Sunday, October 17, 2010
The Alchemyst and The Magician by Michael Scott
Synopsis: (The Alchemyst) Twin 15-year-old siblings Sophie and Josh Newman take summer jobs in San Francisco across the street from one another: she at a coffee shop, he at a bookstore owned by Nick and Perry Fleming. In the vey first chapter, armed goons garbed in black with "dead-looking skin and... marble eyes" (actually Golems) storm the bookshop, take Perry hostage and swipe a rare Book (but not before Josh snatches its two most important pages). The stolen volume is the Codex, an ancient text of magical wisdom. Nick Fleming is really Nicholas Flamel, the 14th-century alchemist who could turn base metal into gold, and make a potion that ensures immortality. Sophie and Josh learn that they are mentioned in the Codex's prophecies: "The two that are one will come either to save or to destroy the world." Mayhem ensues, as Irish author Scott draws on a wide knowledge of world mythology to stage a battle between the Dark Elders and their hired gun—Dr. John Dee—against the forces of good, led by Flamel and the twins (Sophie's powers are "awakened" by the goddess Hekate, who'd been living in an elaborate treehouse north of San Francisco). Not only do they need the Codex back to stop Dee and company, but the immortality potion must be brewed afresh every month. Time is running out, literally, for the Flamels. Proceeding at a breakneck pace, and populated by the likes of werewolves and vampires, the novel ends on a precipice, presumably to be picked up in volume two. (Publisher's Weekly)
Review-- This book is absolutely amazing! The characters are all fascinating, the plot moves along at a rapid pace, and it is full of all kinds of history and mythology! What's interesting to me is that Flamel is not the "good guy". The twins are actually the heroes of the story, and the characters you are rooting for. While Flamel is not evil, it is hard to know at times what his objectives are. He puts the twins in harm's way many a time, and Josh especially does not trust him. Or his he like Snape in Harry Potter, and we just don't get to see what's really going on? 5 stars from me!
Synopsis: (The Magician)
Flamel and company return in this fast-paced follow-up to The Alchemyst (Delacorte, 2007). The immortal human Nicholas Flamel; Scathach, the veggie vampire warrior; and the mortal twins of legend, Josh and Sophie, are still on the run from the malicious Dr. John Dee. Flamel retains two of the pages of the legendary Book of Abraham, and Dee will do anything to get them. After hopping a ley line to Paris, our heroes barely escape the machinations of Dee's partner in crime, Niccolò Machiavelli. While finding shelter with fellow immortals (Joan of Arc turns out to be a particularly helpful ally), Josh attempts to deal with the fact that his twin sister is now incredibly powerful. Having had her powers "awakened," Sophie's new abilities make him surprisingly jealous—a fact that Dee may find useful. Scott tapers down the sheer breadth of gods, goddesses, legends, and myths already introduced in his first novel, which is a bit of a relief. Even though the plot moves forward at breakneck speed, the author is careful not to lose sight of his characters' struggles or inner demons. Fans of the previous novel will certainly find much to love, root for, and fear in this successful second installment.—Elizabeth Bird, New York Public Library
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Review: Even better than the first! We get a little more character development in this one, especially for Flamel and new interesting character come to light. The plot is still action packed, and the book is very hard to put down! The trip to the Paris Catacombs is fascination! 5 star again!