I hate not finishing a book. I hate it. Really. I’m very much a ‘stick it out’ kind of person- possibly simply because I believe that a book deserves to be finished before you decide on its relative merits. So when I don’t enjoy the beginning of a book enough to the point of not being able to go on, it irritates me. And I am determined to remedy the problem.
My current pet peeve is The Amulet of Samarkand (Bartimeus trilogy). I tried to enjoy it. I really did. Trully. But I’ve never been able to get past the first chapter. I’ve tried so many times I don’t even remember why I disliked it in the first place. Anyways. It is on my to-read list. I am determined to finish. Especially with a synopsis like this: (and when you read it, it’s like- that sounds like it would be good, I mean a witty and sarcastic main character? What more could I want?!)
Goodreads Synopsis: Nathaniel is a boy magician-in-training, sold to the government by his birth parents at the age of five and sent to live as an apprentice to a master. Powerful magicians rule Britain, and its empire, and Nathaniel is told his is the “ultimate sacrifice” for a “noble destiny.”
If leaving his parents and erasing his past life isn’t tough enough, Nathaniel’s master, Arthur Underwood, is a cold, condescending, and cruel middle-ranking magician in the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The boy’s only saving grace is the master’s wife, Martha Underwood, who shows him genuine affection that he rewards with fierce devotion. Nathaniel gets along tolerably well over the years in the Underwood household until the summer before his eleventh birthday. Everything changes when he is publicly humiliated by the ruthless magician Simon Lovelace and betrayed by his cowardly master who does not defend him.
Nathaniel vows revenge. In a Faustian fever, he devours magical texts and hones his magic skills, all the while trying to appear subservient to his master. When he musters the strength to summon the 5,000-year-old djinni Bartimaeus to avenge Lovelace by stealing the powerful Amulet of Samarkand, the boy magician plunges into a situation more dangerous and deadly than anything he could ever imagine.
In British author Jonathan Stroud’s excellent novel, the first of The Bartimaeus Trilogy, the story switches back and forth from Bartimaeus’s first-person point of view to third-person narrative about Nathaniel. Here’s the best part: Bartimaeus is absolutely hilarious, with a wit that snaps, crackles, and pops. His dryly sarcastic, irreverent asides spill out into copious footnotes that no one in his or her right mind would skip over. A sophisticated, suspenseful, brilliantly crafted, dead-funny book that will leave readers anxious for more.