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Recent Readings

Book review: Darwinia
Reviewed: Friday, August 11, 2006

Summer reading: Spin
Reviewed: Saturday, August 5, 2006

Reviewed: Tuesday, July 18, 2006

the Omnivoire's Delimma
Reviewed: Wednesday, July 12, 2006

the Golem's Eye
Reviewed: Wednesday, May 31, 2006


the Amulet of Samarkand
Wednesday, May 31, 2006

One of the pleasures of having kids is that you can read kids book without feeling that you're too old to be reading them. The Amulet of Samarkand is very much a kids book but its a good one and it comes with interstitial themes worthy of adults. The book tells the tale of an earth where magic works thanks to the ability of some humans to summon spirits of all kinds. It is part one of the three part Bartimaeus trilogy (the eponymous name comes from that of the main narrator, a djinn of remarkable ability (including much sarcasm and wit). Amulet follows a complex plot with a young hero/anti-hero, many magicians of dubious intent, political scheming and many levels, a anti-magical resistance and enough twists to confuse an adder. It is all painted with a broad brush full of vim, verve and vitality. Buried under all this enjoyable fluff, however, are the messages that power is often neither to be trusted, nor desired; that the beneficence of a government is often inversely proportional to how loudly it congratulates itself; and that (to quote Bruce Cockburn) "when you get down to the bottom, loves the only thing that matters."


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Copyright -- Gary Warren King, 2004 - 2006