"The Amulet of Samarkand" was a fun, fantastical read, though I'll admit it took me a little while to get into the heart of the story. It starts off a bit sluggish in the beginning, but by the time I reached midway through the first part of the story, I was hooked. It toggles between the perspectives of two characters: a young boy named Nathaniel, an apprentice magician, and a djinni named Bartimaeus. Nathaniel summons Bartimaeus from sleep in order to steal the Amulet of Samarkand, and Bartimaeus is forced to do the boy's bidding in Nathaniel's quest for revenge against the magician who publicly shamed him: Simon Loveless. But as the two successfully undertake the task, it unleashes a world of trouble and consequence, and they both have to work together in order to stop the danger that threatens to spiral out of control.I definitely appreciated the level of insight into both Bartimaeus and Nathaniel's characters here. I had moments where I liked the characters and rooted for them in their respective pursuits, but there were also times where they showed their insufferable qualities - so it was a nice balance to make their characters realistic. I also though the worldbuilding was well crafted - both in establishing the settings and rules of magic in this realm. If I were to name a flaw in "Amulet of Samarkand" - it would probably be the moments where the pacing in the novel is a bit sluggish in the way that it's told. I don't think the many footnotes showcased within the novel helped with its pacing. If it was just the occasional footnote, I could understand, but there were too many that nearly threw me out of the story as I read. Some were funny, but others were distracting and broke the tension and pacing in certain moments. Still, I found something to enjoy in this first novel of the Bartimaeus trilogy, and I'm interested in reading more of what this series has to offer.Recommended for those who love teen fantasy.Overall score: 3.5/5Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher Disney-Hyperion.