The Amulet of Samarkand

Author: Jonathan Stroud
Book Review By: Aditya Sharma
Grade: 8

This is a book about magic, Jinns and other supernatural beings. The first main character is a young boy called Nathaniel who lives in London. In the story, the British empire is run by magicians and they are all suspicious of each other. Nathaniel’s parents give him up so that he can train to become a magician under a master. Unfortunately, Nathaniel’s master is jealous of him because he feels that Nathaniel is better than him.

When Nathaniel gets into trouble with another powerful magician Lovelace, his master doesn’t support him. Lovelace insults Nathaniel in front of other magicians and no one stands up for the young boy.

In the meantime, some of the commoners start to resist the power of the magicians. Kitty, the other main character, becomes involved with one group of the resistance. Her friend is hurt badly by the magicians and she feels that it was her fault.

Nathaniel decides to get revenge on Lovelace. He reads advanced magic books secretly and summons a very powerful Jinn, Bartimeaus. He then orders Bartimeaus to steal the amulet of Samarkand from Lovelace.

Nathaniel and Kitty are on opposite sides. When Bartimaeus tries to steal the amulet, all of them end up in a much more dangerous situation. They have to work together to save their lives, and that of the others.

The characters are very interesting. Bartimaeus is rude but he is very funny and sarcastic. Nathaniel is not shown as a ‘good’ person but as a confused teenager. Kitty is angry and determined to fight.  I enjoyed this book because I like history too. I googled some of the real events they mention in this book and the author has used those very cleverly. The odd part was that parents had to give up their children to the government but the magic in the book is really fascinating. I’m excited to read the other books in this series.

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