creative [kree-ey-tiv]: adjective. Synonyms: clever, cool, innovative, inspired, prolific, stimulating.

criticism [krit-uh-siz-uhm]: noun. The act of passing judgment as to the merits of anything.

31 Dec 2010

The Ring of Solomon - Jonathan Stroud

This Bartimaeus Novel (as is clearly written on the top of the cover - come on people, open your eyes! And seeeeee!) has two main protagonists. One is Asmira, one of the best guards of the Queen of Sheba (and by the way, did you know that all of her personal guards are (1) born into the role and (2) women? But hey, that's slavery and a matrilineal society for you!); she has a two-week deadline to travel all across the Arabian peninsula to Jerusalem, where she must kill the king Solomon and take his ring of legendary magical power. All under the orders of her queen, and kicking ass and taking names all quest long.
I'll let you guess who our second protagonist is. Come on, don't be shy, I'll give you some hints: he's just the most conceited, cheekiest and wittiest djinn whose first-person narration I've had the pleasure of reading this past year.
In any case, this novel takes place far to the southeast and far before the events of Bartimaeus's Trilogy; in fact, it takes place before Bartimaeus even met Ptolemy. So that was a long time ago indeed.
As far as the prose goes, it's a bit more stately paced and not quite as crackling as the narration of the Trilogy went; but that actually really helps to remind the reader that the events took place a LONG time ago. Because old literature is always at a glacial pace and full of descriptions, you know? This novel at least doesn't take it to the same level as that, though, and it's a very fun read indeed.

Oh, and guys? I lifted the cover picture from this, which is a much better review of this book. It even uses a "something on/out of something else" rating system, which is slightly more straightforward than my system of "enjoyable, boring, annoying, okay, twist, unfinished and wtf", no?

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