The Ring of Solomon, by Jonathan Stroud

Okay, so, we’ve already established that I heart Bartimaeus. I find him delightful and wonderful and lovely and all sorts of other good adjectives. But it turns out that I like him a heck of a lot more when compared to lesser beings rather than when he’s just being awesome all the time. It’s kind of like how you can’t wait for summer to come and be warm all the time, until summer gets there and you’re sweltering and envisioning snowball fights.

So, yeah. This is, I guess, the fourth Bartimaeus book, though it’s not directly related to the other three except for its protagonist. This one takes place in the time of Solomon, who is the boss of a magician who is the boss of Bartimaeus. Bartimaeus is all collecting ice and stuff until such point as he meets a wannabe assassin called Asmira, whom he rescues and convinces to convince his boss to free him. Well, the boss “frees” him into a bottle where he’s meant to stay trapped, but then Asmira summons him up all magician-like and then instead of letting him be free she coerces him to help her kill Solomon.

The plot is definitely excellent, with the intrigue and the subterfuge and the awesome. But while I enjoyed Bartimaeus and his trickery, I couldn’t have cared less about Asmira, who is quite possibly dumber than Nathaniel and not nearly as entertaining when bad things happen to her, because who cares?

On the plus side, I’m still also in heart with the narrator, Simon Jones, and his soothing voice got me through several hours of stickers and data entry. So… yeah. It’s a fun read, even if you haven’t read the other books, but I wouldn’t say it’s as good as the trilogy proper. So go read that instead.

Recommendation: For fans of fantastical swashbuckling, and of Bartimaeus.

Rating: 7/10
(A to Z Challenge, What’s in a Name Challenge)