The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathon Stroud, 13 of 52

This book was recommended to me by Robyn from our book club, who is a fantasy writing fan. It is a young reader (whatever that is) targeted book, and as someone who loved the world of Harry Potter I was happy to give it a go.

Escapism is something that I think is really important when picking a book to read. I try to find a happy balance between the genres that I read, as you may be able to tell from my blog. After dipping my toes into a healthy dose of fiction about real people and real situations my brain or heart can feel a bit heavy, disturbed or confused. (you know the type of book) So this is where I think fantasy books can provide a theraputic effect. Particularly what is deemed  ‘young readers’ fantasy fiction, which is a great place to go for innocent, but usually very exciting tales of magic, djinnis and mystical creatures.

I must say the cover synopsis didn’t really make me want to read this book and when in store browsing I am definitely influenced by this.  The book is divided into a narrative format between the two main character, a 12 year old boy and a Djinni. The young boy Nathaniel’s background isn’t covered particularly well, all we know is that he goes to an apprenticeship as a magician. His tutor is a particularly harsh and cruel person who delights in putting down his young ward. We see a child of 12 years of age, given away by his family at age 6 and living with a couple with his only source of affection coming from the magicians wife.

Nathaniel is a very bright boy and it doesn’t take him many years to study and learn skills beyond his years. The result of this is the casting of a spell which brings into Nathaniel’s life a Djinni called Bartimaeus. What ensues is an adventure that is focussed on revenge and the realisation that this young magician is different to others. It was a fun little book, full of exciting escapades and a finale that is sufficiently dramatic for the young reader without being too scary. I’m not sure that it held my interest enough that I feel that I have to read the next book in the trilogy, but I have handed it on to my 11 year old, because I am sure he will love it.

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