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The Amulet of Samarkand

(Bartimaeus #1)

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  123,511 ratings  ·  5,218 reviews
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 Un
Hardcover, US First Edition, 462 pages
Published September 30th 2003 by Hyperion Books for Children
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Kay I don't think they are similar at all. The writing style is totally different and with alternating points of view. The underlying themes are also very…moreI don't think they are similar at all. The writing style is totally different and with alternating points of view. The underlying themes are also very different. They are both amazing series but different in their own right. (less)

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(B) 72% | More than Satisfactory
Notes: An interesting premise and humorous to boot, but the story's flat, characters aren't very deep and the ending's weak.
Aug 08, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: magic lovers / smartasses
This book had some ground to make up to begin with because after checking its copyright date, all I could think was, "It's a book...about a magic England...written after Harry Potter." And that meant that I was skeptical, although not to the degree that I thought the main character would be named Barry Cotter or something.

Well, there is one big way in which it's like Harry Potter...

...I stayed up all night reading it.

This is a FANTASTIC book, one that suggests that Harry Potter b
Jason Koivu
Oct 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Within the first few sentences my heart sank. Oh no, I thought, fanciful purple prose attempting to set a magical aura about the opening scene.

"GOTCHA!" shouted Stroud.

Well played, sir, well played.

One thing The Amulet of Samarkand does not do is take itself too seriously. That was a relief. I had approached this with trepidation. I'd heard good things, but I wasn't in the mood for some heavy going in a kiddies' fantasy world with evil baddies, precocious sprites, etc. No, instead what you get
Judith Arvesu
May 03, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: young-adult, fantasy
If the quality of a book rested solely on its plot, this would be an excellent novel. The general plot is, of course, standard fantasy fare (save the world!) but its details and the world built to drive it is unique. Also, there appears to be a second plot running under the main one which will obviously be continued in the later books, and this plot seems much more promising.

Story-wise, this first installment in The Bartimaeus Trilogy is respectably good. However, the writing failed to appeal to
Feb 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Such a wise-cracking djinn, such a tiny, jerkish upstart. You will absolutely devour this book. It's hilarious. Told from the very different viewpoints of Bartimaeus ( a smart-aleck djinn who has lived thousands of years and has nothing to show for it but an I rock you don't attitude) and Nathaniel (12 year old jerkwad apprentice whose lifelong dream is to be a huge im portant government official and have millions of obedient djinn slaves at his fingertips. Bartimaeus isn't making it easy for hi ...more
Feb 22, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Angela by: Kelly Hoffman
This is a difficult book to rate: It was very well-written, with an intriguing plot and engaging wit. That being said, I must admit that it was more frustrating than enjoyable for me.

The main problem was that I disliked both of the main characters: one is a wily demon (Bartimaeus), and the other is a 12-year-old kid who is way too smart for his own good (Nathaniel). I think you'd get a similar result if you paired C.S. Lewis's Screwtape with Rowling's Draco Malfoy. Don't get me wrong - I love "T
Nov 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I really loved this book, the first of the Bartimaeus Trilogy.

It's tempting to compare the book to the Harry Potter series. Young boy. Magic. Sneaking around. Breaking the rules. Stern teachers. But the similarities really end there.

In Stroud's world, magicians have no power of their own - their power lies in the knowledge of how to summon (and enslave) spirits, like the djinni Bartimaeus, to do their will. These magicians are the proud, arrogant, entitled upperclass that pretty much oppress the
I don't know who or what recommended this to me, but I loved it. It is hilarious, adventurous, fast-paced, and creative.

In modern England, all the politicians and noblemen are magicians, and everyone else is a commoner. The story begins with a young but gifted apprentice magician summoning a djinni (genie), Bartimaeus. He sends Bart. off to steal the Amulet of Samarkand. This sets in motion a chain reaction of events that are perilous and fantastical and ultimately build up to a big climax. Eve
Zach Judkins
Feb 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Maybe I'm feeling slightly defensive, but I honestly believe some of the best books written today are in the childrens/young adult section. Well, the Bartimaeus trilogy by Jonathan Stroud is a book that fits completely into the great books written for children. This is one of my favorite childrens book of all time, primarily because of the great characterization of its protagonist, Bartimaeus. Bartimaeus lives in a world where magicians gain their power not from magic, but rather controlling oth ...more
Like many people in the early 2000s who found themselves clasped in the claws of fierce Pottermania, I was fond of trolling the internet for Potter related stuff. Somewhere, on some website (probably Mugglenet), some industrious soul listed a bunch of books to read while waiting for the next book to come out. This series made the list. I added it to my Amazon wishlist pronto, because that’s how I kept track of books I wanted to read before Goodreads was a thing.

And then I didn’t actually read it
Apr 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was a reread for me and a whole load of fun it is too! A young and talented magician gets himself in a whole bunch of trouble when he summons a 14th level demon to help in with a task. Bartimaeus, the demon called, is a hilarious character and the story is a rollicking read. Recommended for all ages!
4.5 to 5.0 stars. A very fun read, with an intelligent, engaging magic system and a wonderful title character ... namely the Djinn Bartimaeus. This is one of my favorite YA fantasy series.
This book is very cleverly written, with two alternating strands of narration. One in the third person, tells the story mainly from the point of view of Nathaniel. The other strand gives us a different perspective on the characters and events but it is in the first person, from the point of view of the devious, superior and sarcastic otherworldly being Bartimaeus.

While it bears some resemblance to other narratives of the underdog sorceror's apprentice (Harry Potter leaps to mind), this is diffe
Ivana Books Are Magic
Oct 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Getting straight to the point. I absolutely loved The Amulet of Samarkand. This novel written by Jonathan Stroud was such a pleasant surprise. Don't you just love when that happens? You pick up a book from some author you have never heard off but before you know it, you're totally immersed in it and enjoying fully the reading experience. Yes, that's the best feeling in the world or just about. That was pretty much my experience with my first Jonathan Stroud novel, which also happens to be the fi ...more
What an awesome book to listen to on a very long car trip! The narrator was incredible. He was able to change up voices and input just the right amount of pomposity into Bartimeus' character to make him both believable and humorous. For those looking for a book in a similar vein to the Harry Potter series, this story of a young apprentice magician is a must read. I would recommend the audio version to children ages 9+. The parents in the car enjoyed the story, too.

This audio book was downloaded
Feb 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to David by: Maitrey
Shelves: fantasy, audiobook
This is a hilarious, fast-paced book about a world where many state governments are ruled by magicians. Great Britain, for example, is governed by an elite group of magicians--many of whom are greedy, ambitious, and uncaring for other people. Magicians themselves have limited powers; most of their strength stems from their ability to summon powerful demons who are obligated to do their bidding.

At the age of six, Nathaniel is apprenticed to a mediocre, hypocritical, incompetent self-consumed magi
A very interesting and fun read. Bartimaeus is an unforgettable character and very witty. Well done Jonathan Stroud for a well invented young adult, fantasy novel. I ended up enjoying this book more than I thought I would.
When I first started reading, the pace was a bit...well, I guess scattered is the best way to put it. But Stroud quickly picks up the pieces and creates a unique and thorough environment and story. The book is written in two styles. The first is first person with Bartimaeus. He
সালমান হক
Well i do not usually compare any book with Harry potter but this one here just made me do so. It was an amazing read. Nearly everything about the book is just great.
Jonathan created a new magical world where magicians have no power of themselves. They use the spirits(imps, djinnis,afrits) to complete their every tasks through summoning and commanding them. They are arrogant, boastful, self-centered creatures(the magicians). Every magician is assigned to train an apprentice.
The main protagoni
For a book aimed at children there weren't barely any in this story. The novel was about a bunch of adults, doing adult stuff and a kid wanting to have his revenge on them. And his djinni making almost all the work.

I was hoping to find the greatness that I found in Stroud's other series, Lockwood and co. And the truth is, I didn't find it and I'm disappointed.

....Anyways, please go and readThe Screaming Staircase.
Oct 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The audiobook of this almost caused the demise of me and my family years ago as we were driving through Colorado to visit family out west. I laughed so hard at this that I nearly drove us off the highway. No, seriously. Stop laughing. It's not funny.

Okay, it is funny. But deadly.
Jul 29, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I love this book! A djinn with an attitude (who had me constantly chuckling to myself), and a boy bent on revenge. Great characters, fast-paced action, fully-realized world with a cool magic system, what more could you want?

What I appreciate most, though, is that the characters face real danger. None of that false suspense -- you know, like the ones you see on movies/television like Prison Break . Apologies for the fans, but it really irked me whenever Michael Scofield is in the tunnel and th
nuin giliath
This was not at all what I expected. Having previously read Lockwood & Co. (a series that I still adore to this day), I had fairly high hopes that this book would have a similar feel and result in a certain level of enjoyment. Unfortunately, I was left feeling disappointed. Honestly, if this hadn't been a buddy read, I probably would have DNF-ed it before the 50% mark. 😕

At the beginning, there seemed to be some real potential for a fun, adventure story. Even with all of my complaints, I maintain
Jan 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like magic or fantasy
I liked this book for many reasons:
-> it is about magic and a fantasy fiction (which happens to be my favourite genre)

-> it is different and is fresh . It does not look or feel like a ripoff of Harry Potter or Lord of the rings (for a change!) nor does it deal with bloody vampires or werewolves (which I am kinda fed up of)

-> a very engaging tale which is very humorous, witty and the main protagonist is not a boy or a girl (for a change!). Instead it is a djinni named Bartimaeus. Reminded me
Thomas J. Benedict
May 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very creative, different and refreshing!

I believe it was written for children, but it was a fun ride.
Dec 11, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
One by one some of my Goodreads friends got bewitch'd by this book.
And I could see why.

Now, the book took us into an odd world.
Like the setting. The magicians drove cars and used laptop and it got me thinking, Was this set in present day London or did Stroud go steampunk in this one? Due to the lack of steam-engines and other steam-based technologies, I reckon the setting was present day London.

The magicians in this book didn't have magical power. Their magicking came from djinns, or stronger c
I was rather sceptical towards this book at first. I was expecting to get a cheap and uninspired Harry Potter-copy but this book, in fact, doesn't have much in common with JK Rowling's popular saga.

This book description here sums things up very well:
"Nathaniel is a magician's apprentice, taking his first lessons in the arts of magic. But when a devious hot-shot wizard named Simon Lovelace ruthlessly humiliates Nathaniel in front of his elders, Nathaniel decides to kick up his education a few no
Dec 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Robin by: my husband
Shelves: fantasy
I was given this book by my husband because I was feeling a bit overwelmed by a number of large fantasy reads I had on my TBR file. I had just read a number of "smaller" works and really enjoyed them.

I was instantly captivated by this book. The begining is one of the most creative starts I've seen in a long time. I loved the humor of Bartimaeus and immediately got an impression of the character and I loved is Bravado.

I found the footnotes entertaining - I know some people have been crtical of th
The Amulet of Samarkand is set in a modern-day London that is ruled by Magicians. It is written from the perspective of a djinni (demon) and an undervalued magician's apprentice. The plot is clever, and the dual POV take on magical power struggles is unique. The problem is, I didn't like any of the characters. The djinni came the closest because he's an interesting character with a sense of humor, but the boy... I didn't like him at all, and he's the most sympathetic human character we meet (I d ...more
Jul 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Meh. I thought I would really like this, but I just didn't. The kid in the book isn't very likable - nor is he believable. He manages to do a bunch of top level magic just because he read it in a book - unlikely. He never listens to anyone's advice and goes around trying to beat the best magicians in the country with no plan. The ending was even more entire room of the most powerful and experienced magicians in the world and only a 12 year old boy can save things. PUL-EEZE. /eye ...more
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Jonathan Anthony Stroud is an author of fantasy books, mainly for children and youths.

Stroud grew up in St Albans where he enjoyed reading books, drawing pictures, and writing stories. Between the ages seven and nine he was often ill, so he spent most of his days in the hospital or in his bed at home. To escape boredom he would occupy himself with books and stories. After he completed his studies

Other books in the series

Bartimaeus (4 books)
  • The Ring of Solomon (Bartimaeus, #0.5)
  • The Golem's Eye (Bartimaeus, #2)
  • Ptolemy's Gate (Bartimaeus, #3)

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