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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Alchemyst: Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott

Twin 15-year-old siblings Sophie and Josh Newman take summer jobs in San Francisco across the street from one another: she at a coffee shop, he at a bookstore owned by Nick and Perry Fleming. In the very first chapter, armed goons garbed in black with "dead-looking skin and... marble eyes" (actually Golems) storm the bookshop, take Perry hostage and swipe a rare Book (but not before Josh snatches its two most important pages). The stolen volume is the Codex, an ancient text of magical wisdom. Nick Fleming is really Nicholas Flamel, the 14th-century alchemist who could turn base metal into gold, and make a potion that ensures immortality. Sophie and Josh learn that they are mentioned in the Codex's prophecies: "The two that are one will come either to save or to destroy the world." Mayhem ensues, as Irish author Scott draws on a wide knowledge of world mythology to stage a battle between the Dark Elders and their hired gun—Dr. John Dee—against the forces of good, led by Flamel and the twins (Sophie's powers are "awakened" by the goddess Hekate, who'd been living in an elaborate tree house north of San Francisco). Not only do they need the Codex back to stop Dee and company, but the immortality potion must be brewed afresh every month. Time is running out, literally, for the Flamels.
This book is packed with action, adventure, sci-fi, history, myth and characters that includes humans, immortals, vampires, weres, ancient gods/goddesses and other creatures that are considered monsters. Lovers of Harry Potter, Narnia, Bridge to Terabithia might want to check this book out.I rarely find a book that accomplishes the term of an Alchemist. There's plenty here that made me went rushing to wikipedia. Like the what the heck are the Golems? A research on Nicholas Flamel himself. Book of Abraham, Homo floresciensis, Methuselah Tree, Bastet, necromancy, Dr. John Dee, The Great Famine in 1315, etc... I cannot put it down. Magical and super entertaining. Bravo for Scott, this is a well researched book and he had put a lot of heart into it. The only downside (but not really so much of a hassles) was there's so many mythical creatures I keep on stopping for research. The book also needs a bit of an improvement, Sophie and Josh's role doesn't seem to have that "higher" calling theme. I also wish to see Perry's stronger involvement on the adventures instead of just being locked up in Alcatraz. After all this is only the first book out of the 6. I've also heard from the grapevine that New Line Cinema has bought the film rights on is now currently on pre-production.

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