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The Alchemyst

The Alchemyst is the first in the YA fantasy adventure series The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott.

I know I’m late to this series. Very late. But the fact that the sixth and final novel in the series, The Enchantress, recently came out that my long-held interest in the series came to a head. So, here I am! I’ll be getting caught up on this series, one book a month until I get to The Enchantress!

Let’s be honest: As much as a bibliophile wants to be able to read every book as it comes out, it just ain’t possible! ;)

And maybe you also happen to one of the few book lovers’ that hasn’t had a chance to dive into this series yet – so, let’s learn a little more about it… Opinion to follow, of course!

Sophie and Josh Newman, fifteen-year-old twins, have been enjoying their summer in San Francisco. Sophie’s working at a cute café right across the street from her brother who’s working as an assistant at a slightly eccentric bookstore owned by Nick Fleming, so it’s all good.

That is, until she spies a bunch of indistinguishable men head toward the bookshop, all wearing sunglasses and heavy black coats – strange in eighty degree weather. Suspicious, even.

Thing is, Josh and Sophie don’t know it yet, but Nick Fleming is actually the immortal Nicholas Flamel. Born in Paris in 1330, he “died” in 1418. But his tomb is empty. As is that of his wife’s, Perenelle.

All those years ago, Nicholas became the guardian of an ancient tome, the Book of Abraham the Mage. In it is ever changing information, a small part of which provides the secret of eternal life – the one thing in the book that Nicholas and Perenelle have taken advantage of.

But there is much more in the mysterious book. Things that could be incredibly dangerous in the wrong hands. Possibly even the power to destroy the world…

What Sophie doesn’t know as she watches the unusual men enter Nick’s bookstore is that her and her twin’s lives are about to change forever. Because a treacherous man named Dr. John Dee is planning on taking the Book of Abraham the Mage – and kidnapping the guardians.

And Sophie and Josh just happen to be part of a prophecy – a prophecy that will throw them right in the midst of this ageless battle…

That’s the basic gist for a synopsis!

What did I think?

Well, The Alchemyst was instantly action-packed, providing us with an initially awkward intro to magic and secrets that rather quickly morphs into genuine intrigue and suspense.

One of the things I was most interested in when I heard about this series is the fact that Michael Scott has absolutely no fictional characters in the books besides Josh and Sophie. Everybody else is a figure of history or mythology. Very cool. And I did love the way the author was drenching The Alchemyst into historical and mythological depths while providing a fun, blockbuster feel.

My only problem was that it was so fast-paced from the get-go that I felt a disconnect between myself and the characters. And a slightly cheesy tone that I hoped would dissipate. Which it did, mostly.

The awesome thing about The Alchemyst is that this is a large-scale, cinematic, extremely visual, entertaining book. Despite my continued desire to connect more with the twins, I can’t deny the fascination The Alchemyst provided!

So, onto book two – The Magician!

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