Book Review: The Bartimaeus Trilogy

Stroud, Jonathan. The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Book 1: The Amulet of Samarkand. 2003. 464p. Miramax

Genre: Fantasy

For Ages: 10 to Adult. Would make a good bedtime or classroom reloud.

Bartimaeus is a thousand year old demon who has seen and done everything. He’s kept his wry sense of humor while building the Egyptian pyramids and fighting in the Great British -Czech War of the Demons. How is it possible that a 12-year-old magician’s apprentice summoned him?

Nathan is a 12-year apprentice with energy and drive to burn, but all his mediocre middle-management master will let him do is listen to endless pompous nattering and clean up the workroom. When his master lets powerful magician Simon Lovelace humiliate Nathan, Nathan takes his learning into his own hands and plots his revenge. He has ambitious plans and they start with his first big demon summoning: Bartimaeus. 

My son loved this book and insisted I read it. Great read. My husband read it and liked it too. The narration alternates between sarcastic Bartimaeus and a third person narrator. It’s a darker, more political world of magic than Harry Potter. Bartimaeus and Nathan make an interesting pair and watching their power struggle/friendship unfold is both tense and entertaining.
This is one of those rare series where the third book is as good as or better than the first two and ties things up in a satisfying way.

Book 2: The Golem’s Eye
Book 3: Ptolemy’s Gate

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