The Amulet of Samarkand


I don’t know why, but «fantasy» novels in the children’s section usually look a lot more tempting than the ones in the Fantasy & Sci-Fi section. So also with Jonathan Stroud’s The Amulet of Samarkand. The first book in a trilogy. Well, I know I’ve been stupid again, but I think I’ll be able to wait for the paperback editions of book 2 and 3 (3 isn’t even out yet, as far as I can tell). Anyhoo, Amulet is a pretty good read. The main character is a deamon called Bartimaeus, who is also the narrator for much of the book, summoned by Nathaniel, a gifted, but underestimated magician’s appretice. Bartimaeus is charming, if also obnoxious, and the story has a good pace to it. Of the two drawbacks I can put my finger on one is that some characters are introduced mostly to play a role later in the trilogy (at least, that’s what I’m assuming), which makes them feel incidental and unnecessary in this volume, the other that I’m not entirely sure I like Nathaniel much, and as he’s the «hero» of the story, that makes it sort of difficult to root for him. There’s no one else to root for either, except, possibly, the mysterious «Resistance», and they’re not present enough to be a viable alternative. But I’m reading book 2, definitely, just need to find a paperback edition.