The Amulet of Samarkand Book Review

Book Rating – 4/5

The Amulet of Samarkand takes you through a magical fantasy world, which is obnoxiously addictive and thrilling in its pursuit. It is a fantasy land put in words through the mind of the author Jonathan Stroud. If you are looking for books like Harry Potter for young readers, Bartimaeus The Amulet of Samarkand is sure to capture your imagination.

Bartimaeus Sequence is a four part fantasy fiction children’s novel. The Amulet of Samarkand is the the bartimaeus trilogy book 1 of the 4 part novel series.

Bartimaeus Trilogy The Amulet of Samarkand is highly recommended for those who enjoy Fantasy Fiction Genre. If you have liked books like Harry Potter and Hunger Games you will surely enjoy this book.

Let me confess, this was the only book post Harry Potter series which kept me awake all night. The author’s narration and magic was absolutely mind blowing.

Though I’m tempted to compare this book to Harry Potter. I would like to mention that this book is not another harry potter read alike. It is very different and original. You would be pleasantly surprised at how original this book is and it is very different from harry potter. The only similarity between both the books would be that they belong to the same genre i.e Fantasy Fiction.

All the rulers and noblemen in modern England are magicians, and everyone else is a commoner. The story begins with Bartimaeus, a young but talented apprentice magician summoning a djinni (genie). He sends Bart off to steal Samarkand’s Amulet. This sets a chain reaction of events in motion that are dangerous and fantastic and ultimately build up to a large climax. You will eventually learn why.

Bartimaeus is just funny, partly due to the British humour that is common throughout the book. He’s got a big ego, he gets into trouble with his smart-Alec remarks, and he’s very disdainful of people. Simon Jones (the narrator of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy mini-series), who does a great job, narrates the book on tape.

The author Jonathan Stroud has done an impeccable job writing Bartimaeus character. Bartimaeus is not your friendly neighbourhood hero but an ironic, authoritative, dynamic, witty & scornful character. The Magic in the Amulet of Samarkand is original and worth a read, you would be pleasantly surprised at how original this book is, specially post Harry Potter series.The story is narrated in first person through Bartimaeus.

The only downside of the amulet of samarkand graphic novel was that it had too many footnotes, most of the footnotes were not of much use and did not contribute much to the story. Even if you skip the footnotes, you would understand the story completely. The footnotes felt a bit annoying to me. It would have been better if the important footnotes were incorporated into the story, that would have helped me enjoy the novel better.

Another excellent thing about the Bartimaeus series is that it would also fit into the adult books like Harry Potter category. Kids and adults both would enjoy this book. As the bartimaeus trilogy by jonathan stroud is a good read for adults who like good humour and adventurous books.

The sarcastic and witty narration and the intelligent magic narrated in the story, makes this book a good read for adults and children alike. This book has a relaxed tone, a great sense of humour and all the characters are very well written and you would be able to feel the story as you read it.

The Amulet of Samarkand Summary

This story is based in an alternate London with magicians ruling the country through enslaved magical beings. When he was five years old, Nathaniel was taken from his parents and given as an apprentice to Arthur Underwood, Junior Minister in the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and his wife Martha to learn the mystical spells that govern a variety of magical beings. 

Nathaniel’s training on how to summon and control ‘demons, as normal in these cases (They are not actually ghosts, but they seem to be like the creatures in fairy tales and legends of the Middle East) is from a second-rate master who cares nothing about him. Underwood talks as a ‘it’ about Nathaniel. On the other hand, Martha is kind, and she becomes the only one that he loves.

Regardless of Martha’s love, by the time he was twelve years old, Nathaniel was a very mean and angry boy. He is bent on revenge because he is mistreated and humiliated by the other magicians as if he were a ‘commoner’, the worst thing to be in London society.

Since he reads magic books on his own from Underwood’s library, he is a far better magician than everyone suspects. The first move in his vengeance is to discover what vulnerabilities and secrets the magician Simon Lovelace, who most embarrassed him, holds by making a scrying glass inside a mirror with a captured and enslaved baby imprisoned.

He next calls out and enslaves the powerful Djinni Bartimaeus from his dimension after spying on Lovelace through the service of the imp, to serve him by stealing the Amulet of Samarkand. Nathaniel discovered that this Amulet is so valuable to Lovelace, now in Lovelace’s possession, that he commanded his Djinni to kill his original owner to steal it for himself. Murder is still frowned on, even though cruelty is common for magicians. Lovelace is planning something big, and Nathaniel is going to reveal the secret, potentially resulting in something that will get payback from Nathaniel.

Throughout the book, Bartimaeus narrates alternating chapters with Nathaniel, and unlike the morose, angry young boy, Bartimaeus is full of snark and cynical jokes. Indeed, he is a strong magic creature capable of transforming his appearance from a young boy to a fly, and he has been alive for thousands of years. Mankind seems to him to be a very stupid, malicious race, but now Nathaniel has bound him to serve, and he’s bound to serve.

The Amulet of Samarkand Parental Guide

So, is the amulet of samarkand age appropriate ? Yes, the book is suitable for children of all age groups. It would be easily readable by children of age groups 9-13. There are no references to religion or casteism in the book. The book has no sexual content. This is one of the clean fantasy fiction novel which would be suitable for catholic children.

The Amulet of Samarkand Reading Level

ATOS Reading Level – 5.9

5.9 ATOS Reading level means a child whose reading skills are of a 5th grader during 9th month of school can easily read the book. The Amulet of Samarkand is suitable for children from 5-8 grade.

Bartimaeus Trilogy Book Series Sequence by Year

Bartimaeus Trilogy Book Series Publish Year
The Amulet of Samarkand(2003)
The Golem’s Eye(2004)
Ptolemy’s Gate(2005)
The Ring of Solomon(2010)


If you thought Harry Potter was amazing, then think again, as Bartimaeus The Amulet of Samarkand can be that fantasy magic book which keeps you up all night.

The magic in Amulet of Samarkand is much more mature and like most books of this genre, the spirits own the magic and the magician owns the spirits. 

If you have loved books like Harry Potter and Hunger Games, you would surely love bartimaeus trilogy the amulet of samarkand .This book is sure to take you to a dream magical land. If books like HarryPotter and Percy Jackson have captured your imagination, the Amulet of Samarkand is sure to sweep you off your feet into a magical fantasy land, which would enthral your nerves.

You can read the amulet of samarkand audiobook on audible.

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