Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Alchemyst: Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott (Book 1)

Rating 4.5 out of 5

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.

Other stuff
A chapter sample can be found at the authors website.

Other Reviews
Check out TexasRed's review here.


  1. Great review, Caspette! I've seen this book in the bookstore and picked it and looked at it over and over, but I wasn't sure if I should read it. Now, though, I think I definitely will. I love books where old gods and mythologies come to life. This sounds like it's right up my alley. :)

  2. This does sound good, Caspette. I was about 7 or 8 when my father was taking a mythology class in college. He's the kind of learner (much like me) who has trouble keeping what he's learning to himself and so I got to hear quite a few stories at the time that I might not have otherwise. As a result, he fostered in my an interest in mythology and I still enjoy reading books with mythological aspects to them.

    Thanks for your great review. This one is definitely going on my wish list.

  3. This sounds good. Too good! I can't start another series right now, but will keep it in mind for later. Great review!

  4. These are sitting on my library shelves. So when I get back to school in the fall I'm going to get right to them!! Excellent review!

  5. Oh, Lord ~ not another series to put on the TBR list! :) Thanks for the great review, Caspette. Sounds like my kinda book.

  6. Thanks for the review! This is one that I keep seeing and thinking I would like but have never remembered to pick up. A good review always motivates me to actually get the book!

  7. Great review, I have to say I am interested...writing them down now! Oh and I have to laugh at your comment on my blog and my mental state! :) What a nice giggle on a Monday Morning!

    Don't forget to check out my giveaways! All July's can be found on the left hand sidebar. There's a new one there and another coming soon!

    Take care!

  8. Thanks for this review.
    You hooked me. I have put this book onto my TBR list and am looking forward to the read.

  9. I LOVED this book! I picked it up at my library when it first came out because it had Nicolas Flammel and he was mentioned in Harry Potter. I had just finished the Harry series and needed something new. I was so glad I got it! Unfortunately I haven't read the next one (or two). I got that one from the library too but didn't get the chance to finish it before it was due back. I really need to get that again. Thanks for the great review!

  10. I just finished this book a few days ago. I enjoyed it.
    I'm following you to see what else you read!


  11. Just wanted to stop by and say how much I've enjoyed reading your posts. Your writing is excellent and your pictures and design are stunning !

    Thank you so much for sharing them all !

  12. Great review, really captures the awesomeness of the book :P.
    Enjoyed reading it!

  13. We haven't been able to get a hold of you for BBAW! Please email mypalamyATgmailDOTcom for information about YOUR Book Blogger Appreciation Week nominee.

  14. Where are you? Are you still having trouble with your posts?

  15. Ahhh...Caspette...I have missed you!
    Hope your last month or so has been going well.

    I have this book, The Alchemyst, sitting on my nightstand. Actually, I have started reading it last night...three chapters in and I am very curious.

    I have awarded you a BINGO Beautiful Blog Award for a neighborly blog! You truly do have a neighborly attitude. I enjoy our comment banter.

    Take a look at the following post for further details as to how you too can award this award to others!