2013 Reads: Eighteen {The Alchemyst - Michael Scott}

Saturday, June 1, 2013

This book has been sitting in my TBR pile shelf entire bookshelf (or two, but really, who's counting) since 2007. How do I know that for a fact? When I picked it up and opened to read, out fell a Who will live? Who will die? There Will Soon Be SEVEN! bookmark. Yes, a bookmark advertising the SEVENTH Harry Potter novel. 

You guys totally didn't believe me when I told you I hoard books, did you? Well, now you do. I've owned this book for six years. That's crazy. Even for me. 


Nicholas Flamel is a real person. He is one of the greatest alchemysts in history and he and his wife have been alive since the fourteenth century. He has been mixing the elixir of life for centuries and moving from place to place to keep a low profile - both from the world and from his nemesis, John Dee. Dee wants the book that Flamel has been sworn to protect for almost 700 years - the Book of Abraham the Mage.

But the centuries of hiding have come to an end. Dee has finally found Flamel and has taken both the book (minus two pages) and Flamel's wife. Now, with the help of two teens, Sophie and Josh, Flamel must try and save the world from the destruction Dee intends to bring forth. 


This book really impressed me with its historical characters who were woven perfectly into a modern world. There's bits of history woven into a wonderfully crafted kids fantasy series. I've actually done some research on Dee and Flamel for my MA, and it was so cool to see these people come to life before my eyes. I will say, it was a little distressing reading about Dee as a villain because I never quite pictured him that way in my research. But, that's fantasy and fiction. Anyone can be or become anything, right?

Yes it was a book about twins who happen into a life of magic and power, who also happen to potentially be the key to fulfilling an ancient prophecy, who also happen to seem as though they may be put against each other in some sort of moral, good versus evil battle. Oh yeah, and they have a few days to save the world from succumbing to the ultimate evil. No big deal. But you know what? It does all of that in such a unique, interesting, and engaging way that it never once feels like it's trying to be any other book. Sophie and Josh are interesting (albeit a bit whiney and outspoken) and relatable. Nick and Perry are eccentric - you can tell they care about the twins, but it's still uncertain why they care so much. Seeing this relationship develop will definitely be a highlight of the series for me, I'm sure.

My only concerns are as follows:
- It's marketed as YA, but feels a bit more juvenile than your average YA novel.
- Josh and Sophie are way too young to have jobs in bookstores and coffee shops. Particularly because Sophie was the only one working at the coffee shop at the beginning of the novel.
- The timeline. This whole book happens in two days. I know fantasy requires a suspension of belief, but this is really, really pushing it for me. There are still only 24 hours per day!

Despite these (and, really? they're only minor quibbles) Michael Scott has written an interesting and fast-paced first novel in a series that I am sure will only get more exciting with each book. I am incredibly interested to see where Sophie, Josh, Nick, and Perry go from here. 


Title: The Alchemyst (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel #1) 
Author: Michael Scott
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Thriller, Fiction (Historical), Mythology
Medium: Paperback, 375pp
Publisher: Random House (May 2007)
Date Read: 29 April 2013
Source: Borders (back before book 7 of HP was released - I found the bookmark for the Book 7 Release in it!)
Recommended For: Middle School +, Interests in Medieval History, Fantasy Lovers
Challenges: Goodreads,  Off The Shelf, TBR Pile, 

First Line: "OK - answer me this: why would anyone want to wear an overcoat in San Francisco in the middle of summer?" 
Favorite Line: Love is the water of life, drink deeply.
Last Line: Perenelle's smile was terrifying. "On the contrary," she replied. "It is now only just beginning." [whited out for spoiler's sake]


  1. Thanks for your thoughts on this book. I often have trouble figuring out where the line between YA and juvenile is. But I don't really mind juvenile books, so I guess it doesn't matter. :)

  2. Great book, fantastic read. Blends historical and mythological figures into an intriguing fictional story. Moves at a good pace with plenty of action and mystery. would recommend it for teens and adults as well.


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