Oct 28, 2010

Bartimaeus Sequence - Jonathan Stroud

Well, this one is sometimes clasified as adolescent literature. May be but The Amulet of Samarkand is also undoubtedly a superb novel of revenge and adventure with the most original central character for years and a huge, deep, funny, appealling, astonishing and hilarious sense of humour expressed with a masterful display of transversal thinking.

As described by John McLay:

Bartimaeus is a wisecracking Djinni (pronounced "Jinnee" we're reliably informed) unlike no other. Summoned from some otherworldly place to do the bidding of a pipsqueak trainee magician called Nathanial, he sets about his given task reluctantly but with aplomb. Nathanial is after revenge and that makes him dangerous. Previously humiliated by a powerful magician called Simon Lovelace in front of his impotent master, Nathanial has spent every waking hour for years cramming knowledge of the highest magic into his head so that he can exact his own special kind of vengeance.

Bartimaeus is charged to steal a precious and powerful object--the Amulet of Samarkand--from Lovelace's residence, which the Djinni achieves but not without angering a few old mates on the same astral plane and having to spend the night annoyingly disguised as a bird. Bartimaeus, despite being bound to Nathaniel, discovers the boy's real name--a tool he can use to his own advantage. But he is constantly outwitted. Then an overriding danger becomes apparent that threatens the whole fabric of society and they must work together to combat it.

Stroud's fantasy world is familiar, yet fascinatingly different. It's almost Victorian London, yet Magicians hold overall power and inhabit parliament. The writing is captivating, the story intelligent and mesmerising. It's difficult to imagine a more scintillating collection of characters and situations. Unmissable.


  1. OK. Ron, listen carefully: I want u to stop reading children's literature now! I'm beginning to fear that u're suffering one of those called midlife crisis and it is corrupting your taste. This is not bad for teenagers, though, the main character is funny and ironic, if not cynical, intelligent and charming. On second thought, it reminds me a lot of myself so perhaps your taste is kind of all right after all.

  2. I remained glued to its pages from beginning to end. Maybe I'm simple and I have the literary taste of a baby but.. I loved it!

    Stop changing nicks, Hasse, please. I'm fed up with all those japanese dishes. You grow up, not us!

  3. Perhaps this is considered as teenagers literature and recomended for +10 years old, but that does not necessarily mean that it is a simple or silly book. There's a masterful and original use of footnotes in it, to start with, and the situations are well raised and fun. I must confess I enjoyed this one a great deal.


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