Sarah's Stars

Michael Scott. The Magician
Delacorte $20.99  ISBN 978-0-385-73358-8  496 pg.
Reviewed by Lindsey, Age 14

Smiling triumphantly, Dee turned back to Josh. "It's your choice. So, give me your answer-do you want to go back to Flamel and his vague promises, or do you want to have your powers Awakened?"

Even as he was turning to follow the black threads of dark energy that drifted off Excalibur's stone blade, Josh knew the answer. He remembered the feelings, the emotions, the power, that had coursed through his body when he'd held Clarent. And Dee had said those feelings were nowhere near as intense as being Awakened.

"I need an answer," Dee said.

Josh Newman took a deep breath. "What do I have to do?"

Just a few days ago twins Josh and Sophie were living completely normal lives, oblivious to the prophecy that marks them as the saviours of the entire world...or the destroyers. They were caught up in a whirlwind adventure where they met ancient warriors, monsters, goddesses and alchemists and Sophie's magical powers were Awakened. She was instructed in the Magic of Air by a witch and after making a hasty escape from the series' main antagonist, Dr. John Dee, the twins, Nicholas Flamel and Scatty the feisty warrior maiden, found themselves in Paris, while Nicholas' wife, Perenell, was trapped in Alcatraz and unable to use her powers because of the sphinx. That’s where the first book, The Alchemyst, ended.

Mere minutes after the last adventure, the ragtag group of protagonists is in yet another scrape. A different evil magician working for Dark Elders is after the last two pages of the Codex as well as Josh and Sophie. Sophie herself is still grappling with her newfound abilities and still needs to learn how to control them. Meanwhile Josh is feeling resentful because his powers still remain dormant and he hates to see his twin growing further and further away from him. And poor Nicholas and Perenell Flamel are in big trouble too. Without the immortality spell the couple are aging swiftly and if the Codex is not returned to them, they will perish within the month. The race to save Nicholas and Perenell is on, as well as the race to save humanity. The world's impending doom looms ever closer. Will Josh and Sophie work together to save mankind or will they turn against one another? Will Nicholas and Perenell be able to survive long enough to see the twins through to the end of the war against the Dark Elders? The saga continues...

I'll admit, the first book in the series was not that great. The writing was awkward and clumsy and the characters were flat. The Magician is still not a masterpiece: the action scenes were cheesy, the dialogue was boring at times and very simple, the characters were a little bit flat and the book in general was very clichéd, but it was still far superior to its predecessor. I didn't mind the storyline and once I got into it, I found myself pleasantly surprised by the fact that I quite enjoyed it. Michael Scott has obviously done his research and most of the monsters or deities present in the book are rooted in ancient mythology, like Mars, the Roman god of war, or Nicholas Flamel himself, who was thought to be an alchemist in true-life history. There were a select few action scenes I didn't find too watered-down or cheesy but some of the conflicts in the story are solved using a deus ex machina. In fact the book as a whole seems a little too convenient. Of course it's fiction and the author can write whatever he pleases, but I still think that Sophie and Josh are never in any real danger because somehow they always manage to use one last bit of power, even if they're ready to fall over unconscious, or a warrior like Scatty goes in and does the dirty work for them and gets them out of a mess.

But, for the most part, The Magician was a very enjoyable read if you aren't too nitpicky like me. The plot is imaginative and exciting and (most) readers fourteen and under will be clamouring in droves for the next book when it comes out.

I give Michael Scott's The Magician four out of five stars.      

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