Tag Archives: Bartimaeus
Post by Mark T. Locker.
The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Book One: The Amulet of Samarakand by Jonathan Stroud.
So this is a book I have been kind of wanting to read for a very long time. I’m a big fan of the author; I’ve reviewed his Lockwood & Co. books here in the past. This series of books, told partly from the perspective of a snarky demon by the name of Bartimaeus, has been sitting on my shelf for a dozen years. The only thing stopping me from diving into it? The footnotes. There were SO many footnotes! It was hard for me to constantly tear my attention from the story to read the bits of supplementary information offered after the asterisk. What finally did it for me was getting the book in audio format. The narrator adds the footnotes in such a seamless way that you can hardly tell he’s reading from the bottom of the page. It works. And it’s a great story.
As a young child, Nathaniel in sold to the passably accomplished wizard Arthur Underwood, brought up to be his protégé. Treated poorly by his new master and humiliated by his colleagues from the Ministry, Nathaniel takes solace in learning. Despite his Master’s belief, Nathaniel is a brilliant wizard and by the age of twelve has a great deal of advanced knowledge under his belt. All of which he channels into seeking vengeance against Simon Lovelace, a nasty but powerful wizard who humiliated Nathaniel in front of several wizards. So Nathaniel summons a djinni, a moderately powerful demon named Bartimaeus, and charges him to steal a valuable amulet from Lovelace.
Told from the point-of-view of the demon, who has a wonderfully wicked sense of humor, the story sets up a world of magic and monsters in modern-day London. Once you get past the footnotes, the story is fun, unique, and captivating. Great to read aloud to older kids or to read in bed on your own.