The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud

Monday, February 16, 2015

 

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This is the best book I have read recently. The style is unique, the tone is witty, the characters are really entertaining and the plot kept me on the edge of my seat. I can't think of any other book that so cleverly tells the story as Stroud has done with this series. It’s written from the third person perspective for the young boy Nathaniel and the first person perspective for the superior Djinni, Bartimaeus. The footnotes that can be found in Bartimaeus chapters greatly enhance the story with humorous remarks. It may sound tedious to read a bit, jump to the bottom for the footnotes and then carry on back up top. But Stroud has done it masterfully and these footnotes add magic to the book. They actually bring out a whole new aspect to Bartimaeus' character.

I’m not enamored with the protagonist, Nathaniel, but I actually really like that he isn’t a self-sacrificing noble boy. Instead he is a selfish, arrogant, and ambitious apprentice. It’s good to have somewhat flawed and ignoble heroic protagonist in your story every once in a while. Bartimaeus, on the other hand, is the magic of this story. I absolutely love him. This ancient, powerful Djinni is a delightfully sarcastic, self-centered and a very entertaining character. To be honest, Bartimaeus chapters alone are worth the read.

Stroud has created a magical world consisting the elements of friendship, loyalty, survival, moral values, determination, greediness, and corruption. This is not a more easily read novel and it is quite long read compared to other YA books. It does require a fair amount of attention to enjoy every aspect of the story and the uniqueness of the writing. But trust me, Bartimaeus will be worth your time.