The Amulet of Samarkand
By Jonathan Stroud
Hyperion Books, 2003. 462 pgs. Young Adult
This book is set in an alternate London where the Parliament is comprised of powerful magicians who rule the British empire. Nathaniel is a magician’s apprentice, and despite his master’s rather mediocre abilities, Nathaniel is a prodigy who delves into advanced books and gains skill beyond his years. He summons Bartimaeus, a magical djinn and commands him to steal the powerful Amulet of Samarkand. The narrative alternates between these two, but the real fun of the book is Bartimaeus’s character: flippant, cocky, and annoyed with thousands of years of being summoned by condescending magicians. His chapters include asides in the form of informative and humorous footnotes. This book has plenty of action as we learn why Nathaniel wants to steal the Amulet in the first place, what its significance is, and what happens once its owner finds that it is missing.