Friday, January 28, 2011
Review: The Alchemyst by Michael Scott
Book One of the Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel
Published: May 22, 2007
The truth: Nicholas Flamel was born in Paris on September 28, 1330. Nearly 700 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.
The legend: Nicholas Flamel lives. But only because he has been making the elixir of life for centuries. The secret of eternal life if 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. 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.
The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel is a superbly imaginative tale brought to us by Irish author, Michael Scott. The back flap calls him the authority on myth and folklore in his country.
After reading the first four books in the series, with the final two still forthcoming, I do not doubt such a claim. Scott has a fantastic reach in his words that brings myth right to your front door. Literally, as in the opening pages of The Alchemyst shows. Keeping any and all spoilers absolutely contained here, because if you do pick up reading this series, I want you to be as surprised as I was.
Now, the series is young adult and I've never read young adult before this. I am telling you, it is an absolute page turner. I remember nights reading this where I needed to be in the next chapter. The chapters are relatively short at times, but it's all part of the fun that makes you want to know more. Scott sometimes uses only a few paragraphs to a chapter, but it's a huge deal in the progression of the story arc.
What I really love best about this, aside from the bombardment of myth (from all cultures, I'll add), is the pacing. Never before have I seen pacing so perfect. In the course of the four books that have been released so far, the characters have only progressed a little over a week's time. Four books -- hundreds of pages combined -- all telling a story contained within days. That's talent.
I'm only ranting, but it's worth picking up. The main characters, Josh and Sophie Newman, are called the twins of legend. They have silver and gold auras, which not many others have. It's the sign of prophecy coming to a head. While you run through legends with them, from Aztec to Arthurian and Greek to Roman, it's all blended nicely.
Immortals do roam the modern world (in Scott's series), some of which are sided to bring about the return of the Dark Elders, a race of immortals who want to punish humankind, and some of which are sided to the witty and loving Nicholas Flamel, who wishes to prevent the return. You'll meet famous literary characters, all of which are immortal, and the fun only begins there.
I urge any who are interested in young adult, and also any who are looking for a new read, to pick up in this series. It's well worth the buy and read.
Peace and Writing Love,