October 16, 2010

The Amulet of Smarkand - by Jonathan Stroud

I had been wondering about this series, The Bartimaeus Trilogy, and whether it would be worth a read.  I finally snagged a copy from the library started reading the first chapter, and totally lost interest.  Luckily I picked it up again the next day and finished that chapter, and I was hooked.  It takes a little while to understand how this book is written:  From the point of view of an ancient djinni (genie) in some chapters, and from the perspective of the brave but terribly young and inexperienced apprentice magician, Nathaniel, who summons Bartimaeus in others.

The story spins you into an England run by magicians, with imps, djinni, and other magical creatures doing their bidding.  Bartimaeus is one of these djinni, but he's got an attitude!  His humor adds a lot to the story, but the plot on its own is enough to hold your interest.  When Nathaniel orders Bartimaeus to steal a valuable amulet from a powerful magician who had once embarrassed him, everything goes wrong.  Soon the boy and djinni are on the run to save not only their own lives, but the country itself from an evil plan.  As the boy and his magical servant learn to work together, the reader is taken on a fantastic journey through a fictional London.  The end of the book leaves us wondering what on earth is going to happen in the sequel, and dying to find out.

If you like magic, interesting and challenging vocabulary, lots of action, politics, and genies, it's time to check out The Bartimaeus Trilogy!

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