The Amulet of Samarkand

Jonathan Stroud, Andrew Donkin and Lee Sullivan, Disney-Hyperion, $19.99 (144p) ISBN 978-1-4231-1146-7
Nathaniel is a 12-year-old magician in training in an alternate London where magic is real and perilous creatures and artifacts abound. Bartimaeus is a cocky, 5,000-year-old djinni whom Nathaniel summons to help him get revenge against an arrogant adult wizard. The plot involves stealing the powerful amulet of Samarkand, which Bartimaeus does, setting off a series of increasingly dangerous events. Stroud's popular prose fantasy series elevates a familiar situation with multileveled characters; sharp, evocative writing; and a fascinating setting of wizardly government that, far from being wondrous, is more often mundane or selfish. This graphic novel adaptation by Donkin and Sullivan wisely keeps all the virtues of the original, adding fantastic visuals of this complicated world and colorful characters. While sometimes the narration goes on longer than is strictly necessary when a picture is supposed to be telling a story, it's usually in the service of Stroud's lively dialogue. The comics version doesn't quite improve the tale—Sullivan's characters tend to have only a handful of expressions—but it does justice to the imaginative, engrossing original. Ages 9–12. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 11/01/2010
Release date: 11/01/2010
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 302 pages - 978-89-6030-238-9
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Compact Disc - 11 pages - 978-0-7393-5613-5
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Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-8072-1954-6
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