Reviews for Bartimaeus 1 : The Amulet of Samarkand

Booklist Reviews 2011 January #1
Disney/Hyperion follows its adaptation of Rick Riordan's The Lightning Thief (2010) with this sumptuous graphic novelization of the first book in another hit fantasy series, Stroud's multilayered Bartimaeus trilogy. The fairly text-heavy treatment is a welcome way to balance Stroud's ever-clever writing with a visual treatment of the plot, in which a boy apprentice summons an impish djinni named Bartimaeus to help him exact revenge upon a particularly nasty magician. Stroud's inspired twist was to tell the bulk of the story from the tremendously entertaining point of view of Bartimaeus, and here his narration works wonders counterpointing the drama and dialogue in the panels. The artwork is lively, atmospheric, and exciting, with a couple quibbles: the coloring is almost off-puttingly oversaturated, and a longer page count would have alleviated the problem of a few key action sequences getting crammed into tinier and more claustrophobic spaces. Still, the depth of Stroud's alternate London, some complex political machinations, and the large cast of human and demon characters are all well realized here. Fans and initiates alike will be enchanted. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2011 Spring
The story follows magician's apprentice Nathaniel and his unwilling djinni as they try to stop an overthrow of magician-run Parliament. This dramatically illustrated graphic novel version suffers a little from the loss of Bartimaeus's flippant footnotes--a prominent comic device in the novel--but the smart-aleck djinni still gets in plenty of cracks. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2010 November #1

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.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2011 March

Gr 4 Up--This graphic-novel adaptation of the first volume in the popular trilogy concerns Nathaniel, a young apprentice in an alternate-world England run by wizards. When he summons the djinni Bartimaeus to steal the powerful Amulet of Samarkand, he finds himself involved in a traitorous plot that reaches the highest levels of power. Inevitably, some of the original story is lost or minimized, yet the essence is retained, something that is sure to please fans of the prose novel. As well, the full-color artwork does an adequate job of depicting the characters and settings of the novel. Unfortunately, both the images and lettering are quite small, cramping a story that begs for a bigger, splashier treatment.--Douglas P. Davey, Halton Hills Public Library, Ontario, Canada

[Page 190]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

VOYA Reviews 2011 February
When twelve-year-old Nathaniel, a magician in training, seeks revenge on master magician Simon Lovelace, he summons the djinni Bartimaeus for help. Nathaniel commands Bartimaeus to steal the potent Amulet of Samarkand, a task even the djinni finds daunting. Lovelace manages to track his missing amulet back to Nathaniel's home and subsequently burns it down, killing Nathaniel's guardians. Once again, Nathaniel enlists Bartimaeus for revenge, promising he will then set him free. Using many different guises, Bartimaeus and Nathaniel repeatedly narrowly escape being caught and battle many unpleasant characters on their way to their eventual showdown with Lovelace. With all of the shape shifting, elaborate spells, and imps and demons unseen by the naked eye, Stroud's story is well suited for this illustrated format. The narrative goes back and forth in time, showing Nathaniel's life before this point, with the past depicted in warm sepia tones. The rest of the story is shown in bright, vivid colors, bringing spectacular fight sequences and peculiar creatures to life. While clever dialogue abounds, this adaptation is far less witty than the original, likely due to the absence of Bartimaeus's frequent footnotes. That said, fans of the Bartimaeus books will surely enjoy seeing the story in this graphic novel format, and readers new to the series will likely want to seek out the original novels to see what happens next to Bartimaeus and Nathaniel.--Amanda MacGregor 4Q 3P M J S Copyright 2011 Voya Reviews.