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The Amulet of Samarkand

Recently I’ve been reading more books with mistakes and less detail which made this book such a relief to read. Not only was it well written, there weren’t any major mistakes (bravo to the editor) and it was quite descriptive without being overly done.
It’s set in a modern London but with a magical difference, magicians are the ones that run the country. Young children are given up by their parents to be apprenticed as magicians and then they go on to working in parliament or some other clerical job. This is what happens to Nathaniel, the main character, at a young age.
The story touches on subjects such as corruptness in government, hierarchy, prejudice and even has undertones of a totalitarian nature. A direction I found interesting and something of which could be daunting to it’s younger readers but thanks to it’s delivery and one particular character I think it could be easier to absorb, for younger readers that is, rather then confusing.
The character I’m referring to is Bartimaeus the djinni (Genie), quite a sardonic character who gives some comic relief and even a break from Nathaniel who I found to be quite an arrogant and aggravating character mainly because he is so blind to the bigger picture and is succumbing to the prejudice and corruption of the other magicians.
It was a bit disconcerting at first with Bartimaeus because it goes from being 3rd person to 1st person in a couple of paragraphs but eventually you’re able to get over that with the wisecracks and the footnotes. Footnotes are where Bartimaeus breaks off from the story telling and either informs or insults. It’s pretty amusing at times and I recommend reading all the footnotes.
Nathaniel’s part on the other hand is told via 3rd person and through out the story you go from both character’s point of view.
This is the first book in the trilogy but it could have been done as a stand alone novel with how it was written (no cliff-hanger ending). In fact if it wasn’t for wanting to know if Nathaniel succumbs to being a pompous prejudiced git like the other magicians or comes to his senses I’d probably not be interested in continuing on with the story.

8/10
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Added by Raven
15 years ago on 27 June 2008 06:07

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