Saturday, 27 April 2013

bartimaeus: the amulet of samarkand

In February I finished reading the first Bartimaeus novel by Jonathan Stroud, The Amulet of Samarkand. I enjoyed it enough that I picked up the second one in the Upper Street Oxfam bookshop before I'd finished reading it. It was Douglas who gave it to me, as he'd read it after James and enjoyed it. It is, I suppose, a book aimed at teenagers really, but nothing in the writing to make it not feel like an adult fantasy novel (apart from lack of any particularly adult material). The scenario is alternative reality in which demons exist and can be controlled by magicians - genie in the lamp style. I wasn't sure about the concept, but didn't find it troubling in execution - not really about good and evil, more dangerous magical powers harnessed (carefully, one slip and they'll turn against you) and used for good or ill. Well written.