My rating: 4 stars
Nathaniel is a boy magician-in-training, sold to the government by his birth parents at the age of five and sent to live as an apprentice to a master. Powerful magicians rule Britain, and its empire, and Nathaniel is told his is the “ultimate sacrifice” for a “noble destiny.”
If leaving his parents and erasing his past life isn’t tough enough, Nathaniel’s master, Arthur Underwood, is a cold, condescending, and cruel middle-ranking magician in the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The boy’s only saving grace is the master’s wife, Martha Underwood, who shows him genuine affection that he rewards with fierce devotion. Nathaniel gets along tolerably well over the years in the Underwood household until the summer before his eleventh birthday. Everything changes when he is publicly humiliated by the ruthless magician Simon Lovelace and betrayed by his cowardly master who does not defend him.
Nathaniel vows revenge. In a Faustian fever, he devours magical texts and hones his magic skills, all the while trying to appear subservient to his master. When he musters the strength to summon the 5,000-year-old djinni Bartimaeus to avenge Lovelace by stealing the powerful Amulet of Samarkand, the boy magician plunges into a situation more dangerous and deadly than anything he could ever imagine.
Oh my God. This book, people. This book. IT’S AWESOME.
I’m ashamed to admit that I DNFed this book in the beginning loads of times. I do that with books whose print copies I own all the time. I have, like, 15 physical copies of books? 😦 My mum thinks buying books is a waste of money and space. Maximum of my books are gifted to me. Anyway, most of the books I read are ebooks, and I procrastinate a lot on the print copies. But recently, due to the cyclone Hudhud, there was no electricity for the past few days and there was no way to charge the battery on my phone. So, I couldn’t read ebooks. Then I picked up The Amulet of Samarkand, finally, and this time with the intention of completing it.
This book was so good. Like, seriously good. I recommend it to each and every reader who reads fantasy. And those who don’t too. It’s so good. Initially, I was quite wary of this book, since one of my friends who taste in books is QUITE different than mine, read and raved about it. I read the first few chapters, found them a bit slow, and immediately skipped reading to another book. But this time, I completed it in a single day. Figures.
“One magician demanded I (Bartimaeus) show him an image of the love of his life. I rustled up a mirror.”
Bartimaeus is the man. Or the djinni, whatever. He cracked me up. While reading the story, which was divided between Bartimaeus and Nathaniel, the hero, I always found myself waiting for the chapter with Bartimaeus’s narration. Nathaniel was not too bad for a twelve year old boy.
I found the book a bit slow at the beginning, but the pace picks up later on and it becomes hard to put it down. There is a lot of character development, and there is Bartimaeus. Those are enough reasons to convince you to read the book. This is the second book I’ve read by Jonathan Stroud, the first being The Screaming Staircase. I must say, Stroud is turning into one of my favorite authors. I absolutely loved The Screaming Staircase, and you must have understood by now that I loved this too. I highly recommend both of them. I really loved the world building and the style of writing. The characterization was quite good. Overall, a great read, that will leave you wanting more.
Also, I think my copy looks much prettier than the more popular one. What do you say?