17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Innovative plot, masterful writing,
This review is from: The Amulet of Samarkand (Amulet Trilogy) (Hardcover)
The Amulet of Samarkand is the first in Jonathan Stroud's Bartimaeus Trilogy - Bartimaeus being half of the focus of the book and a highly sarcastic djinni.
The other half is the young apprentice magician, Nathaniel, coming of age in an alternative-reality London. The book's focus is his quest to right the wrongs done to him in his short life and moves on to his fight against the tangled plot to overthrow government.
The book is based in and around Stroud's London - a very similar place to the London we all know, except that Stroud's Parliament is run by magicians who take their powers exclusively from demon-kind summoned from the Other Place. Bartimaeus is one of those, a djinni summoned by Nathaniel.
Stroud's work is really exceptional stuff. It has the easy-readability of Harry Potter and a fast-paced, entertaining style all it's own that makes it great for kids and adults alike. The book is split into two distinct methods of telling the tale, a traditional narrative and the first-person story told by Nathaniel's conjured djinni, the hilarious Bartimaeus himself.
This is not the type of book I would usually pick up, but as it was a Christmas present I felt obliged to read it. I am very pleased that I did, as I found the djinni's ramblings about his antics throughout the ages (he often takes the form of one of his favourite masters, Ptolemy) frankly hilarious and Nathaniel a likeable enough character. Above all this is all completely original stuff, well told and truly entertaining. And that's what I liked best.
This should appeal to kids and adults, to those who are into fiction and fantasy alike. I can't wait for the second part, but I am pleased that the first is a self-contained story in it's own right. Superb and well worth the price.