Sarah's Stars

Michael Scott. The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel
Delacorte $10.99  ISBN 978-0-385-73600-8  369 pg.
Reviewed by Lindsey, Age 14

The mismatched trio-towering Bastet, dark Morrigan and small human-raced away as the world crumbled into nothingness behind them. The last remnants of their army-the birdmen and cat-people-remained, wandering aimlessly. When they saw their leaders fleeing, they turned to follow. Soon every creature was racing to the east, where the last of the Shadowrealm remained. Senuhet limped after Bastet, calling out her name, begging her to stop and help him.

But the world dissolved too quickly. It swallowed birds and cats; it took the ancient trees and rare orchids, the magical creatures and the mythical monsters. It consumed the last of Hekate's magic.

Then the void claimed the sun and the world went dark and was no more.

Fifteen-year-old twins Josh and Sophie were expecting a hot, laid-back summer when they were hired at a coffee shop and a bookstore right across the street from each other. Too bad for them; they ended up with a frightening prophecy, powerful gods and monsters and an immortal couple. Their archaeologist parents are off on some excavating adventure for the summer, so the twins are staying in California. All seems just dandy and normal until the day that a strange man enters the bookshop that Josh is working in and begins tearing the place apart using...magic? Sophie runs over to help and the owners of the bookshop, Nick and Perry Fleming, are forced to reveal some life-altering revelations and take Josh and Sophie to a safe place. Oh wait! Perry is kidnapped, an evil race of Elders wants to destroy the world and yet another immortal man is after the twins and the two pages from the magic book they happen to have torn out and taken with them. Guess their summer won't be so boring after all...

The concept and plotline of the apparent six-part series definitely has potential, even if it is a little far-fetched for a fantasy. Some things just "happen" a little too conveniently for me in the book, while some of the twists the author comes up with are actually quite smart and enjoyable. A feature in the book that was good but could have been done better was how each person's magic had a specific odor. It worked during the dramatic parts but was a little annoying in the action scenes when the reader is just waiting for the characters to hurry up and start fighting each other already. I liked the atmosphere of the book, like the goddess Hekate's Shadowrealm. The World Tree and the whole environment really seemed to come alive in my mind's eye and in some not-so-pretty places like the back alleys of San Francisco and the tiny town of Ojai as well. One thing that bugged me was the introduction of the undead at the climax of the book. The scene could have been totally creepy and intense but then the author decides the skeletons are...cowboys and farmers? I appreciate the fact that Mr. Scott tried to add character to his novel but that particular twist just didn't work for me. Overall I felt the writing was a little bit clumsy and boring at times but hopefully as more installments in the series are written, the author will become more comfortable with his characters and the general writing of the books will get better. Casual readers I'm sure will enjoy getting lost in this series.

I give Michael Scott's The Alchemyst three stars.

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