28 May 2014

The Book Look- The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud (#1 The Bartimaeus Trilogy)

Hey all,

The first in the Bartimaeus Trilogy sees Nathaniel, 11 years old, during his apprenticeship with the cold and reluctant magician Arthur Underwood and his loving wife Martha. Following a traumatic encounter with the powerful and ruthless Simon Lovelace Nathaniel begins to plot his revenge. Summoning a 5,000 year old djinni at his age is no mean feat and controlling him is another story.Book one deals with the consequences of the summoning and it's impact on the people closest to Nathaniel.

Jonathan Stroud is a new-to-me author. I had seen him name mentioned a fair few times in forums whilst looking for authors with a similar style to Sir Terry Pratchett. I decided to give it a go and see what all the fuss was about. There was also talk that this was very similar to the Harry Potter series and it is in a way. Both are male characters and have been taken away from their parents, they are learning magic in London and have a grudge against a powerful person and they want revenge. That's pretty much where the similarities end. Don't come into this story thinking it will have the same effect on you as the Harry Potter series because it won't.

The story is told from two different sides. Bartimaeus, the djinni, is incredible witty and I thoroughly enjoyed his chapters. He builds himself up to be such an amazing and powerful presence when oftentimes it is by pure luck that he manages to get away. 
Nathaniel on the other hand is arrogant, selfish and in completely over his head. He constantly defies his elders , especially his guardians, and he doesn't seem to realize that the world does not revolve around him. Even when he faces extreme hardship and loss it's as if he has forgotten by the next chapter. He places others in peril but at no point does he really take the blame, he'd sooner play the victim. I really disliked his character, his hotheadedness and the way he reacted to certain situations. 

The Amulet of Samarkand focuses on Nathaniel's revenge on Simon Lovelace. The story is quite lengthy at 462 pages but it does not drag on. It is a bit of a slow started in my opinion but towards the middle/ later half of the book it got a lot better. One thing that struck me was the use of footnotes during the Bartimaeus chapters. They were incredibly well done and really added to the story.  

Overall: The Amulet of Samarkand gets a good 3 out of 5 stars. Even though it was a bit of a struggle in the beginning, I enjoyed Bartimaeus and his little stories and quips. The footnotes were an excellent addition and really made the character come to life. I'd recommend giving this a go, Bartimaeus and his interactions with the other characters really give this story a huge boost. 

For my nails I kept it pretty simple. I love the background on the cover of this book and I thought it would make a pretty wearable manicure so that's what I went with. I started with 2 coats of Barry m Blueberry ice cream. Then using a sponge I dabbed on Sinful Colors Sugar Rush. I do this technique at lot with these Book Looks! Finally I added on some white dots using my dotting tools and some white nail polish.


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