Nathaniel is apprenticed to one of the magicians who forms part of London’s government. Although he isn’t entirely content, he’s happy enough to stay that way. But things change when one of the most skilled magicians in London, Simon Lovelace, humiliates him. Keen on revenge, Nathaniel learns spells necessary to get him back—and summons a five-thousand-year-old djinn called Bartimaeus.
Bartimaeus isn’t particularly pleased at being summoned by an eleven-year-old boy, but he’s forced to do Nathaniel’s bidding. He’s sent to steal one of Simon Lovelace’s most prized possessions—the Amulet of Samarkand, which authorities have been searching for for years. Nathaniel’s plan is to use it to show the public what Lovelace is really like—but instead, it pulls him and Bartimaeus into a tangle of complex politics, the rebellion known as the Resistance, and the plans of Lovelace—which may be much more ominous than either of them realize.
The Amulet of Samarkand was an engrossing read, with lots of complicated plot twists so it read like a mystery. Although it alternates between Bartimaeus and Nathaniel, it isn’t confusing. Nathaniel’s narration has more of an upper-class tone, while Bartimaeus has five thousand years of experience and an extremely snarky narrative, which makes the book even better—and much more amusing. I would highly recommend The Amulet of Samarkand to readers ages ten and up, but older readers would enjoy it as well!