Monday, May 8, 2017

The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud Review

Title: The Amulet of Samarkand
Author: Jonathan Stroud
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: The Bartimaeus Sequence, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

I borrowed this book through my local library and reviewed it.

My husband got this book as a recommendation from the lovely, helpful readers on Reddit. (Thanks so much, guys!) And, in true form, he asked me to read it with him, so how could I say no? I watched as he laughed and cringed its way through it, before it made its way into my hands, but that was an experience all its own, and I was really excited when I finally got around to reading it. I'd read it before, way back when it first came out, in eighth grade, but I didn't remember much. What resulted was a rip-roaring, breakneck adventure, full of magic, political intrigue, action, and beautiful, descriptive writing that totally immersed me in Nathaniel's dangerous world. What a series debut! I can't wait for The Golem's Eye and Ptolemy's Gate!

Nathaniel is a young magician, eager to prove his prowess and serve his country. Bartimaeus is an ancient, powerful djinn whose history dates back to the Egyptian ancients. These reluctant allies' worlds collide in an explosion of animosity and half-hatched revenge schemes. Begrudging partners at best, the two work to take revenge on one of Nathaniel's enemies. But what the boy doesn't realize is that his actions cause irrevocable collateral damage, and that his desires may cost him more than he ever imagined, and for Bartimaeus, cooperation, however reluctant, is the only way to gain the freedom he craves again...

This book was wonderful.  I was laughing and crying, sometimes in tandem, throughout the story. As far as series starters go, this book was more than solid. I loved the world-building, and the way that magical Britain was reinterpreted. But I think, most of all, what I loved was the characters. Nathaniel, the small human boy who wants greatness, to satisfy his ambitions and rise above mediocrity, and his unwilling partner, the ancient, powerful djinn, Bartimaeus, wily, sly, and full of slightly arrogant humor. I was captivated, especially once the ball really got rolling! I was left longing for more, though, and there were a few questions that were unanswered, but I'm sure that I'll get my fill in the two huge sequels waiting for me! The bottom line: A seductive, magical series debut, I loved The Amulet of Samarkand! What a wonderful book! Thanks Cody, for asking me to read it! Next on deck: By Your Side by Kasie West!

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