The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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By definition, magicians are ambitious, vengeful schemers, and this main character – a young magician named Nathaniel – fits the bill perfectly. Too bad, then, that all magicians' power comes by summoning demons, and that Bartimaeus is the djinn who has been coerced into doing Nathaniel's bidding.

The Amulet of Samarkand takes place in a different London, in a different world, where magicians form the government and lead the country, oppressing all commoners who lack any talent for magic. Nathaniel, who is trained as a magician, couldn't care less about the commoners. Although not a full-fledged magician, he wants revenge on the high-ranking Simon Lovelace for humiliating him, and summons Bartimaeus to steal the Amulet of Samarkand, a powerful artifact. Naturally, they get dragged into political intrigue, where several people want them dead. And Nathaniel's only ally is a djinn he has made serve him but who would really like to kill him, given the chance.

The Amulet of Samarkand has a delightfully twisted plot and a detailed world, particularly involving the many ways magicians are nasty creatures. This book is a surprisingly enjoyable read considering both main characters have few morals to speak of. The best thing about this book is Bartimaeus's voice – sarcastic, snippy, and filled with amusing footnotes, even when he's getting the stuffing beaten out of him.

The Amulet of Samarkand is the first book in the Bartimaeus Trilogy, which continues with The Golem's Eye and Ptolemy's Gate that involve the Resistance, a group of commoners rebelling against the magicians. The end of the trilogy is epic. You should definitely read it.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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Lia692 said...
Mar. 22, 2012 at 9:28 pm
I've read the series, and the footnotes are definitely one of the best parts. Nice review.
 
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