Sophie and Josh are twins. They are currently living in San Francisco with their Aunt while their parents are away on an archaeological dig. When they land jobs in the same street; Josh in a book shop and Sophie in a tea shop the twins think that life is good. Their world is turned upside down when they get caught up in an ancient battle between an ancient race called the Elders. They soon learn the lovely elderly couple who ran the book store Nic and Perri are in fact Nicholas and Perennelle Flammel. Now Josh and Sophie are on the run for their lives as the sinister John Dee pursues them looking for Nicholas and the infamous book.
I was loaned this book by a work colleague who highly recommended it. To be honest I did not know anything about this book and put off reading it for awhile. Then I picked it up and decided to give it a go. I don’t know why I was so reluctant to read it I just was which is strange.
Well straight away I was drawn in. What an exciting book. There was lots of action and adventure that made the story tick along. There were no real slow spots. The author was able to balance the need for explanations, character development and fast paced action.
The mythological aspect of this book is really fascinating. I believe all the characters bar Sophie and Josh are mythological beings from history. There were Celtic gods (The Morrigan), and Egyptian gods (Bast). Then there were the characters who were based on actual historical people who might be borderline mythical themselves such as the alchemists Nicholas Flammel, his wife Perenelle and Dr John Dee. From what I could see on the net the author captured all these characters backgrounds accurately. Scatty was my favorite character she knew how to kick ass (which she should being th founder of several martial arts) and was pretty cluey on the kids and what they were thinking.
Sophie and Josh were an interesting mix. Sophie being calmer and more level headed, and Josh being short tempered and suffering foot in mouth disease. They behave more like brother and sister not twins (which they also admit to in the book themselves). The kids are not orphaned which seems to be a popular way of getting parents out of the picture in Young Adult novels these days. However the parents are effectively out as they are away on an archaeological dig leaving the kids basically alone.
The author did a wonderful job bringing the world the book is set in alive. While part is set in the “human” world some is also set in the “magical” world. When he described the World Tree I felt like I was standing right at its base with the characters. Also the story is told from a few different point of views both male and female. The author did a great job with this as well with neither gender falling into a stereotype.
The main thing I really enjoyed which I have already mentioned was the mythological aspect and it is clear the author did his homework. Any kids reading this book will inadvertently get a bit of an education about deities and historical figures.
I would not be suprised if the rights for this book (and series there is supposed to be six books all up) have not already been purchsed to be turned into a movie. To be honest if this was done correctly it would make an awesome movie. Oh wait just did a quick search on the net and it is being turned into a movie and is in production currently!
My only problem with this book is it is clearly part of a series, you will have to read the books in order, and I would recomend having books 2 and 3 (I believe that is all the author has currently released) on hand to continue reading.
I highly recomend this book to anyone who loves YA.
A chapter sample can be found at the authors website.
Check out TexasRed's review here.