The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathon Stroud

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. 
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Publication Date: 30th September, 2003
Publisher: Miramax
Country: UK
ISBN: 078681859X
Original Language: English
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Adventure/Fantasy
Source: NetGalley
Buy the Book: Amazon
Lootability: There's room but look for more.

The Amulet of Samarkand is the sweet, witty and extraordinary story of a young apprentice magician's quest for revenge after being humiliated. Of course, the story takes on much darker tones as Nathaniel finds himself in over his head.

What I Liked: Bartimaeus was amazing. Everyone kept telling me that I would love his wry humour and obnoxious sarcasm (is there any other kind?) and they were right. He is snarky, selfish, smary and just a little too smart for his own good. His inner monologuing had me giggling and occasionally gasping at his audacity.
The complexity of the plot Nathaniel stumbles into is quite cunning, and was just twisted enough to prove its evil roots. The villains, Simon Lovelace, Rufus Lime and Master Shyler, are sufficiently devious and nasty. Poor Nathaniel's humiliation at the hands of Lovelace had me thinking of him like he was the gunk that gets stuck under my shoes.

What I Didn't Like: The story was in third person, so there wasn't much change between the chapters despite alternating between Nathaniel and Bartimaeus. But because there was a slight change in who was leading the story, I kept hoping the narration would change a little.
The Amulet of Samarkand is the first instalment of Jonathon Strouds Bartimaeus Trilogy. I'll be picking up the sequel Ptolemy's Gate at some point in the future.


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