“The Amulet of Samarkand” by Jonathan Stroud

Hello all!

Today is Book Recommendations for You day, and do I have an excellent one for you!

WARNING: I WILL TRY TO REFRAIN FROM REVEALING INFORMATION THAT WOULD SPOIL THE STORY FOR THOSE WHO HAVE YET TO READ IT AND ARE PLANNING TO, BUT THAT DOES NOT MEAN THERE WON’T BE SOME SPOILERS IN MY REVIEWS AND/OR SUMMARY OF THE BOOK. IF YOU DON’T WANT TO SEE SPOILERS, DO NOT READ!!!

theamuletofsamarkand

If you like demons, wizards, magic and a battle between good and evil, then The Amulet of Samarkand is probably the book you’re looking for. It is the first in a trilogy, and although it is meant for younger readers, there is something about the writing style and the character dynamics that make it enjoyable for all ages. The characters in this book are able to summon demons to do their bidding, but not without a price to be paid. The main character, Nathaniel, summons a 5000 year old Djinni so that he can steal an amulet from a ruthless and cruel magician known as Simon Lovelace. It’s interesting to follow their adventure, and to see if any kind of friendship develops between Nathaniel and his demon, since it is made quite clear in the footnotes that the demon could care less about his masters well being. Oh, I suppose I should note that many of the main characters’ thoughts and snide remarks are written in the form of footnotes on each page, which is just another aspect of the book that makes it so interesting.

Here is a brief summary I found for the book:

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.

 

I read this back in high school, so I can’t say whether or not it would have the same appeal to me if I read it now, but let me tell you this; I read the harry potter books in high school and I still love reading them now. It’s an interesting story, loaded with plot twists, and the main character is one that you alternate between hating and loving, and an incredibly witty demon who is completely unpredictable!

I hope you enjoy this book, and as always, feel free to go to the Book Recommendations from You page in the top toolbar and leave the name of one of your favorite books in the comments.

 

Cheers 🙂

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