Author: Michael Scott
The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel #1
Pages [hardcover]: 375
Favorite Character: Scatty
The tomb of Nicholas Flamel is empty. The greatest alchemist of his day supposedly died in 1418, but rumors continue to swirl that he continues to walk among us. Could it be true that this magician/chemist has access to the secret of eternal life? Could the Book of Abraham, which he purportedly owns, hold the key to this elixir? If it does, the theft of this single ancient volume could destroy the world as we know it.
Okay, that summary, taken from Goodreads, doesn’t do the book justice. It’s about more than an immortal Alchemyst. It’s also about his wife [also immortal], his old apprentice [no pun intended, as Dee is also immortal], ancient gods and goddesses, mythical creatures, prophesies, the end of the world, death, destruction, and a pair of twins who unwittingly cause all of these problems.
This plot twists and turns, taking the reader to fantastically described setting with formidable enemies and just as deadly allies. This new view of the world that the twins encounter is filled with magic, mutated creatures, and twisted minds. In The Alchemyst, every legend is given a purpose; every god, his own set of powers.
The twins have the chance to be a fantastic set of characters. What one lacks the other makes up for. Yet they fall short of connecting with the reader, and it left me feeling like it didn’t matter whether or not they survived. I felt no particular preference toward their succeeding, except that I was supposed to, given that they’re part of the leading team of good guys. Yet the evil characters are as well-defined and thought out as the good, if not more so, and I really liked Dee and his employers.
I don’t just think it was because of the lack of romance in this book. Yes, I think this has to be just about the only young adult book out there without some sort of love story, even the hint of one. Perhaps it’s directed towards boys in that respect. In any case, I could appreciate the plot without that added element, as it only served to reinforce the bonds between brother and sister and forced me to focus on the minor characters.
Though I definitely enjoyed this book, and will continue on with the series, I found it lacked something for me. A bit of oomph that would have me proclaiming this as my next favorite series. Because it’s not, nor is it my most hated. For the moment, I’m neutral about it. In that respect, I give The Alchemyst 3/5 stars. If you’re up for a good adventure story, with some myths tossed in, and no romance, this is for you.