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The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud

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When you read little kids’ fairy tales, like Aladdin, you will find that djinnis (genies) are friendly creatures who will grant you three wishes. Well welcome to modern-day London, a city controlled by scheming magicians and their imps. Young Nathaniel is training to be magician when he summons Bartimaeus, a sly and cunning djinni who will do anything to escape Nathaniel’s power. While under Nathaniel’s power, Bartimaues has to help Nathaniel survive and stick his nose into others’ business. Will Nathaniel be able to control Bartimaeus? A plot full of murder, adventure, and magic tells this amazing, magical story. The book The Amulet of Samarkand, by Jonathan Stroud, is sure to please any reader looking for a story that takes you into another wonderful world.
The Amulet of Samarkand, by Jonathan Stroud, is the thrilling first installment in the Bartimaeus Trilogy. The exciting story starts out when the young magician-in-training Nathaniel, who has mastered spells way beyond his years (which his master does not know, thus treating him like scum), attempts (and succeeds) to summon the powerful djinni Bartimaeus. Nathaniel uses the Bartimaeus to steal the all-powerful amulet of Samarkand from the scheming magician Simon Lovelace. Unfortunately, things go completely wrong when Bartimaeus and Nathaniel start snooping around the magical world to find out more about Lovelace and why he had the amulet. Only using the shape shifting Bartimaeus and the many planes of magic can Nathaniel stay alive in the dangerous magical world of London and stop Lovelace. What starts out as a simple plan for revenge by Nathaniel turns into the discovery of an evil plot to over through the government (run by magicians) and change the course of history forever. Will Nathaniel be able to expose Lovelace as the evil magician he is or will he become another one of the victims that Lovelace has inflicted pain and suffering on? You’ll have to read the book to find out!

The Amulet of Samarkand teaches an important lesson: meddling may give you some reward, but it usually ends in disaster. I got this as the theme because of how Nathaniel meddles in the book. When Nathaniel first starts tampering, he doesn’t know it. When Nathaniel eventually finds out what he was dealing with, he doesn’t stop. Because of this, Nathaniel looses something very special to him. However, as a result of Nathaniel’s interfering, his life changes for the better as well as for the worse.

If I could change something about this book, I would defiantly add a glossary in the back of the book. This is because The Amulet of Samarkand is about magic and magical creatures, which I found a little confusing and hard to understand. There are these different levels of magic called ‘planes,’ which I don’t really get. A glossary with the definitions of the planes and some descriptions of the magical creatures that are mentioned would be really useful for understanding this book. The story also has a lot of footnotes, which was also hard to read and understand. That is what I would change (add to) about The Amulet of Samarkand.

The Amulet of Samarkand is written from two points of view. Most of the time, you read the story in the first person from the Bartimaues’ point of view. Although, once in a while, there will be a chapter in the third person about Nathaniel. This really comes in handy because although Bartimaeus ‘works’ for Nathaniel, he leaves Nathaniel’s side quite a bit to go on missions. The way the author wrote the book (in terms of point of view) makes it really easy to understand where the characters are and what they are doing. You can read about Bartimaeus’ narrow escapes from evil magicians and then turn the page to read about Nathaniel’s battles with his cruel master. Overall, I really liked how the author structured the point of view.
All in all, The Amulet of Samarkand, by Jonathan Stroud, is a thrilling book filled with suspense and mystery that all fantasy-lovers should read. The story of Nathaniel will draw you into a new world where surprise (but always a good surprise) lurks around every corner. With the host of magicians and magical creatures, you won’t be able to but this book down. Out of five stars, I would give this book four-stars, because the book could be a little confusing to some people. So, for next time you’re daydreaming about a world where magic does exist, stop and wonder, what would you do with a powerful ancient djinni like Bartimaeus?



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J1076 said...
Apr. 18, 2012 at 8:25 pm:

“The temperature of the room dropped fast. Ice formed on the curtains and crusted thickly around the lights in the ceiling. The glowing filaments in each bulb shrank and dimmed, while the candles that sprang from every available surface like a colony of toadstools had their wicks snuffed out.”  This is but one of the many wonderfully elaborate scenes of the Bartimaeus Trilogy. In the fourth paragraph, I explain more about this trait in the wonderful books that Stroud h... (more »)

 
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J1076 said...
Apr. 18, 2012 at 8:23 pm:

“The temperature of the room dropped fast. Ice formed on the curtains and crusted thickly around the lights in the ceiling. The glowing filaments in each bulb shrank and dimmed, while the candles that sprang from every available surface like a colony of toadstools had their wicks snuffed out.”  This is but one of the many wonderfully elaborate scenes of the Bartimaeus Trilogy. In the fourth paragraph, I explain more about this trait in the wonderful books that Stroud has clev... (more »)

 
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PriyaKJ said...
Apr. 3, 2012 at 4:54 pm:
Awesome job, Allison! Congrats!
 
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