The Alchemyst by Michael Scott

October 12, 2012
By MichelleW SILVER, Brooklyn, New York
MichelleW SILVER, Brooklyn, New York
7 articles 0 photos 0 comments

“The two that are one must become the one that is all… Twins with the auras of silver and gold, a brother and sister with the power to either save the world ... or destroy it." This is part of the prophecy mentioned in the New York Times bestselling novel The Alchemyst written by Michael Scott, one that not only affects the ancient world of Danu Talis, but ours as well.

This first book in The Series of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel centers around two everyday twin teenagers, Josh and Sophie Newman, who are thrust into the world of myths and magic after their legendary and immortal summer employers, the Flamels, lose The Codex, the most powerful book in the world. When the last pages of this book, containing the important Final Summoning (a calling for the Dark Elders, which are exactly what they sound like) are stolen by Dee, Nicholas and Perenelle Flamel as well as the twins must catch the thief… before he gets a hold on the rest of The Codex.

The Alchemyst is definitely a fantastic read. It’s unique because it incorporates real people who have lived in the past, historical events, and a more recent setting: San Francisco. Michael Scott blended these three different groups together and created a fantasy worth reading. Nearly every character is part of a myth or history, with the exception of the twins. The history and characters blend smoothly and give the reader something to think about.

Sophie and Josh are relatable characters who react to this new magical world in the way that most would, with denial. Scathach, the “Warrior Maid,” lets the reader witness an interesting fight, with her smooth, dance-like moves and quick maneuvers. Perenelle never ceases to amaze with her arcane knowledge and logical thinking. Nicholas Flamel has a smaller role in the story despite being part of the title, but that doesn’t stop his intelligent input from positively influencing the twins’ actions, which in turn, affects the world.
The book is narrated in third person, and the voice provides detailed descriptions about the fantasy world. The Yggdrasill, or “World Tree,” is one of the more stunningly described places in the book: “the topmost branches and leaves were wreathed in wisps of white cloud… the roots that burst from the ground like clawing fingers were as tall as cars.” When reading a fantasy book, a thorough narration like this is a must.

If you’re expecting a full-fledged, absolutely malicious villain, you won’t find it here. The main antagonist, Doctor John Dee, is somewhat bland and hides in the shadows of his Dark Elder employer. He’s more like a servant than the one who’s in charge, making the encounters with him uninteresting. He restricts his actions, and if not for his powers, he would be an insignificant opponent.

Despite that negative, this International Reading Association & Young Adult Reading List choice is a quick-paced novel that will catch your attention after every chapter. Sophie and Josh’s adventures will take you on an exhilarating journey as well as keep you wanting more. A true taste of the magical world of San Francisco awaits you, and will make you question the boundaries of “normal.”

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