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The Amulet of Samarkand (Bartimaeus Sequence #1)

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3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  93,219 Ratings  ·  3,957 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
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Hardcover, 462 pages
Published September 30th 2003 by Disney-Hyperion
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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)
Leonie It has a lot of sarcasm and the main character likes being witty, overly honest and talkative. So I'd consider this book really funny (the footnotes…moreIt has a lot of sarcasm and the main character likes being witty, overly honest and talkative. So I'd consider this book really funny (the footnotes are especially good) additionally to the great plot, so yes I guess?(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Ian
Aug 08, 2007 Ian 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 apprentice...in 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
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Jason Koivu
Oct 03, 2012 Jason Koivu 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
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Judith
May 03, 2008 Judith rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult
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
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Leah
Feb 15, 2009 Leah 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
Alice
Nov 18, 2007 Alice 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
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Angela
Feb 22, 2008 Angela 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
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Ashley
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
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Richard
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
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Daniel
Jul 23, 2015 Daniel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Priča o dečaku iz Londona koji raste uz Gospodara koji ga ne podnosi ali je primoran da ga trpi. I dečak oće da postane moćan čarobnjak. Zvuči poznato :) Ali glavna razlika je u samoj magiji u odnosu na druge slične poriče pošto ovde nema bacanja čini u klasičnom smislu već se prizivaju magična bića koja bacaju čini za vas. Bića ima različitih klasa i snage itd. Sasvim fino smišljen sistem.

Sama priča je u suštini jednostavna ali je prošarana sa puno humora (naročito sarkastičnog) što čini sve za
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Stephen
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.
Zach Judkins
Feb 13, 2010 Zach Judkins 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
Ivana Split
Oct 21, 2016 Ivana Split 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
Anna
May 27, 2015 Anna rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult
Απολαυστικότατο ΥΑ με ένα τζίνι που εκτελεί τις επιθυμίες του εκάστοτε αφέντη του σχολιάζοντάς τες!!!

Κλασικό παραμύθι, με συμπεθέστατους χαρακτήρες και μια πολύ ευχάριστη περιπέτεια. Το χιούμορ του όμως είναι αυτό που το κάνει να ξεχωρίζει. Πάρτε το δώρο σε αδερφάκια - ξαδερφάκια - ανηψάκια και διαβάστε το όταν αυτά κοιμούνται!!!!
David
Feb 16, 2014 David 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
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Femmy
Jul 29, 2007 Femmy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 the
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AH
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
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Robin
Dec 27, 2008 Robin 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
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Yasamin
Sep 07, 2014 Yasamin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, persian
ساعت 5 و ربع صبح و من این کتاب رو برای بار دوم خوندم :)
شاید ریویو نوشتم شاید هم ننوشتم. ولی دوباره خوندن این کتاب برام لذت بخش بود. :)
ویرایش:
هومم دلم میخواد خیلی چیزا بگم ولی همه ی حرفام برای جلد سومه. که وقتی انشالله دو جلد بعدی رو هم دوباره خوندم تو ریویو جلد سوم میگم :دی
ولی شاید الان یه اشاره هایی بکنم :-"
خب راستش بعد از اینکه این کتاب رو دوباره خوندم به نظرم باید چیزی بین 4 و نیم و 5 میدادم به کتاب و نه 5 کامل. ولی چون درس خیلی بزرگی از این سه گانه گرفتم این موضوع رو نادیده میگیرم!
واسه من بع
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Luana
Mar 14, 2011 Luana rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
‘L’esercito più formidabile di questo tipo che si sia mai visto fu messo insieme dal faraone Tuthmosi III nel 1478 a.C. Comprendeva una legione di afrit e un gruppo di jinn di vario livello, di cui il più notevole era sicuramente… No, la modestia mi impedisce di proseguire.’ -Bartimeus

Londra ha aperto le porte alla magia, ma questa volta ad attraversarle non sono i già noti ed affezionatissimi Harry&co., bensì Nathaniel, apprendista mago, combinaguai, intrepido vendicatore che nulla fareb
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Rauf
Dec 11, 2009 Rauf 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
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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
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Inge
May 21, 2012 Inge rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Inge by: Keertana
"Man, this book sucks. Bartimaeus is not funny at all. Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit."

- said no-one ever.
Ash
Jan 12, 2011 Ash 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. Remin
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Giovanna
Aug 23, 2013 Giovanna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Giovanna by: Lys
Shelves: buddy-read
4.5

“One magician demanded I show him an image of the love of his life. I rustled up a mirror.”

I probably should create a shelf called Lys-recommends.

Anyway. I actually really really enjoyed this book; I mean, great world-building, good plot, a snarky dem...ehm, djinni, what's not to like?

The amulet of Samarkand had been sitting in my wishlist for a while, and in spite of that I knew almost nothing about it. I probably added it during one of my crazy-add moments and then forgot to check it out.
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Jamie
Mar 09, 2011 Jamie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult
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
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Caleb M.
Feb 20, 2017 Caleb M. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
More like a 4.5* rating.

This book is fantastic. A well written tale that isn't just for kids, but for adults as well. I still am amazed that some people refuse to read books that are for "kids." I think you are doing yourself a disservice by not branching out to these books that are every bit as fantastic as "adult" books. But I digress and to each his own I suppose.

I wasn't sure what to expect when I first started this book. I knew that it was wildly popular and I have come across it on multipl
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Allison
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
Jeff
Jan 15, 2010 Jeff rated it liked it
I enjoyed the writing style of Jonathan Stroud. Most young adult authors have one style and one perspective. I found the voice of Bartimaeus hilarious and the highlight of the book. The footnotes were odd at first but after getting to know the demon it just fit.
Because of Barttimaeus' style it overshadowed Nathaniel's chapters. Some of them were almost dull and at the beginning I found myself irritated when I saw I had another "Nathaniel" chapter to read.
It could have done without some of the
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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
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More about Jonathan Stroud...

Other Books in the Series

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

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“One magician demanded I show him an image of the love of his life. I rustled up a mirror.” 372 likes
“And then, as if written by the hand of a bad novelist, an incredible thing happened.” 177 likes
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