Sunday, 23 May 2010

The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud

Target Audience: Kids/Teens
Genre: Fantasy/Humour

The Amulet of Samarkand (Bartimaeus Trilogy, #1)***Contains A Few Spoilers***

When i was reading this, i have to admit i hadn't really given it a second thought, and i just randomly picked it up not expecting much at all. Just goes to show then, that maybe that's the best way to start a book, because it's a must-read for fans of fantasy and humour everywhere.

Nathaniel is a young boy who is sold to be a magicians apprentice as a child, something he has no choice about, but he soon adapts to this. Apprenticed to a reluctant and mediocre magician, he finds himself easily surpassing his masters expectations and so as a result ends up summoning a Djinn way beyond the norm.
Enter Bartimaeus, one of the wittiest, original and definately most loved of any of the literary characters i've read about.
On being summoned, he procedes to scare the young boy and crack some amazing one liners and is then entrusted with a task that will change both their lives forever, in a way neither expected.

Plot-wise, i found this a roller-coaster ride of non-stop action, evil people with evil plots, corrupt governments, action, magic and wise-cracks that had me giggling like an insane child. The minute i read that first footnote at the bottom of the page i knew this book was going to have me doubled up with laughing.
As it happens, when i read this book, i was having a bad time and it made me laugh when i really needed it, and for that as well, i just love this book.

With regards to the characters, there are quite a few so i won't talk about all of them. Bartimaeus was by far my favourite; funny, smart and with a sensitive side thats hard to see at first, he really drew me in.
Nathaniel on the otherhand, although he did gain my sympathy for his situation and the fact that he is technically the 'good guy' i generally class as a bit of anti-hero, for reasons that only become obvious once you read this for yourself and the rest of the series.
Lovelace made a brilliant enemy, in an evil genius sort of way, and i loved that. Talk about thinking big! His Djinn were funny too, and i loved their verbal sparing with Bartimaeus throughout the book.

Overall, this gets a full rating from me; emotional, a lot more meaningful than first appearances, and a fast-paced adventure which will have you in stitches with laughing so much!

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