move over harry potter. wow. what a great book. d. had suggested this series to me this summer, saying that although it is a children's book the demon (title character bartimaeus) was in possession of a very dry wit, and a love of footnotes. who doesn't love a good footnote (if you, like me, also happen to enjoy a good footnote, please check out "the impartial recorder" by ian sansom)? this is the story of nathaniel, an 11 year old magician in training. nathaniel is very self-righteous and very sure of his abilities. unfortunately he happens to have a bit of a dullard as a master. when nathaniel's pride is injured by the magician lovelace he vows revenge. revenge is to be had in the form of bartimaeus, a fairly powerful and sly demon, whom nathaniel conjures in order to steal a powerful magical article (the amulet of samarkand) from lovelace. thusly, are nathaniel and bartimaeus (much against his will) drawn into a web of magical intrigue.
the book bounces back and forth between being told from bartimaeus' pov and nathaniel's pov. nathaniel's entries tend to move the plot along, though i enjoyed them rather less than bartimaeus' chapters (which have footnotes. did i mention the footnotes?). i really think this book could give old hp a run for his money, but it unfortunately never found quite the popularity. it also made me laugh when reading this, to think of all of the anti-magic hysteria that harry potter inspired. imagine of the same crowd got a hold of this book, which has demons. this makes harry potter's magic look like sunshine and lollipops.