This book has been on my to-read list for 8 years now. That’s nuts! Almost a whole decade before I finally got around to reading it. And the final verdict? The Amulet of Samarkand was okay.
Oh, you want more than that? Fiiiine, I guess I can elaborate.
This is the first book in The Bartimaeus Trilogy, a trilogy that my friend has been recommending to me for years as one of the best kid’s fantasy series ever. (This is probably for the 10 and up range, I would think…) It’s about Nathaniel, a magician’s apprentice who is brutally embarrassed one day by a well-known magician named Simon Lovelace. Nathaniel dedicates himself to his studies, and finally launches his plan for revenge when he decides to call up a five-thousand-year-old djinni named Bartimaeus to assist him. But Bartimaeus is harder to control than he would have thought, and attacking Lovelace gets Nathaniel sucked into a world of rebellion, evil murderous plans, and danger.
All very good, right? And it overall was a pretty interesting storyline, except for that me it got a bit dull sometimes. I can’t picture a young kid reading this book to really understand or be into the politics involved in this magical world.
Nathaniel wasn’t a main character I could totally get behind. He was intelligent and daring, and I definitely sympathized with his plight. But he was also completely arrogant and snotty sometimes, and that made him a little less likable. That being said, Lovelace was a bad guy you couldn’t help but hate and he had some truly evil things up his sleeves, so you cheer for Nathaniel to triumph no matter what.
Bartimaeus and the world of magic and djinnis, imps, and more were definitely the best parts of the book. Bartimaeus himself was snarky and stubborn and cruel, but he did it all with such flair and humor that he was a total delight. If I decide to read the other books, it will be just for him. Bartimaeus was just a really fun character with a razor tongue, and I like that.
Sarah Says: 3 stars