Idgiepug’s CBR#4 Review #28: The Amulet of Samarkand (A Bartimaeus Graphic Novel) – Jonathan Stroud, et al.
I ADORE the Bartimaeus series. While the little pug was perusing the graphic novels section in the library, I found the graphic novel version of The Amulet of Samarkand. I’ve never been much of a fan of graphic novels, but I encouraged the puglet to check it out. He began reading it on the way home, but he had to stop and ask me to explain what an “omelet” was. “What?” I asked. “You know, the omelet, the thing the kid had Bartimaeus steal for him.” These are the moments that make having a kid truly worthwhile. After he finally got the whole concept of an amulet, the puglet devoured the rest of the book. He finished it that day and enjoyed it a great deal. I asked him if he wanted to tackle the original novel, and he declined for now, but he promised he’d tackle it someday. After he read it, I decided I’d give it a try. I was a little worried that the graphic novel form would ruin my very fond memories of the original, but I really liked it. Jonathan Stroud, his co-author, and the illustrators did a nice job of maintaining the key elements of the story and providing vivid illustrations of the action.
One of the things that distinguishes the Bartimaeus series is the character of Bartimaeus himself. The wise-cracking Djinni makes a charming and engaging narrator for part of the novel. His humor is preserved in the graphic novel, especially in the scenes in which he interacts with the other creatures from “his” world. My particular favorite moment in the graphic version is when Bartimaeus wrestles an imp into submission, a scene he edits for us so we don’t see the gruesome details, after which the imp is forced to refer to Bartimaeus in a series of increasingly creative terms of deference and respect. Missing from the graphic form, though, are Bartimaeus’ copious footnotes, but I didn’t miss them too much. I still like the full version of the novel best, but this was a fun read.