THE AMULET OF SAMARKAND (Fantasy-London) – VG
Jonathan Stroud – 1st in The Bartimaeus Trilogy
Hyperion Books for Children, 2003- Hardcover
Bartimaeus, a 5000-year-old djinni, has been summoned by 12-year-old Nathaniel, a magician in training, to steal the Amulet of Samarkand from ruthless magician Simon Lovelace, after having been publicly humiliated by him. But simple revenge becomes something much bigger when Bartimaeus realizes just how desperate Lovelace is for the Amulet’s return and his intentions for using it.
Although labeled as YA, the “adults” among us who love fantasy will also enjoy this book. Told in first person by Bartimaeus and third person by Nathaniel, it’s wonderfully done. Bartimaeus, being 5,000 years old, is sharp, sarcastic, funny and engaging, while Nathaniel really reads as the lesser character who is certainly no Harry Potter, so it will be interesting to see how the series develops. But, if you are looking for a break from mysteries, this is a delightful interlude.