Friday, September 28, 2018

READ-ALONG: Fifteen Years of Bartimaeus - The Amulet of Samarkand


Annemieke from A DANCE WITH BOOKS is hosting a BARTIMAEUS SERIES read-along. You can join us: HERE.

We have finished the first book in the series, THE AMULET OF SAMARKAND, and Annemieke has put up her SPOILERY discussion questions: HERE.
However, my answers are pretty generalized so probably not much worse than some Goodreads summaries you may have read in the past.

1. The Amulet of Samarkand first introduces us to Bartimaeus, a demon, through his point of view. What was your first impression of his character?
He's snarky and concretely confident, and self-serving; except for a little crack in the surface where a tiny green sprout of benevolence grows. His turn of a sarcastic phrase can be surmounted by no one. Ha ha. And always remember, he hates being called a demon... he prefers Djinn.

2. Bartimaeus' point of view uses footnotes. How did you feel about that? Did they pull you out of the story, or did they add something for you?
I read the book via Hoopla streaming, so they weren't footnotes for me. They were endnotes and it was impossible to switch back and forth, so I read them at the end after finishing the story. They were still entertaining, but not helpful. I think in the Kindle ebooks all you have to do is tap on the foot notation number and you get a pop-up. I will most definitely be reading these books again, so if I ever see them on ebook special, I'll snap them up. I still want to know what cats can do on two planes.

3. After four chapters there is a shift in point of view when the focus is also moved to Nathaniel, the magician that summoned Bartimaeus. We are plunged into his history. How did you feel about this change in order of events and timeline?
It was fine. I love Nathaniel.

4. There is also a change in point of view in a different way. Bartimaeus point of view is through first person point of view while Nathaniel’s is third person point of view, bordering omniscient in places. Why do you think the author choose to do this? Do you think that worked?
Again, it was fine with me. The writing is so well done I have no real complaints. Of course there's a tiny off kilter feeling I get at first but it goes away. Hmm... why did the author do this? I'm not sure switching between two first person POVs would have worked because with Nathaniel you need to know what is going on without his feelings coloring it too much.

5. At the start of the book the author says how Bartimaeus is pronounced. Is that how you say his name in your head, or did you have a different way?
I totally missed this until Annemieke mentioned it. I went back to look and I couldn't find it.

6. This series is set in an alternate world of ours where England is in war with the Czech Republic for instance. What are your thoughts on this? What are other things besides the magic that struck you about this alternate world to ours?
My thoughts are it's great because I get to fill in the alternate history square on my Better World Books 2018 Reading Challenge! Ha ha. All kidding aside, I think the alternate government shows just how much regular people are ignored when it comes to policy making.

7. Magicians summon demons to do their bidding. How do you feel about the treatment of these demons by magicians?
I think it's terrible. It's very much like the house elves in Harry Potter, but these guys have no hope for a sock.

8. Children are taken from/given up by their parents to be trained as a magician to be able to hide their true name. How do you think that has impacted the magician’s social structure?
I'm going to answer this in the next discussion post because I need to think on it more, and it's too good of a question to skip!

9, Magical items have quite the appeal to magicians. Which of the magical items mentioned would have an appeal to you? Would you care to have The Amulet of Samarkand? Are their other kinds of magical items you would love to possess?
I wouldn't mind having a scrying disc, but only for looking in on public places. Ha ha. Although I wouldn't want it to work via trapped imp. That would make me sad.

10. What was one thing from your expectations that was met and one thing that wasn't?
I had no expectations, so, nothing. Ha ha. I will say the descriptions of characters and places are brilliant. And Bartimaeus' banter is genius.

I'm reading the ebooks from HOOPLA.


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