I'm now happily rereading The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud. I remembered the basics, but a lot of the details are fresh for me again. And this time I'm really appreciating how well-written and crafted the world, the story, and the characters are. I can see how both Bartimaeus and Nathaniel might be difficult for some readers to sympathize with, but it refreshingly avoids a lot of standard fantasy and young adult tropes. For a book that came out during the fantasy boom created by Harry Potter, it manages to start with a couple basic similarities (set in London, one main character is a magic apprentice) and yet not feel at all like it's cashing in on a fad or ripping off a more well-known work.

I forgot just how much I liked this book, and look forward to rereading the rest as well.


My audiobook re-listen of the Dresden Files is moving along nicely, as I finished Grave Peril a couple days ago and am about to start Summer Knight. It was definitely a marked improvement over the first two books, and now that I know all the various plot threads that are first introduced in this book it's quite a lot of fun to recognize all the seeds that were planted.

My one complaint is that Butcher kicked the can on Murphy. In the first two books she's absolutely insufferable, as the person who's supposed to be one of Harry's most trusted friends and allies but keeps mistrusting and trying to arrest him. It made sense to me in Storm Front, but retreading that whole thing in Fool Moon was pretty obnoxious. In this book, he avoided dealing with the situation by having her just quickly get removed from the story and basically forgotten about. That's better than yet another episode of "Harry won't confide in Murphy, so she decides he's hiding something and tries to arrest him at the worst possible time," but doesn't solve the problem. I can't remember but I think they finally put that behind them in the next book. At least, I hope they do. It's been a couple years and I can't remember exactly when some of these things happen.