Today’s book review is Jonathan Stroud’s The Amulet of Samarkand, the first book in his Bartimaeus series. I picked this up for a book club reading over at the Mallorean Tavern, but unfortunately, the discussion ended up fizzling out due to several people traveling over the summer. Still, I’m glad that this was selected because I enjoyed it quite a bit.
It’s the story of Bartimaeus, a demon with an impressive reputation (or at least, he’s pretty impressed with himself). He is summoned by a young boy named Nathaniel to steal a powerful artifact from a rival – the Amulet of Samarkand. Nathaniel wants revenge: first on his rival, Simon Lovelace, who embarrassed him in public, and second, on his master, Mr. Underwood, for holding him back and not letting him reach his full potential. Bartimaeus is none too pleased, but is bound by Nathaniel’s spell into helping him. And of course, things go wrong. Both characters end up involved in a much larger plot, threatening the whole of English magical society.
This book was fun to read. Bartimaeus is snarky and sarcastic. Nathaniel is indignant and ambitious, without getting annoying. What I really enjoyed about this was the magical world that Stroud created. It’s very realistic, if that makes sense. If magic really existed, it would probably be like this. I definitely will be adding the other books in the series to my never-ending to-read list. I’m very curious as to what will ultimately happen to these two.