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The Amulet of Samarkand

Friday, July 14, 2006

The Amulet of Samarkand The Bartimaeus Trilogy (2003) Jonathan Stroud

Bartimaeus is a djinni who has been around for thousands of years. He even spent time in Ancient Egypt, a culture that he seems to have some slight fondness for. However, when he’s called this time, his Master is an eleven year old apprentice with revenge on his mind.

I loved how this story was primarily written from the point of view of Bartimaeus. Although this book is for children/young adults, Nathaniel, the boy, is the secondary character, and our initial image of him is less than flattering, as we’re seeing it through Bartimaeus’s eyes.

This switch in the expected point of view set the tone for the book. The humans–or at least the human magicians–aren’t very impressive, and so Bartimaeus becomes the sympathetic figure–and he’s not necessarily that sympathetic (especially when it comes to his opinion of humans.)

This book was a lot of fun to read. Bartimaeus is an interesting characters, and although he doesn’t have a very high opinion of humans (with good reason) you quickly see why he doesn’t care much for humans. After all, being enslaved and forced to do another’s bidding would hardly make you think well of a group.

Although this is a young adult book, the writing doesn’t feel like a children’s book–in fact the only thing that feels like a kids’ book is the fact that Nathaniel is eleven years old–so adults should enjoy this book, despite it’s young adult/child classification.

I have to say that one of the advantages of shopping on-line is that I get recommendations for books that I normally wouldn’t notice because I never go into the young adult/kid’s section of the book store. I don’t think I would have picked up this book in a bookstore–most likely I wouldn’t have come across it. (I don’t care much for the kid’s section, because there are kids there.)

If you like fantasy, then I highly recommend The Amulet of Samarkand. I’ve already ordered the second book in the series, and can’t wait to read it.
Rating: 8/10

Categories: Fantasy, Kids, Paper, Young Adult
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