Wednesday, 12 June 2013

The Amulet of Samarkand: The Bartimaeus Trilogy Book 1 by Jonathon Stroud

Ptolemy's Gate


Bartimaeus is a djinn.  He has a wide range of powers that would be most appealing to a young wizard stepping into the magical realm for the first time.  Nathaniel has been with his master for the past six years, but feels as though he has been left on his own to learn how to be a wizard.  After being humiliated by a renown wizard, he vows revenge on his perpetrator.

There is no doubt that Nathaniel is quite a bright young wizard.  He has mastered skills far beyond his years, yet he hasn't learnt the morality and responsibilities that come with great power.  His teacher was not a suitable mentor.  Bartimaeus turns out to be a far better teacher if only Nathaniel would pay attention to him.

Much of what our young wizard does is motivated by his quest for revenge.  Like many kids his age, 12, he acts on impulse without thinking through the consequences.  Very typical behaviour for his age group.

I enjoyed that this story was set in a magical version of modern day London, England.  Wizards are the politicians of the day.  Perhaps this isn't so far off when I consider certain politicians. 

One thing bothered me about this story.  The wizards learned all sort of spells/incantations/ drawings, but the real power/magic belonged to the djinn and their ilk.  The wizards didn't really do the magic.

This book would have most appeal to a male pre-teen reader, though there is a mysterious female character of the same age, that we meet a few times, and I suspect that she will play and increasing role in future books in this trilogy.

I listened to the unabridged audio book from Lending Library.  Read by Simon Jones.  13 hours 30 minutes.

The cover image is from the official trilogy website.

1 comment:

....Petty Witter said...

Loving the cover. Great review, sounds just like the kind of read I'd enjoy.