Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Alchemyst

by Michael Scott
Published: Random House, 2007
Pages: 375

Book One in The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series.

For hundreds of years, Nicholas Flamel and his wife, Perenelle, have kept the most powerful book in the world safe.  It has been stolen, with the exception of the last couple pages, by Dr. John Dee.  Now, the fate of the world rests in the hands of twins, Sophie and Josh.  With the help of Nicholas Flamel, they must find Perenelle, and retrieve the book before Dr. Dee destroys the world.

I just kept waiting for Nicholas Flamel to reference his good friend from England, Albus Dumbledore.  Alas, earwax.  Not even once did his name grace the pages of this book.  It's okay, his absence did not ruin this book for me.  It was actually very interesting to see a version of the world of Nicholas Flamel, a man that I had read briefly about in the Harry Potter books. 

It was really interesting to see some of my favorite ancient myths come alive. The idea that there are elders and immortals living among us as mortals is so cool. It makes it just believable that something like this could be possible. There really could be unexplainable things living in the world is particularly entertaining.

Most of the characters are very enjoyable. Nicholas Flamel and Scathoch are incredibly believable character despite the fact that they are immortal and in one case part elder.  They are perhaps some of the most compelling characters in this book.  Even though Perenell is not the focus of this book, what little we see of her makes the book that much better. She is feisty and resourceful as any 700 year old woman should be. Her wisdom seems like it will be more prevalent in the books to come. I look forward to reading more about her and discovering exactly how powerful she is.

Michael Scott's take on the age old myth of Nicholas Flamel is enchanting and entertaining.  This middle grade book series has writing that captures the imagination of its readers and keeps them eager to read more.  Luck has it that this is the first in a series that is just beginning.  I cannot wait to read the following books in the series.

Stars: 4/5


“The juxtaposition of our reality with magic and myth is riveting.”
          —Kirkus Reviews

“[A] riveting fantasy. While there is plenty here to send readers rushing to their encyclopedias . . . those who read the book at face value will simply be caught up in the enthralling story. A fabulous read.”
           —School Library Journal

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