The Amulet of Samarkand (The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Book #1)

by Jonathan Stroud

Paperback, 2004



Call number

PB Str

Call number

PB Str

Local notes

PB Str




Disney-Hyperion (2004), Edition: Reprint, 462 pages


Nathaniel, a magician's apprentice, summons up the djinni Bartimaeus and instructs him to steal the Amulet of Samarkand from the powerful magician Simon Lovelace.



Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

462 p.; 5.25 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member Lman
I want a djinni like Bartimaeus!
Though on second thoughts, it might not be so easy, nor much fun, dealing with a tetchy 5000-year-old magical entity, even if the power is intoxicating, the conversations enlightening, and never a dull moment guaranteed. Nathaniel, the raw, inexperienced apprentice,
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responsible for such a summoning, learns this, perhaps too well, in the first book of this wonderful fantasy series.

The Amulet of Samarkand is set in a parallel London, with the government, and consequently the nation, ruled by an elite force of magicians, whose power and greatness is directly related to the power and strength of the magical beings they are capable of summoning, and therefore controlling. Potential magicians are removed from their families at an early age and, under the direction of their appointed master, begin a rather harsh indoctrination into the rigours of their profession. Nathaniel becomes an apprentice-magician, at age five, to a somewhat odious and ineffectual middle-ranking magician, who fails this basic relationship one day and thus sets in motion a quite spectacular chain of events – beginning with Nathaniel secretly summoning the powerful djinni, Bartimaeus, in order to exact a poorly considered, but eventually momentous, revenge on all those who have caused him injury.

I consider this book a brilliant piece of writing - in so many ways. Jonathan Stroud delivers an innovative story-line by oscillating, with clever regularity, between Nathaniel’s perception of events and the standpoint of the djinni; often with such rapidity, and so ingeniously, it is quite breathtaking. The resultant juxtapositions and, at various times, greatly contrasting viewpoints, provide an oft-times uproarious, utterly delightful, but highly satirical perspective of this world; aimed pointedly at the society of our day. The tour de force of the text, however, resides in the persona the author crafts onto the fractious and petulant Bartimaeus, a magical demonic essence of at least the fourth level; whose personality, attitude and aptitude are eloquently evoked in the superb scatter, throughout the book, of first-person djinni footnotes:

“ My mind works on several levels at once.¹

¹ Several conscious levels, that is. By and large, humans can only manage one conscious level, with a couple of more or less unconscious ones muddling along underneath. Think of it this way: I could read a book with four different stories typed one on top of the other, and take them all in with the same sweep of my eyes. The best I can do for you is footnotes.” (p.225)

And with these helpful, hilarious asides, the author conveys, with stunning simplicity, the crux of the matter, the premise of the story, the divisions of magical hierarchy, both human and djinn, and provides a sound basis, plus explanations, for all the resultant chaos; thus producing an entertaining, bitingly-witty, singular piece of work.

Although quite dark in aspects, this is an enthralling original story, with a satisfying conclusion to an inspired concept, while tantalisingly leaving many plot threads hanging; intimating there is much more of this tale to tell. I eagerly anticipate the next summoning, and the future exploits, of this most cantankerous individual and his erstwhile master.
I don’t need a footnote for that!
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LibraryThing member atimco
Uncle Screwtape, meet Artemis Fowl; Artemis, Uncle Screwtape. Who knew that you could team up to create such a unique and entertaining fantasy series?

The Amulet of Samarkand is the first installment in Jonathan Stroud's Bartimaeus Trilogy, a fantasy series set loosely in our current day. But in
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this alternative-history England, the British empire is governed by a ruling class of magicians, and their power comes from magical beings whom they summon and control. The magicians themselves have no inherent magical ability besides their (carefully guarded) knowledge, training, and willingness to use others for their own benefit. The non-magicians are known as commoners and they undertake the drudge work of England's empire.

This story follows a young boy, Nathaniel, who is apprenticed to the magician Mr. Underwood. One day Underwood introduces the 11-year-old boy to some older magicians, who seek to embarrass Nathaniel. Nathaniel lashes back and is humiliated by one of the magicians, Simon Lovelace, while Underwood stands by. In that moment Nathaniel starts plotting his revenge. Several years later, he secretly performs his first summoning of the djinni Bartimaeus, commanding him to steal Lovelace's most powerful amulet. This plunges Nathaniel and his unwilling servant into a complicated political plot that could end in their deaths — or worse. Nathaniel must learn the lessons of power quickly in order to survive.

The characters are so varied and interesting; there are no clear-cut good guys and yet you can't help but root for the flawed characters Stroud depicts. Though there are five distinct orders of magical beings (from most powerful to least: marids, afrits, djinnis, foliots, and imps), magicians call all of them "demons." The magical beings are cynical and hateful from years of being forced to do unethical things (if they don't obey their human masters, they suffer excruciating pain and even death). It's all about survival in their world, where it isn't uncommon for one magical being to ingest another of a lower order than itself. Bartimaeus is about 5,000 years old by now; he's been around the block. He's cocky, irreverent, sarcastic, selfish — and very, very funny. Nathaniel is young but quickly learning the ruthlessness of his kind, and their partnership is not one of friendship or trust. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Some chapters are narrated by Bartimaeus and the rest are told in the third person and focus on Nathaniel. Bartimaeus's chapters are sprinkled liberally with footnotes that give insight on the history of magic and/or show the djinni preening himself on his cleverness or power. It's all quite fun.

Though I joke about it being a hybrid of Screwtape and Artemis Fowl, the Bartimaeus Trilogy has a flavor all its own. There are certainly concepts from other works, but the way that Stroud combines a pragmatic worldview with the practice of magic results in a darkness different from the unalloyed evil of Death Eaters or other fantasy villains. Half the story is narrated by a mischievous smart-aleck demon, and the other half shows a young magician learning to crush his moral impulses and master his servant. Nathaniel's definitely no Harry Potter. And yet there is a redemptive theme amidst all the realism, something true at the core of the book. Despite their flaws there is something compelling about the characters, and I found myself really caring what happened to them.

It's been awhile since I've enjoyed a young adult fantasy series so much. Because of Stroud's particular brand of practical villainy, I'd recommend it for older teens and adults rather than the younger crowd. I can definitely see myself rereading this series — high praise from me.
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LibraryThing member spiphany
Clever and refreshing. The story is set in an alternate London ruled by magicians who get their power by summoning various types of demons. The world is well-conceived and developed, and the story is built around it; the setting isn't just an interesting backdrop. Stroud shows us some of the darker
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aspects of a world ruled by magicians - the power struggles, the ruthlessness, revenge and betrayals. There are hints of a resistance movement among the non-magical humans.

The novel is narrated, for the most part, by none other than Bartimaeus - the djinni summoned by young apprentice-magician Nathaniel to steal the Amulet of Samarkand from a man who humiliated him. And this is what makes the book so wonderful: Bartimaeus. Although forced to obey his human master, Bartimaeus is not in the least subdued, and he narrates the story with a wry, cynical humor which is delightful. In the midst of his attempts to get the better of Nathaniel - which take the form of a battle of wits, never malicious or cruel, although often condescending - he adds little, amusing asides in the form of footnotes. His voice dominates the narrative and transforms it from an interesting story to an exceptional one. The sections narrated in third person, while they lack the wit of the Bartimaeus sections, are well-written and consistent enough in style that switching narrators doesn't disturb the flow too much.

There are, of course, the inevitable Harry Potter comparisons. It's really not that similar; the world that Stroud creates is very different from Rowling's, although there are a number of elements in both books which would appeal to the same readers. Stroud puts much more thought into the background of his story, and shows more skill as a writer. I wasn't bothered by the inconsistencies in the use of magic in the Harry Potter books until I read this, which made me realize how much better they could be. Stroud creates in Nathaniel a protagonist who's certainly more difficult to identify with than Harry; like many of the other magicians in the book, he sometimes seems to be more motivated by ambition than any other reasons. And we don't always get a very strong sense of his personality. This could be a turn-off for some readers, but the book has enough else to offer that it isn't too much of a flaw.
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LibraryThing member theokester
When I read the synopsis for The Amulet of Samarkand, I was largely expecting another Harry Potter clone or something of the same general ilk. Within the first couple of chapters, I was pleasantly surprised to find that this book has plenty of unique qualities that set it apart from the current
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kids fantasy books I've read lately.

One of the first things I came to enjoy was the overall tone of the writing. The author has broken the story out into two main categories and alternates between them….The categories are the point of view and voice. One segment will be from the point of view of Bartimeus, the very old, very talented, and very sarcastic djinn who has been summoned for what he suspects will be a menial task of an underage magician. The other segment is from the point of view of that underage magician, Nathaniel, who is young, somewhat naive as to the way things work in his society, and very passionate.

The alternating voices provide an engaging counterbalance in the story and also add tension and intrigue as we, the readers, learn things from one narrator that will potentially affect the other narrator who is currently "off stage."

The storyline is engaging as well. It takes place in a (presumably) contemporary England in which magic users are a sort of elite class. Unlike the Harry Potter world, magicians are not hiding from the non-magic-users. Instead, they are integrated into commerce, politics and other elements of society. There is a definite distinction between magic-users and non-magic-users, but the distinction is one of class and power rather than one of secrecy.

While the book/trilogy is named after Bartimaeus, the plot revolves around Nathaniel and the various events during his apprenticeship. He is apprenticed to a fairly inept and almost non-present master. Nathaniel has good teachers and a strong passion to learn, so he actually engages in his own self-paced learning by sneaking into his master's books and devouring all the knowledge he can.

At first this extra knowledge/talent looks like it will be a great boon for him when he is first introduced to other magicians. But after being put down, he seeks revenge through a fairly small prank for which he is punished. This punishment in turn increases his desire for revenge, and the downward spiral continues out of control (enter Bartimaeus, the Amulet from the title, murder, political intrigue, and more trouble than Nathaniel bargains for).

The writing style is smooth and easy to follow. I especially liked the Bartimaeus segments for his snarky voice and hilarious footnotes. The plot is interesting and flowed nicely, revealing the nuances and tension bit by bit until the powder keg is ready to explode.

I really enjoyed this new take on the children/youth fantasy market. I am curious to see the direction the rest of the trilogy takes. I suspect it will be just as entertaining.

4 out of 5 stars
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LibraryThing member davidpwhelan
Brilliant writing introducing interesting characters and a new twist on the boy magician story line. Stroud's tale is gripping and his style is reminiscent of Philip Pullman. I couldn't put the Amulet down until I found out how Stroud brought the many twists and turns to a close. Excellent for
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strong readers from 10 and up.
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LibraryThing member xicanti
Nathaniel, a magician's apprentice living in an alternate London, summons a sharp-tongued djinni as part of a revenge plot and finds himself in over his head.

I really got a big kick out of this book! It opened with a bang, and my attention never wavered as the plot raced through to its
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conclusion. It's a longer read, as children's novels go, but it flew by. The story is very nicely presented; Bartimaeus's first person narration contrasts with Nathaniel's third person POV to give us two (often very different) sides of the story. Nathaniel's segments provide us with the background information we need, while Bartimaeus's serve as a commentary on events… complete with footnotes. I especially liked the places where the two perspectives differed, and many of Bartimaeus's comments were just hilarious.

But in spite of the humour and fun, this is a darker sort of children's book. Stroud never writes down to his readers; he treats them as capable of dealing with whatever he throws at them. And he throws quite a bit; there's a lot of really interesting stuff on power, governmental responsibility, and personal accountability. The dual perspectives also raise questions as to how reliable narrators are, as a general rule. Nathaniel is plainly biased towards the magicians, and there are places where Bartimaeus has evidently exaggerated things to inflate his own importance. When perspectives differ, who should we believe? How should we relate to the story?

All in all, this was exactly the sort of book I like: fun, inventive, hilarious, dark, deep and thought-provoking, with a spectacularly entertaining, (if not altogether reliable), narrator in Bartimaeus. Highly recommend to people of all ages.
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LibraryThing member Stewartry
I picked this up in paperback eons ago at some sale or other, and it has been kicking around my room ever since; it lived next to my bed for quite a while, but I seem to have finally put it away … somewhere … Happily, I decided to give it a try through Netgalley, and I was very happy that I
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did. It's smashing.

The point of view alternates between first person not-necessarily-reliable with the demon/djinn Bartimeus, and third person with the young wizard's apprentice Nathaniel. It works beautifully. Nathaniel precociously summons Bartimeus despite his youth and iffy training, and sets off his plot of vengeance against a wizard who humiliated him some months before – and also sets off a chain of events he could never have foreseen. He's sheltered, is Nathaniel; on a day-to-day basis he probably sees less than a dozen people, between the Underwoods (Mr. U being the wizard to whom Nathaniel is apprenticed) and the servants and tutors, and is never exactly challenged by his instruction. The project is to prove himself, to be revenged, and to fight off the fate he sees coming if everything continues as it has been.

It's a wonderful story. It's funny, with Bartimeus's snarky humor and world-weary wisdom ("I did my best to sound grandly dismissive, but voles can only do peeved") countering the young earnest anger of Nathaniel's half of the tale. And it's scary, as Nathaniel finds himself in over his head and sinking fast, though not as fast as might be expected for a boy his age: he is good.

I thought the footnotes sprinkled through the Bartimeus chapters were going to be an annoyance, but they were far from it. They were hilarious.

In the middle of the lawn was a lake adorned with an ornamental fountain, depicting an amorous Greek god trying to kiss a dolphin. 4
Footnote 4 Inadvisable.

The Adobe digital edition from Netgalley had quite a number of problems:

… currendy had the stolen goods …
…there was no knowing who eke was involved with Lovelaces plot …

- Hopefully the real thing is better. The book deserves better.
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LibraryThing member LeanneSF
Great series for young and old alike! Stroud is able to bring to life this unique world of wizards and demons/spirits. Bartimaeus was surprisingly very witty and sarcastic - a refreshing narrator (with entertaining footnotes!). Stands well on its own separate from Harry Potter.
LibraryThing member ahappybooker
I really loved the character Bartimaeus, for me the story was good but not great. Still seems worth it to go to the next book in the series.
LibraryThing member Jenbug
I just wish Nathaniel would realize the brilliance of Bartimeaus.
LibraryThing member marnattij
Nathaniel, a frustrated magicians apprentice, calls a Djinn to help him get revenge on a wizard. He finds more than he bargained for when the Djinn isn't completely under his control.

Nice start to the series. A little too fantasy for me but the reader of the recorded version makes it quite
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LibraryThing member Elizabeth_Foster
This was one of my son's favourite books when he was growing up, and now that I've finally got round to reading it, I can see why. Nathaniel, the twelve-year-old magician at the centre of the tale, captures a high-level djinn who soon runs rings around him. Bartimaeus, who, has the abilities to
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change forms, see on several planes, and extricate himself from the hairiest of situations, made the story for me. Bartimaeus is funny, clever, and appropriately cynical, given he is five thousand years old. When Nathaniel gets himself into dire straits Bartimaeus is there to tell him to grow up and act like a proper, self-serving magician. The djinni's asides about the vain strivings of humans, from the perspective of someone who has seen it all before, made me laugh out loud! A highly satisfying read.
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LibraryThing member Wombat
This is yet another book that my wife has been urging me to read for years. Recently my daughter read it, too (and promptly devoured the rest of the trilogy as well). Finally, I figured I should catch up with the family and see what all the fuss was about. So I packed this as my reading book on a
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recent trip to California.

The action is set in an alternative reality where magicians do not directly wield power. Instead they summon and enslave all manner of imps, djinns, and other spirits. Naturally, these magicians have become the ruling class, looking down their noses on the unmagical commoners. A modern London, with cars and trains, is a seat of magical power, ruled by the Prime Minster, the most powerful of hundreds of scheming and competing magical ministers and contending with its arch-rival.... Prague (!?). And it is in this magical London that the story is set.

The story centers on two characters---Nathaniel, a precocious young apprentice magician, and Bartimaeus, the 5000 year old Djinni he summons. Nathaniel summons Bartimaeus to steal an artifact---the eponymous Amulet of Samarkand---from a much more powerful magician who has offended him. One thing leads to another and before he knows it, Nathaniel (and Bartimaeus) are ensnared in intrigues that reach to the highest levels of power in London.

The story alternates between Bartimaeus's and Nathaniel's points of view. Bartimaeus tells us his part of the story in the 1st person, and we see Nathaniels point of view in 3rd person narrative. Bartimaeus is definitely the more interesting of the two. Not only is he the character that actually has most of the adventure in the book, he is also a colorful story-teller---mixing cynicism about his human masters (past and present) with a self-aggrandizing and sarcastic wit that had me laughing out loud many times.

On the downside, there were no characters in the story that I found particularly sympathetic. Nathaniel is whining, arrogant, too-easily-offended, and remarkably short on common sense. (Of course, as in many fantasy stories, if the hero had common sense, we wouldn't have a story!) Bartimeaus is powerful and clever and witty, which makes his sections of the book enjoyable to read. But he can also be as petty and vengeful as his master---always eagerly anticipating the opportunity to turn the tables on him so he can torment and kill him.

All-in-all, however, it was a good book. The plot was exciting and enjoyable. The world is creative and richly described, and the plot---once it gets going---is exciting and fast moving. In addition to the core plot, other mysterious strands are woven into the story---clearly setting up elements that will come into play in the subsequent novels.
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LibraryThing member Joybee
A little slow to start, but once you understand the style (some parts are from the demon's POV--and has funny/quipey foot notes, and others are from the boy Nathaniel's) it is a fun and exciting read.

Set in modern day London, but the government is entirely run by Magicians. About a young magician's
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apprentice, Nathaniel, and his demon, Bartimaeus. A stolen amulet, and possible conspiracy to overthrow the government.
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LibraryThing member MlleEhreen
Well, on the one hand, I loved this book. On the was pretty dark. I have a hard time reading books where I can count on all the characters to treat one another badly, time after time. I know that a lot of books are full of people who are more principled and generous than almost anyone is
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in reality. The Amulet of Samarkand is the exact opposite of that: everyone is always selfish, amoral, opportunistic, nasty. No good deed goes unpunished. Anyone who won't threaten you to your face is just waiting to stab you in the back.

But it was so well done. The main character, Nathaniel, is particularly interesting. You can't help but feel for the poor kid - given away as a child by a family who apparently didn't much regret his loss, he's placed as an apprentice with a master who'd rather not have a child in the house. The master, Arthur Underwood, is petty and small minded. He is a mediocre magician, but an excellent bureaucrat. That is to say: he is sycophantic to those more powerful than him, and he is tyrannical to those less powerful than him. Poor Nathaniel sits at the bottom of the totem pole and so he is Arthur Underwood's favorite whipping boy. Nathaniel is smart, diligent, desperate for affection - and it's hard to see his talent unrewarded, his thirsty heart dry.

In some books young children deprived of affection, family, friends, and playtime grow up to have a heart of gold and keen sympathy for others who suffer. I have to admit that Nathaniel is the more realistic character - he's angry, greedy, and untrusting. As much as he hates his master, he mimics Underwood's bad attitude, treating commoners (non-magicians) with contempt and cultivating a sense of extreme self-importance. Sometimes I liked Nathaniel, sometimes I hated him. He's not a good kid, to be perfectly honest - but he's better than he could be, and I learned to admire him for it.

While magic rules this world, humans do not really possess it. Rather, they summon and enslave demons who wield magical power. The book is narrated both by Nathaniel and by the djinni he commands, Bartimaeus. Bartimaeus is fantastic, a constant delight in a very grim book. He's funny, full of quips and cynical insight, a real showman, worldly and knowledgeable. As many reviewers have mentioned, his footnotes are a delight to read. The second one in the book, added to a scene where Bartimaeus is contemplating Nathaniel during a summons, reads, "I couldn't do anything while I was in the circle, of course. But later I'd be able to find out who he was, look for weaknesses of character, things in his past I could exploit. They've all got them. You've all got them, I should say."

It would be easy to get bogged down in how horrible it is that all the demons in the book are the unwilling slaves of unworthy magicians. The only thing I can say in the magicians' favor is that the demons aren't any nicer to one another than the humans are to them. Organized into a strict hierarchy, a djinni like Bartimaeus is always ready to put a less-powerful imp in its place, and eager to avoid a higher-ranking afrit who will casually and painfully exert his dominance over Bartimaeus. Comforting, right?

The plot is full of crazy twists and turns. The mystery isn't who the villain is (this is clear from the beginning) but how twelve-year-old Nathaniel is going to win the day against such a devious and powerful magician. Even Bartimaeus, clever and cocky as he is, isn't sure it can be done.
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LibraryThing member dgoo
I read this several years ago but it is one I could see myself reading again. I adored this series and my review will apply to the entirety. This is somewhat of a "Harry Potter for grownups" though written for the YA market. Bartimaeus the Djinni is a wonderfully drawn, acerbic,
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self-congratulating, witty, sarcastic character that had me guffawing in merriment. I love the ending of the third in the trilogy, beautiful and ample fodder for contemplation and discussion. The prequel I also enjoyed but not as much as the original trilogy as the dynamic between Bartimaeus and the teen humans of the trilogy, one a magician, was not a part of the prequel. I'd love to see a fourth Bartimaeus book pick up where the third of the trilogy left us.
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LibraryThing member NancyStebbins
I listened to this series with my children, and we all loved it.
The genie Bartemeaus, is so full of himself, he hasn't a clue about how others perceive him, which gives rise to a great deal of ironic humor.
LibraryThing member hoorayforreading
The repeated abuse of Nathanial by his master does wear old, but this is my only criticism. The plot is exciting and the story is enhanced by being told from the points of view of two and then three of the characters. The world Stroud has created is fabulous.
LibraryThing member jfoster_sf
One of my favorite fantasies. This is told in two perspectives-a magician's apprentice, and a sarcastic djinn named Bartimaeus. In this world, magician's get all of their magic from summoning and controlling magical creatures, and its interesting and hilarious to see magician's in a less than
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positive light. This is a really great book with characters you won't soon forget!
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LibraryThing member camarie
This book was excellent. I really love the characters (especially wise-cracking Barty) and Nathaniel. I could not put this book down at all! From Nate wanting simple revenge for his public humiliation to the climactic battle with an other-worldly giant controlled by Lovelace, Nathaniel's enemy,
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this book has everything.
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LibraryThing member zanderf
I really enjoyed this book. It has a great plot. The point of view is between Nathaniel the boy magician and Bartimaeus the demon who is a djinni. After Nathaniel is humiliated by a rival magician he summons Bartimaeus to steal the magicians pride, The Amulet of Samarkand. However things go awry
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when Nathinael discovers that the Amulet of Samarkand is envolved in an even thicker plot that threatens to take control of the English Government.
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LibraryThing member alice443
I enjoyed the book and adored Bartimaeus' sarcastic and ironic wit.
LibraryThing member rebachin
Alright, alright, alright, I like it.

Props to Jonathan Stroud for making a new use of a magical character: the Genie of the lamp.

As I mentioned in a previous post, it took me a while longer than I would have wished before I was invested in the plot and characters in this novel. BUT - invest I
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In it we have two main characters - Nathaniel, a boy apprenticed to a dull witted Magician, learning the magical trade and as we come to find out, one smart cookie (reminds me Artemis Fowl's character); Bartimaeus, a powerful Genie summoned by the novice young magician (without the knowledge or approval of aforementioned dull-witted master) to steal the Amulet of Samarkand from Simon Loveless in revenge for Loveless' "dissing" the young Nathaniel. Oh, how he'll pay! Loveless's Lesson learned: We young folk can pack a powerful punch, dare thee not diss us.

The narration bounces back and forth conveniently between Nathaniel and Bartimaeus to tell both angles of the plot. The audiobook is expertly narrated. LAST BUT NOT LEAST, must say, I got a few chuckles in, and there were quite a few artistically crafted sentences for the poet in all of us.
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LibraryThing member Cecrow
Now here's a YA novel that an adult can appreciate! An eleven-yr-old magician summons a powerful being to assist his revenge plot, not realizing his scheming is about to place him over his head in more ways than just advanced spellcasting. The humour is spot on, the action is almost constant, and
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this alternative universe (though it took a while for me to realize that's what it was - I was trying to place it in actual history, until several details started adding up) has just enough meat to it for adult appeal. It's a wonderful, complete story, but clearly with room remaining for the sequels in terms of political events and Nathaniel's character development.

One thing bothered me: while I wanted very much to continue liking both protagonists, this became difficult with Bartimaeus when, from Nathaniel's perspective, he turned particularly malicious and threatening. As a reader I found myself forced either to take the genie's threats less seriously than presented, or have that malice overshadow my liking for the genie character. By the end however, this relationship became something closer to what I wished for.

I'd recommend this novel quickly to any young fan of Harry Potter who was looking for something else to read. For me it's a step above the other high-profile YA fantasy novels I've read lately, including the Inkheart trilogy and Lemony Snicket. I'm expecting great things from the next two books in this series.
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LibraryThing member ggslibtech
I really enjoyed this book, and am about to start the next in the trilogy. I'll review more comprehensively when I have finished the series, but for now I am finding it suspenseful and exciting, and despite his confessed hatred for magicians, Bartimaeus is a likeable and surprisingly compassionate
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character. So far, both principal protagonists are flawed but generally likeable and understandable. Background is given to explain the development of characteristics and decisions that have been made, so that even when Nathaniel espouses apparently flawed views, and makes decisions with disasterous consequences, the reader can still sympathise with him and understand, if not necessarially agree with, his views and decisions.
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