Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Jenn's Review: The Alchemyst

Blurb: Nicholas Flamel was born in Paris on 28 September 1330. Nearly seven hundred years later, he is acknowledged as the greatest Alchemyst of his day. It is said that he discovered the secret of eternal life. The records show that he died in 1418. But his tomb is empty and Nicholas Flamel lives. The secret of eternal life is hidden within the book he protects - the Book of Abraham the Mage. It's the most powerful book that has ever existed. In the wrong hands, it will destroy the world. And that's exactly what Dr. John Dee plans to do when he steals it. Humankind won't know what's happening until it's too late. And if the prophecy is right, Sophie and Josh Newman are the only ones with the power to save the world as we know it. Sometimes legends are true. And Sophie and Josh Newman are about to find themselves in the middle of the greatest legend of all time.

Review: "*gasp*  NO!  I need the next book!!!"  Seriously, I thought about leaving my review at just that and diving into the next book.  Not that the ending wasn't a natural break in the story, but I was so absorbed in the plot that I had no desire to stop.

The Alchemyst has been on my To Be Read list for a while and I'm sorry that it has taken me so long to read it... but I'm thrilled the rest of the books are out there waiting for me.  The mythology is rich and the characters are interesting.  I love the research that went into these novels and the historical details embedded in it.  What makes it an even more fascinating a read is that legendary figures are also rubbing elbows with mythical legends.

I love the sibling dynamic in this story.  Sophie and Josh may be twins but they couldn't be more different.  They have been thrust into a world of magic that is totally foreign to them, and while Sophie accepts this with reluctant grace, Josh fights his role.  He is the less mature of the twins and his temper and lack of thought before speech is going to be a problem.  Josh wants to find someone to blame for his new found life or a way to escape it instead of finding a way to deal with it, which may lead him to make some rash decisions that will come back to haunt him.  His teen self doubt is realistic and frustrating all at the same time.

Aside from my general frustration with Josh, I find that I would really have liked to spend more time with the Flamels and the twins before being thrown into the chaos of the story.  However, I think the story would lack the frantic momentum it needs to maintain the urgency of the plot, so I understand Michael Scott's choice.   In the same vein, I crave more background on the mythology, but that too would bog down the pace, so I will have to do some research on my own.

The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel is a series I thoroughly look forward to completing.  It won't be long before I return to the world of Flamel and Dee with The Magician because I won't be able to stay away for long.

Final Take: 4.5/5.0

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