Plot: After incurring the wrath of Simon Lovelace, a powerful magician, ten year old Nathanial, a magician’s apprentice, decides to summon a 5,000 year old djinni named Bartimaeus to steal the Amulet of Samarkand from Lovelace. Bartimaeus could care less what his assignment is, he just wants to get back to the spirit world and be left in peace. The djinni’s sole goal is to get the amulet and then get back at Nathanial for summoning him. Bartimaeus preferred his previous master, Ptolemy, to Nathanial and takes every opportunity to say so. Although, since this is a rather difficult assignment, Bartimaeus and Nathanial get caught up in a flood of magic, rebellion, and murder that the two have to work together to survive.
Review: Filled with interesting characters and a plethora of magic, this book will catch your attention and pull you in for a tantalizing ride. The tale is narrated by Bartimaues, a 5,000 year old djinni, who takes sarcastic to a new level. His hilarious script paired with the dark and foreboding tale makes for an intriguing story that is sure to lure you in and you won’t want to wait for the sequels. Stroud’s elaborate descriptions and great details make the images of the story pop into your head. While narrating the story Bartimaeus will make side comments that are numbered and can be found at the bottom of the pages in Chicago style writing. Tweens will get a kick out of the crazy tricks that Bartimaeus and Nathanial pull off together.
Reading Level/Interest Level: 5.5/5-8 graders
Similar Materials: Harry Potter series, J. K Rowling, Septimus Heap series, by Angie Sage
Reader’s Advisory: This book is great. Stroud is so detailed and descriptive and Bartimaeus is hilarious he instantly became my favorite character. This is the first book in the Bartimaeus Triliogy, the next two include: The Golem’s Eye and Ptolemy’s Gate. And Just last year Stroud put out a sort of prequel of what happened to Bartimaeus when he was in service in Jerusalem in 950 BC, it is called The Ring of Solomon. These are a great book for children who love magicians and djinn. The intrigue is remarkable.