Thursday, December 27, 2007

Book Review

Book one of the Bartimaeus Trilogy
The Amulet of Samarkand
By Jonathon Stroud.

This book involves the adventures of the clever djinni Bartimaeus, who is a demon called up into service by a young magician apprentice out for revenge. The wily Bartimaeus tries everything he can to get out of robbing the powerful magician Simon Lovelace at the command of Nathaniel, who has called him up without the knowledge of his master. Nathaniel is a clever magician and so Bartimaeus has no choice but to steal the Amulet of Samarkand from Lovelace. This thievery sets off a chain of events that threatens the whole government. Nathaniel has to thwart Simon Lovelace’s plans before it is too late.
I really loved this book. The character of Bartimaeus is absolutely hilarious! He is so wily, clever, and sarcastic that it is delightful. Nathaniel is a really talented magician, but I like how the author makes him so incredibly unwise. He basically causes all heck to break loose and then has to solve it. He really does loose everything and has to suffer fully the consequences of his actions. He tries to do the right thing despite the fact that everyone tells him it is stupid. One of the most fun aspects about this book are the footnotes that the author includes for Bartimaeus, which illustrates his several levels of conscious thought. The notes include jokes, insults of the reader (and humans in general), and interesting, side notes and background information.
One thing that bugged me about this book was how the magic system worked. The magicians got their power by calling up demons. I wouldn’t label this book as satanic or evil because the author does the magic in good fun. Yet if you are overtly sensitive to these types of stories (as I personally am because of my religion and because I’m just weird. I know there are others of my religion that would have no problem with reading this book.), then you should probably be aware that the magic involves controlling demons that try to hurt you if they can. The fact that I could like this book so much, while not liking the magic system, I think testifies to how well written it is. So if you have run out of books to pick up then you might want to try this series.

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