Ptolemy’s Gate is the witty, clever and moving conclusion to Jonathan Stroud’s Bartimaeus Trilogy. It is a book that does full justice to a wonderful series of fantasy books by bringing it to poignant closure. First published in 2005, this book is preceded by The Amulet of Samarkand and The Golem’s Eye.
As we open Ptolemy’s Gate we find that the magicians' rule in London is teetering on a knife-edge, with strikes, riots and general unrest. The Prime Minister is largely controlled by two advisers, one of whom is 17-year-old Nathaniel. Meanwhile, living under a false identity, Kitty has been researching djinn; she has come to believe that the only way to destroy the magicians is with an alliance between djinn and ordinary people. Kitty seeks out Bartimaeus and embarks on a terrifying journey into the djinn's chaotic domain – the Other Place – which no human being has ever survived.
Ptolemy’s is the best of all three books in trilogy, and this is quite some achievement considering how good the previous two are. By nature it is a darker, more mature book but the ever disparaging Bartimaeus as always provides plenty of humour, but this time around it is often tinged with sadness. This is a book about equality as both the human, non-magician “commoners” and the djinn are basically nothing more than useful objects to the magicians and they find a common goal in a common foe as they fight for equal rights. The glimpse into the Other Place, where the djinn live and are summoned from, offers even richer texture and offers a wonderful insight into djinn lives.
The Bartimaeus Trilogy is one of the finest trilogies found in the fantasy genre. Although often classed as young-adult fantasy there is no upper-age limit for books this good, all ages will enjoy it. This sublime mix of alternate history and magical fantasy features magnificent characterisation and dialogue; it is always funny and often hilarious. Ptolemy’s Gate’s perfect ending will move many to tears. We highly recommend.
Review by Floresiensis
9.7/10 from 1 reviews
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