) so far removed from the nineteenth-century British setting of the self-contained Bartimaeus trilogy that even the word prequel overstates the connection. Still, one unforgettable character from the trilogy energizes the current book as well. After outwitting and slaying his master in the opening chapters here, the mouthy, sardonic djinni named Bartimaeus is summoned to the service of yet another magician from King Solomon's court. Meanwhile, across the desert in Sheba, a young royal guard called Asmira embarks on a dangerous quest, hoping to save the queen and their land by stealing King Solomon's ring. Although Stroud's writing is never less than inventive and entertaining, the first 100-page section feels like a prelude to the rest of the novel, which takes off when idealistic Asmira encounters jaded Bartimaeus and they begin to make their way toward Solomon and his ring of power. The climactic scenes hold surprises for the reader as well as the characters. As in the trilogy, some chapters are related in third person, while others are narrated by Bartimaeus, and the latter chapters often include informative and amusing footnotes in his distinctive voice. A riveting adventure for Bartimaeus fans, old and new. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2011 Spring
In this prequel, wisecracking djinni Bartimaeus is bound to one of King Solomon's evil magicians. Meanwhile, Asmira, trusted guard to the queen of Sheba, is sent to Jerusalem to assassinate Solomon. Stroud has crafted a worthy companion to the Bartimaeus trilogy, keeping what worked (snarky first-person voice, labyrinthine plotting) but adding enough new elements to keep the story inventive and satisfying. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2011 #2
This welcome prequel to the Bartimaeus trilogy is set in 950 BCE and places the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon, among other principals, in a world controlled by magic. Bartimaeus, as a supercilious and arrogant djinni the unlikely hero of the books, here finds himself the unlikely ally of a young girl who intends, suicidally, to steal the magic ring of Solomon. Once again narrator Jones mesmerizes listeners with his portrayal of Bartimaeus as well as with his pacing and fluidity, incorporating the footnotes of the print version without a hitch. Audiobook listening heaven from compelling start to riveting finish. martha v. parravano Copyright 2011 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.
Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2010 #6
Bartimaeus, the wisecracking djinni, returns in a prequel to his earlier adventures that began with The Amulet of Samarkand (rev. 11/03). This time he is bound into slavery to one of the evil magicians in King Solomon's court. Meanwhile, the queen of Sheba refuses Solomon's marriage proposal and, in retribution, the apparent tyrant threatens her kingdom with immediate destruction. Asmira, the queen's most trusted guard, is sent to Jerusalem on a desperate errand: to assassinate Solomon and capture his legendary ring, the source of his enormous power. As the plot wends its way to the end, Asmira comes to realize that her blind obedience to the queen is just as confining as any form of slavery. Stroud has crafted a worthy companion to the Bartimaeus trilogy, keeping what worked (the snarky first-person voice, the labyrinthine plotting) but adding enough new elements (the world of the ancient Hebrews and the characters that populate it) to keep it as inventive and satisfying as the previous books. So rarely do humor and plot come together in such equally strong measures that we can only hope for more adventures. jonathan hunt Copyright 2010 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2010 October #1
The entertainingly cocky djinni scraps his way through a 950 BCE escapade mostly unrelated to his series (The Bartimaeus Trilogy) but in that same metaphysical world. Any competent magician can summon Bartimaeus to Earth and enslave him, though none can suppress his amusingly snide commentary (complete with witty footnotes). Assigned to chase bandits outside a corrupt Jerusalem, he meets Asmira, a young woman whose third-person-limited narrative sections are told in a reserved, pragmatic voice. She treks to Jerusalem on a mission to assassinate King Solomon, who threatens her country of Sheba. Magical detonations enhance the tension as Asmira creeps closer to King Solomon and his world-controlling ring. Semi-success in her quest raises new questions, expanding her worldview and making her think in new ways. Despite Asmira's likability, copious action and suspense, the text's sharp elegance and Bartimaeus's funny panache under duress, the prose moves slowly throughout, partly due to over-description. Best for worshippers of popular Bartimaeus and fantasy readers who don't require a quick pace. (Fantasy. YA) Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2010 October #2
In this exciting prequel set in ancient Israel, Stroud presents an early adventure of his sharp-tongued djinn, Bartimaeus. King Solomon has risen to greatness due to the unparalleled power of his magical ring, but having had his marriage proposal rejected by the queen of Sheba, he now appears to be threatening her kingdom with destruction. Young Asmira, the fiery captain of the queen's hereditary guard, is sent to Jerusalem to assassinate the great king and steal the ring. Meanwhile, Bartimaeus, as sardonic, egotistical, and mouthy as ever, perfectly capable of "devouring old magician and departing his tower with a burp and a smile," is currently controlled by the wicked Khaba, one of Solomon's court wizards, and is bitterly unhappy with his lot. When djinn and would-be assassin team up, complex court intrigues come to light and spectacular magics are unleashed. Although the Jerusalem of 950 B.C.E. is not quite as enthralling as was the London of the original trilogy, this is a superior fantasy that should have fans racing back to those books. Ages 10-up. (Nov.) [Page ]. Copyright 2010 PWxyz LLC
School Library Journal Reviews 2011 March
Gr 6 Up--Rejoice! Bartimaeus, the incorrigible djinni introduced in Jonathan Stroud's The Amulet of Samarkand (Disney-Hyperion, 2003), is back and he's as cheeky as ever. This story (Hyperion, 2010) takes place 3,000 years earlier than the Samarkand trilogy. Bartimaeus and eternal foe Faquarl are enslaved to an evil sorcerer who works for King Solomon. A number of plots entwine with the central one of a Sheban assassin, Asmira, on a suicide mission to kill King Solomon and steal his fearsome and powerful magic ring. Through a number of incidents, largely relayed in highly melodramatic and self-pitying fashion by Bartimaeus, he ends up obligated to help Asmira in her quest. There are plenty of laughs provided by the djinni's droll asides while the action maintains a steady pace. Bartimaeus entertains by taking the form of a tutu-wearing pygmy hippo (with a strong and unfortunate resemblance to one of Solomon's wives), a pot-bellied imp, and a limpid-eyed youth. British actor Simon Jones's narration is marvelous. He clearly revels in Bartimaeus's plummy dialogue, yet can do a very convincing accent to indicate the coarseness or wickedness of other characters. His wonderful sense of timing gives listeners the opportunity to fully revel in the richly rendered adventure. This title will surely create new fans and is highly recommended for those who are already familiar with Bartimaeus.--B. Allison Gray, Santa Barbara Public Library System, CA [Page 78]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
School Library Journal Reviews 2010 December
Gr 6 Up--Fans of Stroud's "Bartimaeus Trilogy" (Hyperion) will cheer the return of the sarcastic, chatty, and mischievous djinni in this prequel. Or perhaps this should be termed a pre-pre-prequel as the setting is an alternate version of biblical times during the reign of King Solomon, where magicians command djinni and Solomon rides herd over the known world due to his possession of an all-powerful ring that causes everyone to cower before him. The Queen of Sheba, aware that Solomon is preparing to disrupt her country's frankincense trade due to her refusal of his multiple marriage proposals, sends her most trusted guard, Asmira, to kill Solomon and steal the ring. Meanwhile, Bartimaeus has been humiliated because of his misbehavior and forced to work for Solomon's henchman, Khaba, on his new temple. After an amusing incident in which Bartimaeus is caught in the form of a hippo while illegally using magic to lay stones for Solomon's temple, he is sent to hunt other creatures who are disrupting trade routes. He encounters Asmira, traveling to Jerusalem under an assumed identity to accomplish her mission. How Bartimaeus ends up as her servant, and what they discover about the truth of Solomon's power, makes this a delightful and fascinating book, and it's likely to bring new fans to the original series. Bartimaeus is a wonderful creation, with his constant storytelling digressions delivered in the form of footnotes. But the new character, Asmira, is equally well rendered, with her keen ability with daggers providing her with much-needed self-defense. Definitely a must-purchase for most libraries.--Tim Wadham, St. Louis County Library, MO [Page 129]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
VOYA Reviews 2011 February
Jonathan Stroud's latest fantasy novel is a stand-alone prequel to his Bartimaeus Trilogy (The Amulet of Samarkand [Hyperion, 2003/VOYA December 2003], The Golem's Eye [Hyperion, 2004/VOYA October 2004], and Ptolemy's Gate [Hyperion, 2006/VOYA February 2006]). In 950 B.C.E., King Solomon's magicians summon demons to build roads, fight battles, and do their bidding. Readers will be filled with schadenfreude as the spirits fight back and heads roll, eyes are gouged out, and enemies are vaporized and incinerated. Fearing the destruction of Sheba after rejecting Solomon's third marriage offer, Queen Balkis sends her Guard Captain, the brave and beautiful Asmira, to Jerusalem to assassinate Solomon and steal his powerful Ring. The cheeky djinni Bartimaeus is initially summoned by Khaba, Solomon's evil magician obsessed with obtaining the Ring, but is later freed and recruited by Asmira. An uneasy alliance is formed between Bartimaeus and Asmira, and a mighty quest ensues Who would not like to fly, cast people into Voids, fire a Convulsion, release a Flux, or dwell in multiple dimensions? Humans, unfortunately, along with fleas, tapeworms, and dust mites, dwell in only the first plane, have no magic powers, and have to rely on learned magicians to summon powerful spirits. This is a cinematic, humorous, and action-packed book with a complex plot, rich characterization, and sophisticated vocabulary. Stroud's novel paints a vivid picture of the ancient world, inspiring readers to learn more about the places, characters, and events it depicts from religion, mythology, and history.--Christina Miller. 4Q 4P S Copyright 2011 Voya Reviews.