The Alchmyst by Michael Scott (the Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel #1)
Released: May 2007
Publisher: Delacourt Books for Young Readers
Synopsis: The tomb of Nicholas Flamel is empty. The greatest alchemist of his day supposedly died in 1418, but rumors continue to swirl that he continues to walk among us. Could it be true that this magician/chemist has access to the secret of eternal life? Could the Book of Abraham, which he purportedly owns, hold the key to this elixir? If it does, the theft of this single ancient volume could destroy the world as we know it.
Let me be honest here. The reason why I picked up this book in the first place is because the book is about Nicholas Flamel, and Nicholas Flamel is mentioned in the first Harry Potter book. Does anyone else pick out books like that? Silly reasons aside, I enjoyed this book!
The story is about Sophie and Josh Newman. They are normal twins, working normal summer jobs, but unknowingly working for some really old people. And by really old, I mean a couple of centuries old– the Flamels, who are famous for concocting the sorcerer’s stone, which makes them immortal. Then some golems (not to be confused with Gollum) and peculiar men in business attire, Dr. John Dee and his lackeys, show up at the twins’ place(s) of work. A magical battle and a kidnapping ensues, and now Sophie and Josh’s life is thrown into a whirlwind– they just might be the twins an old prophecy describes, and if that is so, then they are destined to save the world from the evil Dr. John Dee and some really angry Elders. In their quest to hopefully saving the world, Nicholas Flamel and the twins receive aid from a number of people we know as myths and legends like Scathatch the Warrior Maiden and the Witch of Endor while trying to outwit the likes of Bastet and Morrigan.
The book is filled to the brim with old myths and legends. Some of them I learned about in school, while others were unfamiliar to me. It was those that were unfamiliar to me that encouraged me to do some outside research. I spent so long browsing wikipedia pages so I could learn more about Scathatch and the Witch of Endor. The Alchemyst opened up a whole new world that I wanted to know more about; I think it’s really awesome when books have that kind of effect. It would have been easy for Michael Scott to just simply incorporate the legends and their back stories into the novel; however, he wove them into the story giving each one their own distinct and thorough personalities.
I wasn’t so impressed with Sophie and Josh in this story though. The characters were a little bland compared to the individuals they have met so far. But, based on how well the legends were created, I don’t doubt Sophie and Josh will grow into more memorable characters as each book progresses.
Now, I made the mistake of bringing this book to work with me. I read it during my breaks and during my lunches. I also sneaked off the floor in between breaks and lunch to read a couple of pages here and there. But, don’t tell my boss. In my defense, I couldn’t help it! This book was so action packed! There were car chases and magical battles of epic proportion. Every few chapters revealed the fate of what the world would be if Sophie and Josh’s powers weren’t awakened. And every chapter left off on a cliffhanger. Cliffhangers get me every time. I just needed to know what happened next; I’m sure you understand, right?
Overall, the Alchemyst by Michael Scott was down-right fascinating. Normally I don’t read more than one book from a series a year, but I’m thinking The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel might be an exception. I went out just last week to buy the second books from the series, The Magician. And, even though it’s been only a month since I finished The Alchemyst, I’m thinking of starting the new book very soon. I have no intention of bring it to work with me though. If it’s anything like the last book, I’m sure I will find several excuses to leave the sales floor, which isn’t good considering I work off of commission.