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The Amulet of Samarkand - Amulet Samarkand

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Nathaniel, si penyihir muda, diam - diam memanggil jin berusia 5.000 tahun bernama Bartimaeus. Tugas untuk Bartimaeus tidak gampang -- ia harus mencuri Amulet Samarkand yang berkekuatan dahsyat dari Simon Lovelace, master penyihir yang kejam dan ambisius.Bartimaeus dan Nathaniel pun terlibat dalam intrik sihir yang penuh darah, pemberontakan, dan pembunuhan.


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Nathaniel, si penyihir muda, diam - diam memanggil jin berusia 5.000 tahun bernama Bartimaeus. Tugas untuk Bartimaeus tidak gampang -- ia harus mencuri Amulet Samarkand yang berkekuatan dahsyat dari Simon Lovelace, master penyihir yang kejam dan ambisius.Bartimaeus dan Nathaniel pun terlibat dalam intrik sihir yang penuh darah, pemberontakan, dan pembunuhan.

30 review for The Amulet of Samarkand - Amulet Samarkand

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jayson

    (B) 72% | More than Satisfactory Notes: An interesting premise and humorous to boot, but the story’s flat, characters aren’t very deep and the ending’s weak.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ian

    This book had some ground to make up to begin with because after checking its copyright date, all I could think was, "It's a book...about a magic apprentice...in England...written after Harry Potter." And that meant that I was skeptical, although not to the degree that I thought the main character would be named Barry Cotter or something. Well, there is one big way in which it's like Harry Potter... ...I stayed up all night reading it. This is a FANTASTIC book, o This book had some ground to make up to begin with because after checking its copyright date, all I could think was, "It's a book...about a magic apprentice...in England...written after Harry Potter." And that meant that I was skeptical, although not to the degree that I thought the main character would be named Barry Cotter or something. Well, there is one big way in which it's like Harry Potter... ...I stayed up all night reading it. This is a FANTASTIC book, one that suggests that Harry Potter books don't have to be just a phenomenon, but could be a genre as well, as long as there are people out there who have the capacity, as Jonathan Stroud does, to create new worlds. While Harry Potter may always be on the top of the heap (better protagonists), don't make me choose between Dobby and Bartimaeus; it will only end in house-elf tears. Now, Stroud's magical rules, the key to success in the genre, are simple, spirits control magic, magicians control spirits. Now, if Krazy Christians thought Harry Potter was warping little kids' minds, then I'm surprised they haven't caught on to this series, with its pentacle circles and summoning "demons." The plot works, though between action, it can slow down considerably, but the magical scenes are pretty fantastic, and, while HP has managed to sadden me on occasion, this book was the first that scared me with its monsters. But the jewel in the crown is Bartimaeus. While I imagine writing books can be hard for some people, writing a character like Bartimaeus must make Stroud love his job. Barty's sarcastic, powerful, arrogant, informative, and all in all, seeing the magical world through his asides and footnotes makes the book. Unlike early Harry Potters, Stroud does not provide explanations of magic with a lengthy paragraph. Instead, our teacher is the salty djinni, who wise-cracks his way through our magical education. All in all, his character would be worth the read, but all of the magic created by Stroud delights. You'd be surprised how original someone can be post-Hogwarts.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jason Koivu

    Within the first few sentences my heart sank. Oh no, I thought, fanciful purple prose attempting to set a magical aura about the opening scene. "GOTCHA!" shouted Stroud. Well played, sir, well played. One thing The Amulet of Samarkand does not do is take itself too seriously. That was a relief. I had approached this with trepidation. I'd heard good things, but I wasn't in the mood for some heavy going in a kiddies' fantasy world with evil baddies, precocious sprites, etc. No, instead what you get Within the first few sentences my heart sank. Oh no, I thought, fanciful purple prose attempting to set a magical aura about the opening scene. "GOTCHA!" shouted Stroud. Well played, sir, well played. One thing The Amulet of Samarkand does not do is take itself too seriously. That was a relief. I had approached this with trepidation. I'd heard good things, but I wasn't in the mood for some heavy going in a kiddies' fantasy world with evil baddies, precocious sprites, etc. No, instead what you get with this book is a relaxed tone, a great sense of humor and a worthwhile adventure. Normally I don't go in for pseudo sci-fi or fantasy that includes that 4th wall breaker: the sarcastic narrator with a modern sensibility and a "sassy" tongue, but this one works. It's humor, mostly derived from Bartimaeus the wisecracking cynical djinni summoned to do a boy's will, reminded me of P.G. Wodehouse, while its snide self-satisfaction was reminiscent of Harry Harrison's work, especially his character "Slippery Jim" of Stainless Steel Rat. It's good, self-referrential stuff like that that doesn't disturb the suspension of disbelief, at least not for me. The action follows the aforementioned snide demon-like djinni and a petulant boy…yeah, not a lot to choose from there in the main character line. I mean, I don't require a white knight to side with as my story's hero, but rooting for a coupla dicks can be tough! Yet Stroud makes it work. By the end you're pulling for these two to "save the day." The lead up to that end by the way does drag a bit just before it breaks into the exciting climax. It's one of the book's few faults. Another would be how the pov flitters back and forth between the two main characters - at breakneck speed by the end - too much for my taste, but that's a minor, personal annoyance and doesn't really damage the story too much. In the end, this is a 4 Star book that gets an extra star from me for pure enjoyment reasons!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Judith Arvesu

    If the quality of a book rested solely on its plot, this would be an excellent novel. The general plot is, of course, standard fantasy fare (save the world!) but its details and the world built to drive it is unique. Also, there appears to be a second plot running under the main one which will obviously be continued in the later books, and this plot seems much more promising. Story-wise, this first installment in The Bartimaeus Trilogy is respectably good. However, the writing failed If the quality of a book rested solely on its plot, this would be an excellent novel. The general plot is, of course, standard fantasy fare (save the world!) but its details and the world built to drive it is unique. Also, there appears to be a second plot running under the main one which will obviously be continued in the later books, and this plot seems much more promising. Story-wise, this first installment in The Bartimaeus Trilogy is respectably good. However, the writing failed to appeal to me in many ways that, were they not already in my possession, I might not even bother with the next two books. Jonathan Stroud somehow manages to write with so much distance between the narrator(s) and the readers — even when he’s telling the story in first person through Bartimaeus. This is partly because Bartimaeus is vain and patronizing, but mostly because even the first-person narrative sounds like a third-person omniscient storyteller is telling it, only with “I’s”. The gratuitous footnotes did not help. I’ve seen authors incorporate even the most long-winded of footnotes smoothly and sparingly that they don’t disrupt the narrative. This book has too much of them, however, and most of them were either useless or flat-out unamusing. It makes me wonder if Mr. Stroud let an editor touch his book (he is, after all, an editor himself). Some of the footnotes are entertaining, but halfway through the book I was so sick of Bartimaeus’ self-satisfied, conceited remarks that I wanted to scream every time I saw a superscript. A number of the useful footnotes could also have been incorporated into the normal narrative with a bit of rearrangement. It would have been easier to absorb, would have saved me from moving my eyes, and would have kept the book flowing smoothly. To cap off the distant, flat narrative, and the distracting footnotes, Nathaniel and Bartimaeus are so remarkably unsympathetic, I felt none of the usual drive to finish a book as soon as possible because I really didn’t care much about what was going to happen to them. I like the flawed hero as much as the next (I’ve even written my share of really crrrrrrrrazy heroes) but no one in the book liked Nat and Barty (apart from two very one-dimensional characters) and they didn’t like anybody back — heck, they didn’t even like each other. This made them so isolated, it was nearly impossible to relate to them. Also, I don’t know how the author managed it, but his two heroes had such a bland relationship — even when fighting or hating each other. In the end, I’m of two minds about recommending this book to anybody. The story is all right (nothing revolutionary, though interesting) but the humor falls flat, the prose is cold, and the characters are not very loveable.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Leah

    Such a wise-cracking djinn, such a tiny, jerkish upstart. You will absolutely devour this book. It's hilarious. Told from the very different viewpoints of Bartimaeus ( a smart-aleck djinn who has lived thousands of years and has nothing to show for it but an I rock you don't attitude) and Nathaniel (12 year old jerkwad apprentice whose lifelong dream is to be a huge im portant government official and have millions of obedient djinn slaves at his fingertips. Bartimaeus isn't making it easy for hi Such a wise-cracking djinn, such a tiny, jerkish upstart. You will absolutely devour this book. It's hilarious. Told from the very different viewpoints of Bartimaeus ( a smart-aleck djinn who has lived thousands of years and has nothing to show for it but an I rock you don't attitude) and Nathaniel (12 year old jerkwad apprentice whose lifelong dream is to be a huge im portant government official and have millions of obedient djinn slaves at his fingertips. Bartimaeus isn't making it easy for him) this book is a full of humor and helps us to know the true meaning of friendship a little better. Even if the friends sometimes hate each other for a while. This unlikeliest of pairs will do their best to undermine a conspiracy against the fat, lazy, corrupt government and share a few moments that will make you laugh out loud in the process.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Alice

    I really loved this book, the first of the Bartimaeus Trilogy. It's tempting to compare the book to the Harry Potter series. Young boy. Magic. Sneaking around. Breaking the rules. Stern teachers. But the similarities really end there. In Stroud's world, magicians have no power of their own - their power lies in the knowledge of how to summon (and enslave) spirits, like the djinni Bartimaeus, to do their will. These magicians are the proud, arrogant, entitled upperclass that I really loved this book, the first of the Bartimaeus Trilogy. It's tempting to compare the book to the Harry Potter series. Young boy. Magic. Sneaking around. Breaking the rules. Stern teachers. But the similarities really end there. In Stroud's world, magicians have no power of their own - their power lies in the knowledge of how to summon (and enslave) spirits, like the djinni Bartimaeus, to do their will. These magicians are the proud, arrogant, entitled upperclass that pretty much oppress the commoners who work the city's factories and low-life jobs. They are bred for government, are not allowed to themselves breed, and thus take on apprentices instead to further the magical profession. One of the book's protagonists, Nathaniel, is one such apprentice, to the ineffectual Mr. Underwood. And the book's 2nd protagonist is Nathaniel's djinni of choice. the book's namesake, the delightfully sarcastic, witty, and mischievous Bartimaeus. There are a lot of fantastic things about this book. Bartimaeus' hilarious footnotes. The witty style of writing. The changes of style that accompany the change in POV from chapter to chapter. Characters that aren't just flat out good or bad, but rather a more mixed bag. "Real" people, in other words, motivated by ambition, or revenge, or greed. Anyway, the book is good. And best of all, it's well written. I can't wait to read the rest of the trilogy.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    This is a difficult book to rate: It was very well-written, with an intriguing plot and engaging wit. That being said, I must admit that it was more frustrating than enjoyable for me. The main problem was that I disliked both of the main characters: one is a wily demon (Bartimaeus), and the other is a 12-year-old kid who is way too smart for his own good (Nathaniel). I think you'd get a similar result if you paired C.S. Lewis's Screwtape with Rowling's Draco Malfoy. Don't get me wrong This is a difficult book to rate: It was very well-written, with an intriguing plot and engaging wit. That being said, I must admit that it was more frustrating than enjoyable for me. The main problem was that I disliked both of the main characters: one is a wily demon (Bartimaeus), and the other is a 12-year-old kid who is way too smart for his own good (Nathaniel). I think you'd get a similar result if you paired C.S. Lewis's Screwtape with Rowling's Draco Malfoy. Don't get me wrong - I love "The Screwtape Letters," but with nothing enlightening to learn from the demon in question, and having to read a much longer book full of it, the negativism got old. As for Nathaniel... I know he had a miserable childhood and all, but he was whiny at the best of times; at the worst, he was downright treacherous. He used words like "conscience," "justice," and "honor," but it always felt like he was acting out of guilt, ambition, and revenge. I hoped he would change over the course of the book, but I was disappointed. I also found Stroud's entire magical "universe" quite depressing - portraying all magicians as parasitic slave drivers who have very little magic of their own, and instead must prey on the powers of demonic magical beings from "the Other Place."

  8. 4 out of 5

    Zach Judkins

    Maybe I'm feeling slightly defensive, but I honestly believe some of the best books written today are in the childrens/young adult section. Well, the Bartimaeus trilogy by Jonathan Stroud is a book that fits completely into the great books written for children. This is one of my favorite childrens book of all time, primarily because of the great characterization of its protagonist, Bartimaeus. Bartimaeus lives in a world where magicians gain their power not from magic, but rather controlling oth Maybe I'm feeling slightly defensive, but I honestly believe some of the best books written today are in the childrens/young adult section. Well, the Bartimaeus trilogy by Jonathan Stroud is a book that fits completely into the great books written for children. This is one of my favorite childrens book of all time, primarily because of the great characterization of its protagonist, Bartimaeus. Bartimaeus lives in a world where magicians gain their power not from magic, but rather controlling otherworld entities through words and symbols. Bartimaeus is a middle-ranking genie, not especially powerful, but smart enough to outdo alot of the other guys. he's also slightly evil... or so you'd think. he gets called up by an aspiring young apprentice intent on revenge. and adventure ensues. I would highly suggest reading the remaining two books in the series, as they just get better as they go along, and add depth to the first book. The whole series is inventive and entertaining, and a very good read.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    Like many people in the early 2000s who found themselves clasped in the claws of fierce Pottermania, I was fond of trolling the internet for Potter related stuff. Somewhere, on some website (probably Mugglenet), some industrious soul listed a bunch of books to read while waiting for the next book to come out. This series made the list. I added it to my Amazon wishlist pronto, because that’s how I kept track of books I wanted to read before Goodreads was a thing. And then I didn’t actu Like many people in the early 2000s who found themselves clasped in the claws of fierce Pottermania, I was fond of trolling the internet for Potter related stuff. Somewhere, on some website (probably Mugglenet), some industrious soul listed a bunch of books to read while waiting for the next book to come out. This series made the list. I added it to my Amazon wishlist pronto, because that’s how I kept track of books I wanted to read before Goodreads was a thing. And then I didn’t actually read it for twelve years. This turns out to have been a bad move on my part, because 1) It’s a very good book–well-written, imaginative, clever, and does things that kid fantasy didn’t do back then, and still doesn’t do much of now (more on this later); and 2) For as much as I enjoyed it as a thirty year old, I bet I would have loved it even more back then when I was closer to the target demographic. On the other hand, I might be wrong about that last bit. I’m not sure how receptive I would have been to the idea of a “hero” like Nathaniel, who is clearly on the path to the Dark Side, or whatever. So, Nathaniel is a young magician in training. The world he lives in, an alternate history Britain, is cruel and brutal. People with magical gifts are taken from their parents as children, fostered with strangers, and made to forget their own names. Once grown, these magicians are power-seekers. They rule the British Empire and subjugate practically anyone within reach. This includes “demons” like Bartimaeus. The real secret of magic is that humans only have magic by knowing how to capture and bind what they call “demons” (magical creatures like jinni, in reality) into magical slavery, and use those demons to perform magic. The story actually begins as young Nathaniel, who has been treated poorly by not only his master, but other magicians as well. He sets out to take his revenge on a magician who humiliated him, and does so by summoning the jinn Bartimaeus. He tasks Bartimaeus with stealing an amulet in the magician’s possession, but when the amulet turns out to be stolen, and connected to murder, both of them are quickly in over their heads. The book is duel-narrated by a first person POV from Bartimaeus, and a third person POV from Nathaniel. Many of Nathaniel’s scenes are flashbacks, and make you feel badly for him, even as he’s learning to become just as awful as every other magician. Bartimaeus is the real voice of this book. He’s funny and glib and has no patience for human beings. It’s a refreshing point of view to take in a book like this, and has the effect of making us think more critically than we already were about what’s going on with Nathaniel and the world he’s a part of. I’m really glad I finally read this book. It’s a fantasy that is exploring other aspects of life than the hero’s quest, getting the girl, defeating the Dark Lord. I don’t know when I will get to the second two books in the series, but I’m very much looking forward to it.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    This was a reread for me and a whole load of fun it is too! A young and talented magician gets himself in a whole bunch of trouble when he summons a 14th level demon to help in with a task. Bartimaeus, the demon called, is a hilarious character and the story is a rollicking read. Recommended for all ages!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    This book is very cleverly written, with two alternating strands of narration. One in the third person, tells the story mainly from the point of view of Nathaniel. The other strand gives us a different perspective on the characters and events but it is in the first person, from the point of view of the devious, superior and sarcastic otherworldly being Bartimaeus. While it bears some resemblance to other narratives of the underdog sorceror's apprentice (Harry Potter leaps to mind), this is diffe This book is very cleverly written, with two alternating strands of narration. One in the third person, tells the story mainly from the point of view of Nathaniel. The other strand gives us a different perspective on the characters and events but it is in the first person, from the point of view of the devious, superior and sarcastic otherworldly being Bartimaeus. While it bears some resemblance to other narratives of the underdog sorceror's apprentice (Harry Potter leaps to mind), this is different. For while Bartimaeus is to a certain extent an unreliable narrator whose every utterance should not be taken at face value, he does pinpoint the sins, foibles and vanities of the human race and especially of the magical elite, whom he knows intimately from long experience. In this respect, he is similar to C.S. Lewis's demon Screwtape--although Bartimaeus would not care for that particular comparison. The reader gets fascinating glimpses of Bartimaeus's past and somewhat troubling hints about Nathaniel's future. Presumably some of these questions will be elaborated on in the sequels and prequel.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Audrey

    I don't know who or what recommended this to me, but I loved it. It is hilarious, adventurous, fast-paced, and creative. In modern England, all the politicians and noblemen are magicians, and everyone else is a commoner. The story begins with a young but gifted apprentice magician summoning a djinni (genie), Bartimaeus. He sends Bart. off to steal the Amulet of Samarkand. This sets in motion a chain reaction of events that are perilous and fantastical and ultimately build up to a big climax. Eve I don't know who or what recommended this to me, but I loved it. It is hilarious, adventurous, fast-paced, and creative. In modern England, all the politicians and noblemen are magicians, and everyone else is a commoner. The story begins with a young but gifted apprentice magician summoning a djinni (genie), Bartimaeus. He sends Bart. off to steal the Amulet of Samarkand. This sets in motion a chain reaction of events that are perilous and fantastical and ultimately build up to a big climax. Eventually you learn why Nathaniel wanted the Amulet stolen. By beginning with the theft, the story avoids a slow beginning. The story shifts point of view between Bart. (first person) and the boy Nathaniel (third person). Bartimaeus is just hilarious, partly because of the British humor that is prevalent throughout the book. He has a big ego, he gets in trouble with his smart-Alec remarks, and he has great contempt for humans. The book on tape is narrated by Simon Jones (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy mini-series narrator), who does a great job.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    4.5 to 5.0 stars. A very fun read, with an intelligent, engaging magic system and a wonderful title character ... namely the Djinn Bartimaeus. This is one of my favorite YA fantasy series.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ivana Books Are Magic

    Getting straight to the point. I absolutely loved The Amulet of Samarkand. This novel written by Jonathan Stroud was such a pleasant surprise. Don't you just love when that happens? You pick up a book from some author you have never heard off but before you know it, you're totally immersed in it and enjoying fully the reading experience. Yes, that's the best feeling in the world or just about. That was pretty much my experience with my first Jonathan Stroud novel, which also happens to be the fi Getting straight to the point. I absolutely loved The Amulet of Samarkand. This novel written by Jonathan Stroud was such a pleasant surprise. Don't you just love when that happens? You pick up a book from some author you have never heard off but before you know it, you're totally immersed in it and enjoying fully the reading experience. Yes, that's the best feeling in the world or just about. That was pretty much my experience with my first Jonathan Stroud novel, which also happens to be the first novel in Bartimaeus trilogy. Explaining what I like about this novel shouldn’t be difficult. We’ll start with the plot. It is well developed and interesting enough on itself, but what makes it really shine is the narrative structure. The story is told from two perspective. One is a third person perspective which focuses on young Nathaniel, a magician apprentice. A very lonely boy, for magicians do not have children, they simply take apprentices (children of commoners and the parents seem not to have much saying in this).Nathaniel’s master cares nothing for him. Not surprisingly, this very intelligent boy can’t stand him but he likes his wife, whom he sees as a substitute mother of sort. That first part of the book was developed perfectly and I really felt for the boy- for most of the novel I quite worried about him even if I knew that it was highly unlikely for the protagonist to get killed. So, the plot is mostly focused on Nathaniel. The way the plot developed was something I quite liked. When another magician Lovelace offends Nathaniel, his mater doesn't stood up for him and Nathaniel is determined to take revenge. He does an unthinkable and summons a jinni on his own. It is an unheard of someone so young to attempt it, but Nathanial does it. Whom does he try to sum up? That brings us to our second narrative. The other narrative is told in first person and it is, not surprisingly, more personal. It is Bartimaeus who gets to tell his story in his own words and that was a great call on part of a writer. He is a thousand-year-old jinni (let’s not call him a demon, he doesn’t like being called that). Bartimaeus makes us access the world of magic more easily. If the story wasn’t told from his point of view, it would demand a lot more explanations. You see, if it was told from a magician point of view, then all those explanations would seem tedious because they’re understood- and had it been told from a commoner point of view, there wouldn’t have been any story in this place for commoners have no idea what is going on in the world of magicians. With Bartimaeus storytelling, all the details and explanations are naturally woven into the story. Bartimaeus is very critical of the world of magicians. In this world, magicians don’t have power of their own, they bound demons (spirits) do work their magic for them. Naturally, such spirits don’t do it willing and they detest their masters. Had the story been told only from the third narrative, it would not be as nearly as fun and enjoyable. There isn’t a single positive magician in this story. Nathaniel, the boy is too young to give us real insight into the history of this world (or to understand it for that matter). It is Bartimaeus and his anecdotes that lighten our way into the background of the story itself. He may not be the most reliant of narrators (he likes to portray himself in a good light) but among the corrupt politicians/magicians he seems almost an angel. All that despite lacking any human sense of morality, but I suppose it is precisely that makes him very convincing as an unworldly creature. He uses a lot of footnotes in his narrative, supposedly because it is the only way to allow us lowly humans to grasp his complicated operatus mondi (he doesn’t think too highly of us, does he!). Despite all this, I have just fallen in love with him. What a character! What a personality! His sense of humour is exceptional and very constant during the whole novel. He does have a very unique and recognizable sense of humour and kudos to author, not just for creating it but also for maintaining it in the narrative. The novel would be worth reading if it was only for Bartimaeus irony and wit. The world building is exquisite. Jonathan created a highly credible magician world/society. London is the base of the most powerful government in the world, one composed only of magicians. Basically, all magicians in it are preoccupied with power struggled. They’re terribly corrupted human beings. This hinted at in the beginning and it becomes more evident as the story progresses. All they care about is battle for power. One boy will get involved into fight. Nathaniel. I found Nathanial’s characters and nativity annoying at times, but considering his age that is nothing to be frown about. Is it any wonder that he wants to belong in this world? Such is the human nature. So, I his unquestioning of the state of things actually feels quite natural. I’m currently reading a sequel to this one and so far (page 100) so good. I’ll stop here because I don’t want to include any spoilers. If you want to see what happens next, you will have to read it yourself. I must say that the fact this novel is considered a children's book surprised me because it is quite dark and gloomy in its atmosphere. It is more YA than book for kids. Power struggles and Machiavellian government are described in detail. Hence I would say that it is more appropriate for adolescents, young adults and adults. I know I said the same for the The Golden Compass / Norther Lights but such is my impression. There are no explicit descriptions of violence, but there is much violence and death. Better not to give it to some sensitive ten-year-old. Apart from that, I would really recommend it to everyone. It could be seen as an interesting interpretation of present day politics, couldn’t it? There are, for example, very clever references to terrorism as one of the mechanisms with which the government keeps its subject in fear. There is a lot of subtlety to be found in this novel. Despite this general feeling that The Amulet doesn’t take itself too seriously, there are a lot of serious topics in this one- if you want to read it that way. If not, you can just enjoy it for fun. Either way, it is a win-win situation.

  15. 5 out of 5

    David

    This is a hilarious, fast-paced book about a world where many state governments are ruled by magicians. Great Britain, for example, is governed by an elite group of magicians--many of whom are greedy, ambitious, and uncaring for other people. Magicians themselves have limited powers; most of their strength stems from their ability to summon powerful demons who are obligated to do their bidding. At the age of six, Nathaniel is apprenticed to a mediocre, hypocritical, incompetent self-c This is a hilarious, fast-paced book about a world where many state governments are ruled by magicians. Great Britain, for example, is governed by an elite group of magicians--many of whom are greedy, ambitious, and uncaring for other people. Magicians themselves have limited powers; most of their strength stems from their ability to summon powerful demons who are obligated to do their bidding. At the age of six, Nathaniel is apprenticed to a mediocre, hypocritical, incompetent self-consumed magician, Arthur Underwood. Nathaniel is bright, ambitious, and rather impetuous and impatient. Behind his master's back, Nathaniel summons a rather powerful djinni named Bartimaeus, in order to seek revenge on a powerful magician. Bartimaeus has lived for millennia, and is well experienced in dealing with magicians and other demons. His witty, sardonic commentary on the tasks he is ordered to perform add a wonderfully humorous tone to the entire book. This is counterbalanced by Nathaniel's naiive, self-righteous beliefs. I listened to this book as an audiobook. Simon Jones does an amazing reading, breathing a unique life to each character. When Jones reads Underwood's proclamations, the character's pomposity and determination to ignore his apprentice come ringing true. Don't read this book--listen to it!

  16. 4 out of 5

    AH

    What an awesome book to listen to on a very long car trip! The narrator was incredible. He was able to change up voices and input just the right amount of pomposity into Bartimeus' character to make him both believable and humorous. For those looking for a book in a similar vein to the Harry Potter series, this story of a young apprentice magician is a must read. I would recommend the audio version to children ages 9+. The parents in the car enjoyed the story, too. This audio book was What an awesome book to listen to on a very long car trip! The narrator was incredible. He was able to change up voices and input just the right amount of pomposity into Bartimeus' character to make him both believable and humorous. For those looking for a book in a similar vein to the Harry Potter series, this story of a young apprentice magician is a must read. I would recommend the audio version to children ages 9+. The parents in the car enjoyed the story, too. This audio book was downloaded from audiobooksync.com as part of their Summer 2012 free audio book promotion. See what other audio books made our Road Trip playlist and what we thought of them on Badass Book Reviews.

  17. 4 out of 5

    সালমান হক

    Well i do not usually compare any book with Harry potter but this one here just made me do so. It was an amazing read. Nearly everything about the book is just great. Jonathan created a new magical world where magicians have no power of themselves. They use the spirits(imps, djinnis,afrits) to complete their every tasks through summoning and commanding them. They are arrogant, boastful, self-centered creatures(the magicians). Every magician is assigned to train an apprentice. The main pro Well i do not usually compare any book with Harry potter but this one here just made me do so. It was an amazing read. Nearly everything about the book is just great. Jonathan created a new magical world where magicians have no power of themselves. They use the spirits(imps, djinnis,afrits) to complete their every tasks through summoning and commanding them. They are arrogant, boastful, self-centered creatures(the magicians). Every magician is assigned to train an apprentice. The main protagonist of the book Nathaniel is an apprentice. He is under the surveillance of a scrawny, not-so-powerful mr. Underwood. Soon he gets into enemity with Simon lovelace - a hedious magician thriving on want of power. And in process of seeking revenge he gets intertwined between far large conspiracy than he could ever imagine. so he summons a djinni to help himself. Here comes the name Character Bartimaeus. Ah!! What a charecter. Surely the best that i've read in a long time. Funny, wicked, intelligent and of great power. The thing that i am most impressed with is the writing style. Just brilliant!!! Specially in Bartimaeus's POV. The footnotes!! I dont remember the last time i've read such humorous and wicked footnotes!!! The plot itself was great too, surely there is a second plot going underneath the first one that will surely to be continued in the next installment of the book. I am looking forward to reading the Golem's Eye pretty soon :)

  18. 4 out of 5

    Femmy

    I love this book! A djinn with an attitude (who had me constantly chuckling to myself), and a boy bent on revenge. Great characters, fast-paced action, fully-realized world with a cool magic system, what more could you want? What I appreciate most, though, is that the characters face real danger. None of that false suspense -- you know, like the ones you see on movies/television like Prison Break . Apologies for the fans, but it really irked me whenever Michael Scofield is in the tunnel a I love this book! A djinn with an attitude (who had me constantly chuckling to myself), and a boy bent on revenge. Great characters, fast-paced action, fully-realized world with a cool magic system, what more could you want? What I appreciate most, though, is that the characters face real danger. None of that false suspense -- you know, like the ones you see on movies/television like Prison Break . Apologies for the fans, but it really irked me whenever Michael Scofield is in the tunnel and the guard is approaching his cell to check on the prisoners and it seems like Michael is gonna get caught, but then he miraculously materialized under his blanket! Well, you won't find any of that nonsense here! In this book, when you do something dangerous, you're gonna face the consequences. This, of course, open doors to deliciously unexpected plot twists that keeps you reading until the dead of night. Bought from Amazon, 14 Nov 07

  19. 4 out of 5

    Thomas J. Benedict

    Very creative, different and refreshing! I believe it was written for children, but it was a fun ride.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    A very interesting and fun read. Bartimaeus is an unforgettable character and very witty. Well done Jonathan Stroud for a well invented young adult, fantasy novel. I ended up enjoying this book more than I thought I would. When I first started reading, the pace was a bit...well, I guess scattered is the best way to put it. But Stroud quickly picks up the pieces and creates a unique and thorough environment and story. The book is written in two styles. The first is first person with Bartimae A very interesting and fun read. Bartimaeus is an unforgettable character and very witty. Well done Jonathan Stroud for a well invented young adult, fantasy novel. I ended up enjoying this book more than I thought I would. When I first started reading, the pace was a bit...well, I guess scattered is the best way to put it. But Stroud quickly picks up the pieces and creates a unique and thorough environment and story. The book is written in two styles. The first is first person with Bartimaeus. He is a djinn with quick wit and lots of random thoughts (which the author even added as footnotes). The other is third person and focuses on Nathaniel. He is a magician's apprentice who summons Bartimaeus for a small case of revenge. The story bounces between these two as the adventure moves along and a little game of revenge gets to be so much more than either thought it could. Bartimaeus starts off warning the boy early on that he was over his head...what an understatement. Or is it? Truly a good read.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    I was given this book by my husband because I was feeling a bit overwelmed by a number of large fantasy reads I had on my TBR file. I had just read a number of "smaller" works and really enjoyed them. I was instantly captivated by this book. The begining is one of the most creative starts I've seen in a long time. I loved the humor of Bartimaeus and immediately got an impression of the character and I loved is Bravado. I found the footnotes entertaining - I know some people I was given this book by my husband because I was feeling a bit overwelmed by a number of large fantasy reads I had on my TBR file. I had just read a number of "smaller" works and really enjoyed them. I was instantly captivated by this book. The begining is one of the most creative starts I've seen in a long time. I loved the humor of Bartimaeus and immediately got an impression of the character and I loved is Bravado. I found the footnotes entertaining - I know some people have been crtical of them but I found them very entertaining and while distracting I was always glad they were there. The young wizard - I thought was not as well defined as the demon - oh sorry djinni. Also I didn't think the supporting cast was very well developed (i.e his master and his wife etc). Even so I found the plot well constructed and the pace good and all in all it was a very enjoyable read. I read this in just a few days a good indication to me that it was well written with a good plot and characters. I highly recommnd this book especially to those who enjoy fantasy novels.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rauf

    One by one some of my Goodreads friends got bewitch'd by this book. And I could see why. Now, the book took us into an odd world. Like the setting. The magicians drove cars and used laptop and it got me thinking, Was this set in present day London or did Stroud go steampunk in this one? Due to the lack of steam-engines and other steam-based technologies, I reckon the setting was present day London. The magicians in this book didn't have magical power. Their magicking c One by one some of my Goodreads friends got bewitch'd by this book. And I could see why. Now, the book took us into an odd world. Like the setting. The magicians drove cars and used laptop and it got me thinking, Was this set in present day London or did Stroud go steampunk in this one? Due to the lack of steam-engines and other steam-based technologies, I reckon the setting was present day London. The magicians in this book didn't have magical power. Their magicking came from djinns, or stronger creatures -- like afrits and marids, or weaker creatures -- like foliots and imps. The magicians knew some spells and summoned these bad boys thru complex rituals. Technically these magicians were called Nigromancers but Stroud didn't call them that. All members of the government were magicians and they pretty much turned England into a police state. Stroud mentioned Night Police and people seemed to fear them but in the end he didn't write about them. I love all the main characters except the villain, Simon Lovelace. Lovelace wouldn't be entering my Rogue Gallery Hall of Fame because he was so vanilla. His motive was too simple, to become the new Prime Minister because he wanted to seize power. That's it. The characters Nathaniel and his master, Arthur Underwood were a pair of delight. Nathaniel because the kid was an unusual protagonist in fantasy books. He summoned the djinn Bartimaeus and ordered him to steal the Amulet of Samarkand from Lovelace and planted it in Underwood's study. When he was five, Nathaniel's parents gave him away to the government because he seemed to have magicking chops. The government made him an apprentice to Arthur Underwood. Underwood, I had to say he was my second favorite character. I kept seeing him in a different light. When Nathaniel was a kid, he seemed to be powerful and a tad cruel. As Nathaniel grew up, from what he told us, Underwood seemed to be one of the weakest ministers -- no more than a stooge. But as the story went on, Underwood, like all men, was somewhere in between: he wasn't all powerful but he wasn't a doormat either. When push comes to shove, he'd stand up and fight. Didn't like how he became a total pussy near the end, though. Yeeeessh. That was one of the turn-off in this book. Another turn-off was the big climax. The big climax was BIG but it was all pow pow pow with no real action. My favorite character was of course the djinn Bartimaeus, who kept me entertained with his rapier wit and sarcastic remarks. You have to read the book to find out what I'm talking about. As a Connoisseur of All Things Sarcastic, I could tell you that B's sarcasm level was akin to that of Gregory House.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ash

    I liked this book for many reasons: -> it is about magic and a fantasy fiction (which happens to be my favourite genre) -> it is different and is fresh . It does not look or feel like a ripoff of Harry Potter or Lord of the rings (for a change!) nor does it deal with bloody vampires or werewolves (which I am kinda fed up of) -> a very engaging tale which is very humorous, witty and the main protagonist is not a boy or a girl (for a change!). Instead it is a djinni named Bartima I liked this book for many reasons: -> it is about magic and a fantasy fiction (which happens to be my favourite genre) -> it is different and is fresh . It does not look or feel like a ripoff of Harry Potter or Lord of the rings (for a change!) nor does it deal with bloody vampires or werewolves (which I am kinda fed up of) -> a very engaging tale which is very humorous, witty and the main protagonist is not a boy or a girl (for a change!). Instead it is a djinni named Bartimaeus. Reminded me of Genie from Aladdin sometimes. -> I liked the way the society is completely ruled by magicians. There is no minister who is a common man. But the magicians have no power. Their power comes from djinni and other demons. So there goes any similarity with Harry Potter that you can think of. -> The boy seemed very stupid and innocent to start with and later on his character was developed well. I loved the last chapter (which was full of lies from Nathaniel's side). Bartimaeus is full of mischief and his footnotes were the best part of the book. -> I liked the way narration was being constantly switched between third person (Nathaniel's part of the story) and first person (Bartimaeus's). -> The climax was something that I really liked. The final encounter of Nathaniel with the villain was good. But more than anything, I liked the style of writing. It was very engaging, had me laughing sometimes, made the book completely unputdownable for even a minute, in short - it was wonderful. Do not miss this book, if you like fantasy fiction!!!!!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Meh. I thought I would really like this, but I just didn't. The kid in the book isn't very likable - nor is he believable. He manages to do a bunch of top level magic just because he read it in a book - unlikely. He never listens to anyone's advice and goes around trying to beat the best magicians in the country with no plan. The ending was even more ridiculous....an entire room of the most powerful and experienced magicians in the world and only a 12 year old boy can save things. PUL-EEZE. /eye Meh. I thought I would really like this, but I just didn't. The kid in the book isn't very likable - nor is he believable. He manages to do a bunch of top level magic just because he read it in a book - unlikely. He never listens to anyone's advice and goes around trying to beat the best magicians in the country with no plan. The ending was even more ridiculous....an entire room of the most powerful and experienced magicians in the world and only a 12 year old boy can save things. PUL-EEZE. /eyeroll

  25. 5 out of 5

    Allison

    The Amulet of Samarkand is set in a modern-day London that is ruled by Magicians. It is written from the perspective of a djinni (demon) and an undervalued magician's apprentice. The plot is clever, and the dual POV take on magical power struggles is unique. The problem is, I didn't like any of the characters. The djinni came the closest because he's an interesting character with a sense of humor, but the boy... I didn't like him at all, and he's the most sympathetic human character we meet (I don't feel The Amulet of Samarkand is set in a modern-day London that is ruled by Magicians. It is written from the perspective of a djinni (demon) and an undervalued magician's apprentice. The plot is clever, and the dual POV take on magical power struggles is unique. The problem is, I didn't like any of the characters. The djinni came the closest because he's an interesting character with a sense of humor, but the boy... I didn't like him at all, and he's the most sympathetic human character we meet (I don't feel I can count the female caretakers since they are so removed from the reader). Aside from not liking the characters, I also struggled to connect with them at all. The narration was very focused on what happened from an external vantage-point. Even the djinni's adventures, told in first-person, were still very remote. It felt very like a Middle-grade novel that a young boy might enjoy without missing the character development or the internal dialogue. That said, I think the themes make this more YA, so it should have offered a little more sophistication. However it should be classified, mentally I could appreciate the plot, but something deeper was lacking and I couldn't really get into it myself. Maybe it's just that I don't enjoy these types of books geared more towards boys (I also struggled with The Lightning Thief and the Bobby Pendragon series), but I kept taking a break to read something more satisfying. **Received free arc for review.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Giovanna

    4.5 “One magician demanded I show him an image of the love of his life. I rustled up a mirror.” I probably should create a shelf called Lys-recommends. Anyway. I actually really really enjoyed this book; I mean, great world-building, good plot, a snarky dem...ehm, djinni, what's not to like? The amulet of Samarkand had been sitting in my wishlist for a while, and in spite of that I knew almost nothing about it. I probably added it during one of my crazy-add moments and then forgo/>“One 4.5 “One magician demanded I show him an image of the love of his life. I rustled up a mirror.” I probably should create a shelf called Lys-recommends. Anyway. I actually really really enjoyed this book; I mean, great world-building, good plot, a snarky dem...ehm, djinni, what's not to like? The amulet of Samarkand had been sitting in my wishlist for a while, and in spite of that I knew almost nothing about it. I probably added it during one of my crazy-add moments and then forgot to check it out. Silly me. Still, I went into it almost blind and really liked it so I can't say it didn't go well. What's obvious is that Stroud can write about a complex world (and one I want to know more about) and making it interesting and funny. I'm used to slow beginnings in fantasy but this one started with a bang. Bartimaeus point of view is so damn fun. His footnotes! He's the only one who can make me read footnotes and make them funny! Nathaniel has potential. I didn't love him but I think he could be an interesting character in the next book. Other than that...well, I hope I'll get to other books by Stroud soon!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Hannah Greendale

    Second Read: 2/2/2016

  28. 4 out of 5

    Caleb M.

    More like a 4.5* rating. This book is fantastic. A well written tale that isn't just for kids, but for adults as well. I still am amazed that some people refuse to read books that are for "kids." I think you are doing yourself a disservice by not branching out to these books that are every bit as fantastic as "adult" books. But I digress and to each his own I suppose. I wasn't sure what to expect when I first started this book. I knew that it was wildly popular and I have c More like a 4.5* rating. This book is fantastic. A well written tale that isn't just for kids, but for adults as well. I still am amazed that some people refuse to read books that are for "kids." I think you are doing yourself a disservice by not branching out to these books that are every bit as fantastic as "adult" books. But I digress and to each his own I suppose. I wasn't sure what to expect when I first started this book. I knew that it was wildly popular and I have come across it on multiple must-read lists. I can see why now. This book was just a lot of fun from start to finish, with a couple of slow spots sprinkled in. But to be fair the slow spots weren't even that slow really, they just felt slow compared to the edge of your seat parts. Bartimaeus was a delight to read. He is a fun, sarcastic, witty character that made me smile multiple times. He is devious, and his footnotes are (most of the time) a pleasure to read. And also they are a neat way to flesh out some of the story/magic system/Bartimeaus' past. Nathaniel is a brilliant 11/12 year old. One of my favorite types of characters. I love the genius type. They are a pleasure to read. It is easy to forget his age sometimes while reading this book. It's a good thing Stroud does a good job of reminding us in his writing. Last thing I wanna say is the magic system is pretty cool. A London that is run by Magicians. But Magicians don't have any real power. All their power comes from some form of spirit, djinni, or other demon from the Other Place. It really is quite unique and I very much enjoyed it. I will definitely be reading the rest of this trilogy. And if the trilogy stays this good then I plan on reading more from Jonathan Stroud. Fun, Fun book.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Karo

    I was rather sceptical towards this book at first. I was expecting to get a cheap and uninspired Harry Potter-copy but this book, in fact, doesn't have much in common with JK Rowling's popular saga. This book description here sums things up very well: "Nathaniel is a magician's apprentice, taking his first lessons in the arts of magic. But when a devious hot-shot wizard named Simon Lovelace ruthlessly humiliates Nathaniel in front of his elders, Nathaniel decides to kick up his education a I was rather sceptical towards this book at first. I was expecting to get a cheap and uninspired Harry Potter-copy but this book, in fact, doesn't have much in common with JK Rowling's popular saga. This book description here sums things up very well: "Nathaniel is a magician's apprentice, taking his first lessons in the arts of magic. But when a devious hot-shot wizard named Simon Lovelace ruthlessly humiliates Nathaniel in front of his elders, Nathaniel decides to kick up his education a few notches and show Lovelace who's boss. With revenge on his mind, he summons the powerful djinni, Bartimaeus. But summoning Bartimaeus and controlling him are two different things entirely, and when Nathaniel sends the djinni out to steal Lovelace's greatest treasure, the Amulet of Samarkand, he finds himself caught up in a whirlwind of magical espionage, murder, and rebellion." I love this new approach and definition of being a "wizard" here in Stroud's world: Wizards don't perform magic themselves. They need to summon demons like Djinn, Foliot, Imps, Afrits or Marids to do so. And that's were the trouble really begins because those demons are vicious things, trying to trick or harm their masters whereever they can. It so happens with Nathaniel and Bartimaeus. The story itself takes quite a while before it really kicks off and there are some rather dragging parts in between as well, but the POVs of Nathaniel and Bartimaeus really make up for this because they are just hilarious! The Amulet of Samarkand is darker and the characters are a lot more snarky and edgy than, for example, JK Rowling's characters. The book is full of funny remarks and potshots. (I have to say though that I'm NOT a fan of the footnotes. They are funny but I found them really distracting as they interrupt the flow of the narrative.) The highlight of the book is, without any doubt, the love-hate relationship of Nathaniel and Bartimaeus and it was so heartwarming when Bartimaeus told Nathaniel at the end of the book that (view spoiler)[he has everything it takes to be a great wizard and that he should always be careful and take care of himself... awwww!!! (hide spoiler)] . I really became a fan of their relationship! The book has a really great showdown that I could envision all the way through. All in all, the book is a real fun ride and I'm curious to see where the second book will be taking us!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    I enjoyed the writing style of Jonathan Stroud. Most young adult authors have one style and one perspective. I found the voice of Bartimaeus hilarious and the highlight of the book. The footnotes were odd at first but after getting to know the demon it just fit. Because of Barttimaeus' style it overshadowed Nathaniel's chapters. Some of them were almost dull and at the beginning I found myself irritated when I saw I had another "Nathaniel" chapter to read. It could have done without some of the I enjoyed the writing style of Jonathan Stroud. Most young adult authors have one style and one perspective. I found the voice of Bartimaeus hilarious and the highlight of the book. The footnotes were odd at first but after getting to know the demon it just fit. Because of Barttimaeus' style it overshadowed Nathaniel's chapters. Some of them were almost dull and at the beginning I found myself irritated when I saw I had another "Nathaniel" chapter to read. It could have done without some of the suggestive material. I had read reviews that this was a "Harry Potter knockoff" but I found it completely different from the Harry Potter books in almost every way except for the fact that it has to do with magic and a boy. Even then, it is the "Batimaeus Trilogy" that happens to have a boy in it. Will read the next book in the series.

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