The Golem's Eye (The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Book 2)



Bartimaeus returns -- alas, not to center stage.
Popular with kids

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The main character, and pretty much everyone else, behave selfishly, unscrupulously, deviously, and dishonestly. The only relatively good character lies and steals.


Lots of fantasy violence, including quite a few deaths, involving all sorts of magical creatures, monsters, and devices.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Pipes, cigarettes, and alcohol all mentioned.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this book is full of amoral and immoral characters. There's only one semi-admirable character, but most readers won't be rooting for her to succeed.

What's the story?

Nathaniel, the main human character (though certainly not the hero) of the first book, is now the youngest junior minister ever in the government of an alternative British Empire run by magicians. To him falls the job of dealing with the increasingly annoying anti-magician resistance movement. When the destruction grows in scale, no one will believe Nathaniel that it's unrelated to the resistance, that it is in fact the work of a golem, controlled by a traitor in the government. So he summons Bartimaeus, as snide and reluctant as ever, and travels to Prague to find the secret of the golem.

Meanwhile Kitty, a member of the commoner resistance introduced briefly in the first book, is part of a group planning to raid Gladstone's tomb for artifacts of great power. Both her plans and Nathaniel's go badly wrong, setting the stage for a climactic confrontation with the golem.

Is it any good?


The good news is that Bartimaeus is back; the bad news is that there's not enough of him. What made the first book in this series a standout was his sarcastic commentary, self-aggrandizing descriptions, witty banter, and delightful footnotes detailing the workings of magic and demons in this alternative world. They're all still here, just less of them.

Meanwhile Nathaniel and Kitty alternately take center stage in a complex and often exciting, if too loosely edited, adventure involving, among many other things, grave-robbing, a demon living in Gladstone's bones, political intrigue, war, werewolf police, destruction, and a shadowy figure who seems to be playing all sides like puppets. Nathaniel, one of the least likeable main characters in children's literature, continues to fascinate and frustrate the reader with his growing power -- and obtuseness. The stage is clearly set for a grand finale in Book 3, presumably including Nathaniel's reclamation.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the characters' morality. Do you like any of them? Why? How have your opinions of them changed?

Book details

Author:Jonathan Stroud
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Hyperion Books for Children
Publication date:September 12, 2004
Number of pages:556
Publisher's recommended age(s):10 - 14

This review of The Golem's Eye (The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Book 2) was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Kid, 12 years old September 21, 2009

An Amazing Series But For More Tween Readers

This series centers around three characters: Kitty, Nathaniel, and Bartimaeus. The book is kind of like Harry Potter, only in my opinion, better. The moral values taught in the books are unforgettable. It tells of redemption and friendship. The only reason I say iffy is because if you aren't old enough to understand the books, then the moral values can and probably will be confused. For those who say the book is annapropriate and has nothing good about, you should finish the series and read 'Ptolemy's Gate'.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 15 years old Written bySchismatic-Sha August 24, 2009

Just a great book in general.

I think this site puts too much empathsis on the small matters in the book. Sure the demon is a bit cheeky, the boy isnt that great, and the girl is part of a group determined to take down the 'evil' government. But do you really think kids care? No, they just want to see their favorite characters suceed. I personally think this book isnt an issue for kids. Though the chacters are iffy, they still provide the entertainment every teen, tween, and possibly even adult will enjoy.
Teen, 15 years old Written byski123 April 9, 2008


this trilogy is awesome!!! Everyone 8 years old and up should read this book.


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Star Wars Guide