Why aren't we talking about the Bartimaeus Trilogy more?
Like, this book series is amazing. First of all it stars a sarcastic djinn and his misadventures with a young boy wizard who isn’t painted as this perfect kind hero. Nathaniel isn’t a sugar coated chosen one. He’s a flawed boy who makes selfish choices and who ultimately has to learn how to overcome his own selfish ambition. His talent gets him into more trouble than not, and it’s refreshing to see this change in YA lit.
Secondly, the books are totally about class revolution as the trilogy centers around magicians being the top elite 1% as they use their magic to control the populace and wage wars with other nations (America included). As the stories unfold we learn to question who are and who are not the actual heroes of the trilogy as we learn more about the government and the resistance fighting back.
Thirdly, the books are set in this unique alternate history where a lot of our real world events happened, but things have been drastically affected by magic. For instance, the American Revolution never properly took place as the British had demons and magic to fight the rebellion. Additionally, the Native Americans had their own magic and summons, so colonists were never able to get further than the East coast, so most of what we hear about America in the trilogy is about guerilla warfare being fought in the Appalachian mountains.
Fourthly, the books address that adults and guardians aren’t necessarily good. It flips the trope of the wise magician mentor trope on its head, and it presents a pretty frustrating, if not more realistic, representation of power struggles between the government and the people, masters and apprentices, parental figures and wards, and magicians and demons.
Fifthly, and most importantly, Bartimaeus’ footnotes and quips are legendary. Bartimaeus may be a djinn bound to serve whoever summons him, but he does not give in or fawn over his masters. He has more salt than a winter road, and he is eager to season everything with it.
So yeah, if you like shape shifting snarky demons, reimagined histories, and revolution against oppressors (that is not told in the typical dystopian sort of way) then the Bartimaeus Trilogy is for you.
Things Confirmed By Jonathan Stroud When I Met Him At A Signing
• He had an alternate ending where Nathaniel lived but it didn’t feel fitting to the story (as much as it hurts I do agree)
• Bartimaeus does assume Nathaniel’s form in the future sometimes
• He did write bits of what happened to Kitty afterwards but not enough to publish a whole book
• Bartimaeus’ favorite form is Ptolemy
• In the end, Nathaniel is elevated from an anti-hero to a hero
• *this one bROke me* what Bart wanted to say in the very end is that he’s grown to love Nathaniel
• Stroud literally said that they loved each other
• don’t look at me
Yo I’m looking for book recs. Anything that would be clumped together with the following books:
- Percy Jackson
- Skulduggery Pleasant
- Bartimaeus Trilogy
- Lockwood & Co
- Artemis Fowl
There’s a certain type of similarity these books have in their audience and appeal, though I can’t quite identify what that is. But if anyone has suggestions for other books in this kind of cluster of books, I’d appreciate the recommendation.
“Believe me, I know all about bottle acoustics. I spent much of the sixth century in an old sesame oil jar, corked with wax, bobbing about in the Red Sea. No one heard my hollers. In the end an old fisherman set me free, by which time I was desperate enough to grant him several wishes. I erupted in the form of a smoking giant, did a few lightning bolts, and bent to ask him his desire. Poor old boy had dropped dead of a heart attack. There should be a moral there, but for the life of me I can’t see one.”
Honestly one of my favorite book series ever written, we don’t talk nearly enough about it.
So I always thought Lockwood was supposed to be the equivalent of Nathaniel. In my head, they look a lot alike. Both are orphans, and both are male characters. It made sense that Lockwood was supposed to be Nat’s parallel.
But while rereading book one of Lockwood and Co, I realized that wasn’t actually the case. The one who is supposed to be Nathaniel is someone I never expected.
Let’s start by going back to Nathaniel’s childhood. We know his parents gave him up to the magicians just to get money. We know that he didn’t necessarily hate Mr. Underwood up until a certain point in time. When Mr. Underwood betrays him by not standing up to Lovelace, he dies in Nathaniel’s eyes.
Nathaniel begins to go down his own path, becoming independent from his teacher and eventually getting to a point where he summons Bartimaeus - despite not even being supposed to summon spirits, according to Mr. Underwood’s way of teaching him. Mr. Underwood underestimated his abilities.
He then becomes extremely close to Bartimaeus over the course of the book series.
Now let’s go to Lucy’s past.
Lucy is quick to tell us that her father is dead and that her mother was happy when Lucy was able to bring home money from her job. She wasn’t proud of her daughter - she just wanted Lucy’s paycheck. Lucy doesn’t hate her supervisor, Jacobs. She acknowledges his faults. It’s when he doesn’t do anything and her fellow agents die that he dies in Lucy’s eyes. She never gets to a point of hating him, but she certainly doesn’t like him. And, like with Mr. Underwood, Jacobs underestimated Lucy’s abilities. She knew something was wrong, but he didn’t believe her.
Lucy then becomes more independent than before, seeking her own path even though she’s still not completely ready because she hasn’t completed the final bit of her training. She eventually winds up at Lockwood and Co.
It’s here that Lucy meets and befriends the skull in the jar, who, as a lot of people have picked up, is a ghost version of Bartimaeus. And, over the course of the books, Lucy becomes very close to the skull.
Nat continued to draw after the whole mess with the Amulet of Samarkand.
Bartimaeus sometimes draws dicks on the margins of Nat’s sketchbook because he’s a little shit.
Ptolemy either sleeps for 2 days straight or not at all because there’s SCIENCE to be done and INTERDIMENTIONAL PORTALS to figure out how to open.
Kitty and Asmira would be BEST FRIENDS.
Balkis is a lesbian and that’s one of the reasons why she wouldn’t accept Solomon’s numerous proposals.
Asmira is asexual.
Faquarl and Bartimaeus would get a huge kick out of Cards Against Humanity.
Jabor has very keen sight. However, this only shows when you throw something in his direction and he perks up like a dog.
Ascobol’s cyclops guise wears winged eyeliner. The way he wings it depends on his mood.
Nat sleeps like a vampire, the edgelord.
Kitty sleeps on her side, curled up with her back against a wall.
She’s also a very light sleeper.
Solomon is a HUGE dog person. Seriously. He ADORES dogs. So much.
Khaba is left-handed. (This spawned from an old belief that left-handed people are evil and will go to hell. Because reasons.)
Ammet’s true/7th plane form resembles that of a sea serpent/leviathan, only with several additional pairs of limbs, some tentacles, two pairs of glowing red eyes and scales so black that they almost seem to absorb the light around them.
Ammet was actually first summoned in very, very ancient Egypt. This is one of several reasons why he’s rather fond of it.
Simon Lovelace really likes ice sculptures. And I mean REALLY.
Makepeace is Hamilton trash but refuses to admit it.
I like to think that Faquarl would be into Doctor Who.
Bartimaeus would probably watch history documentaries only to poke fun at the inaccuracies.
Kitty is actually a cat person.
Modern AU!Solomon likes “Lord of the Rings” both unironically and because he gets to call Uraziel that, much to the latter’s exasperation.
Sometimes I am just struck by how incredibly old Bartimaeus is. In RoS, Solomon says that two thousand years makes him a particularly ancient spirit. Imagine how much more that must be true at five thousand years? After all, he considered Queezle at 1500 years to be fresh and youthful.
With the death of Faquarl, it’s not even impossible to imagine that Bartimaeus might be the single most experienced spirit still in existence. After all, unlike higher spirits (who might have survived longer) Bartimaeus gets summoned fairly often, and unlike lower spirits (who would be summoned more easily) he has a tendency to survive most difficulties.
It must be weird for Bartimaeus, in particular, to see the other spirits grow younger and younger through the centuries, as the old ones die and new ones are summoned. To go from being a new spirit in times when civilization was young, to being one of the truly ancient spirits.