“The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel: The Alchemyst” Book Review

Naryah Quinn, Staff Reporter

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  “The Alchemyst” is the first book in the series called “The Secrets of Immortal Nicholas Flamel”. This spell bounding series was created by no other than the Irish author, Michael Scott in the year of 2007, and completed during 2012. It has sold up to 150,000 copies as of March 27, 2008. It has even managed number two on the New York Times Best Seller Children’s Books list on Aug 26, 2007, and many other teen awards, which impressed me. So I had to check out what’s all the rave with this book.

    The novel is based off of these two twins, Sophie and Josh, who working there summer jobs when suddenly a mysterious men enters Josh’s and Nicholas’s and Paranelle’s book store. This grabs Sophie’s attention, and she comes over to the scene. The men are actually golems and their leader is Dr. John Dee. They attack Nicholas and the others and steals Paranelle, Nicholas’s wife, and the Codex, a book that holds all sorts of powerful spells and the teachings of magic. But Josh manages to take the last two pages of the Codex, which are key to “The Final Summoning” that Dee needs to summon the Dark Elders, those who are giving Dee immortality and Dee must serve them. Dee learns about the missing pages, and so he tries to get them back with ancient goddesses as his allies, golems, and using controlled animals. For their safety, Nicholas tells the twins about him, his wife and, Dee and the mythology on their planet, and tells the twins they are part of the prophecy in the Codex and takes them to Hekate’s, a goddess, to. They are the key to stopping Dee and the gods if their powers were awakened. They also dodge all of the obstacles Dee and the goddesses are throwing at them.

    One big thing I can say about this book is the excellent pacing. It’s not too slow that it will bring boredom to the reader, but too fast that it can’t give readers a chance to breath. It flows nicely well with each paragraph more interesting than the last. The action keeps you on your toes with some great suspense. Sure, it does action to increase the suspense, but unlike repetitive car races or gun fights in movies, the action is well timed and is actually major to the plot. That’s what I really like about it: the pacing and action. So if you want good suspense and action, then this book is right up your alley!

    Mythology is pretty well used in this book too. Every character in the book is based off of mythological beings or real historical people, except for the twins, and Scott brings them to life. It adds a very interesting background to the story and the characters drives the story forward. When I read about these mythological beings conflicting with our protagonists things can escalate quickly, I mean like in a snap! It just gives me hype when I read those scenes!

    Sophie and Josh are relatable in the story. Their reactions would be similar to my own or any person in the situations they’re in. But I wish they had more to their personalities, a better backstory to flesh them out and I wish they had less qualities of a typical teenager. This shows that they lack complexity. They’re also so out of place in this story, and I wish Nicholas Flamel was the protagonist instead of the twins so we can focus on him much more. Why not focus on him? He’s over 650 years old and still going because he’s immortal, he’s also the greatest alchemyst of all time and has such a rich history. That’s the thing I don’t get. I know Scott wanted the twins to have a prophecy about them and wants Nicholas to guide them through their journey. But why not focus on the more interesting character? At least their relationship with Nicholas is interesting, especially later on in the story.

    This book isn’t perfect and there are flaws that I didn’t enjoy. There are some plot holes that bug me when I read the story. For example, there was a weakness of iron. The weakness was explained near the middle of the story, but could’ve been useful to the protagonists in the beginning or during the climax to easily defeat their enemies. Then there was an antagonist who also had magical and mythical swords, but didn’t actually explain how and when he got them in first place. And if he did had swords, why didn’t he used them in the beginning of the story when he came to his targets prepared? There are so many question left unanswered. The plot holes in this story leave me feeling mixed about this book, but this is just the first book in the series and so I’m going to let it slide for now and hope they’re cleared up in the rest of the books.

    Overall, I like most of the concepts in this book. It’s nicely written with a great suspense to keep you reading. And so if you like magic, mythology, and great suspense and action, then this book will definitely fit your bill. Yet the twins don’t really blend well with story, and I think Nicholas should take the lead, but that’s just my person opinion. The plot holes spoil the story, but it’s pretty fun to read, and so they probably won’t be any trouble. Great book either way, and so I totally recommend it.

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“The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel: The Alchemyst” Book Review