Ptolemy's Gate by Jonathan Stroud

Image from Goodreads
Summary from Amazon:

Three years after the events of The Golem`s Eye, the young magician Nathaniel is an established member of the British Government. But he faces unprecedented problems: foreign wars are going badly and Britain`s enemies are mounting attacks close to London. Increasingly distracted, he is treating Bartimaeus worse than ever: the long-suffering djinni is growing weak from too much time in this world, and his patience is at an end. Meanwhile, undercover in London, Kitty has been stealthily completing her research into magic and Bartimaeus` past. She hopes to break the endless cycle of conflict between djinn and humans - but will she be able to get anyone to listen? Before any of these problems can be resolved, disaster strikes London from an unexpected source and the destinies of Bartimaeus, Nathaniel, and Kitty are thrown together once more. They have to face treacherous magicians, a long-fermented conspiracy, and an enemy from `The Other Place` that threatens London and the world. Worst of all, they must somehow cope with each other.... Bartimaeus fans will be entranced by Stroud`s brilliantly conceived finale to the series - sure to be a major best seller.

Okay. It is now official. I love love this series. The third installment did not disappoint. This will definitely be one if my best fantasy reads.

I adore the characters created by Stroud, I found them interesting and real enough to believe. I have mentioned in my review of The Golem's Eye, Stroud's ability to convey Nathaniel's potential to be good. In this book, Nathaniel experienced this inner struggle even more, sort of like a split personality. He could never quite make a complete crossover to the dark side, i.e. be utterly despicable like most of his fellow magicians nor take the path of righteousness and be a moral and conscientious magician. He did finally took a side. As to which that is, I'll leave it to you to discover.

Bartimaeus' character is also explored much deeper here. His back story is narrated at length than in any of the three books. Particularly his life when he was in service to Ptolemy, the master that he favors the most. I got to understand him better here because it revealed another side of him, a more human side. 

Kitty also underwent major changes. She is now more calculating and wise. Her actions are no longer spontaneous but well thought of and planned. But she still remains to be as tough and brave as ever. She played a major part in bringing Nathaniel and Bartimaeus' to understand each other. And possibly spurring the beginning of a better relationship between the magicians and commoners.

The plot of the story explored the strained magician-spirit/demon relationship and not only that of the strained magician-commoner relationship. This presented an exciting story what with the magician's in the Parliament having their hands full of commoner revolts and overseas wars and suddenly they are taken by surprise when...okay I have to stop myself right there. I want this to be as spoiler free as possible. :) Anyway, much of the story leads to the bridging of gaps created by the magicians between their fellow humans on earth and that of their servants existing in the Other World. it is also important to note that this time, we get to have a glimpse of the latter.

And just as the first two books, this is one is still filled with suspense, mystery, magic, and politics but there's also a lot of "soft stuff" like love and selflessness, and kindness. Most often masked under Bartimaues' sarcasm, Kitty's defiance, and Nathaniel's ego.

I always feel quite sad after reading the last installment in a series and this one is not an exception. Sigh. The ending was especially heartbreaking. Sob! I'm going to miss Bartimaeus, Nathaniel, and Kitty and the amazing world Jonathan Stroud built on paper. But then again, there's still a Ring of Solomon right? :D

Ptolemy's Gate is the recipient of the 2006 Cybil Award for Fantasy and Science Fiction as well as the 2006 CORINE International Book Award, Youth Book category. This is my 6th entry for The Award Winning Books Reading Challenge hosted by Gathering Books.


  1. Glad you loved the series! Have you heard of the companion novel - The Ring of Solomon? Bartimaeus is in it and it's set hundreds of years before this series.

    1. Hi Chachic! Yup, I know about The Ring of Solomon so I'm quite happy that I'll still get to read about Bartimaeus. I'm going to miss Nathaniel and Kitty though.:)

  2. Hi there Tin. Your review of this series brings back a lot of nice memories. I borrowed the entire series from a former student of mine who absolutely loved it. And I did too. One of the reasons why we also started a book blog onceuponatime. :)

    1. Hi Myra! After reading the trilogy, I had a why-did-I-only-picked-this-one-up-now moment. I was a little late but better late than never they say. :D Have you read companion novel that Chachic mentioned in her comment? It's called The Ring of Solomon. :)


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