Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Alchemist/The Magician

I recently finished reading The Magician from the series The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott. I picked it up after Mark (Signal vs. Noise) reminded me of it. I had read the first book, The Alchemist when it came out (last year?).

Anyway, the story revolves around two teenage twins who are prophesized for greatness, and the attempt to save them by Nicholas Flamel; and to capture them by John Dee. Many of the characters are either real, historic figures, or are a take on established mythical figures. The books are, I believe, aimed at teens, but are extremely enjoyable for adults. More after the pictures.

Now, many of us know Flamel from the first Harry Potter book, but he is a historical figure who was believed to have discovered the Philosopher's Stone. I freely admit my ignorance here. John Dee was the court sorceror to Elizabeth I. In The Magician, Nicolo Machiavelli is a major character (no spoiler here).

I am a slow reader, and I plowed through both of these books in rapid fashion. The pacing is excellent, the story is exciting, the characters are likeable (including the antagonists). My only detractor is that Michael Scott uses a lot of technology, primarily communication tools. Characters email and use cell phones. I worry that this will prematurely date the books. I am always behind the power curve on the now way of doing things (I just broke my text messaging cherry this year), so if things seem like last year to me, they are going to be way behind for the more hip. For right now the emailing and such stand up, and are not so integral to the story that their inclusion damages anything.

If you like magic, action, fantasy, or travellogues, you should enjoy these books. The third book, The Sorceress will likely focus on Perenelle Flamel, Nicholas' wife. It is due out next spring. The plan is for six books in all. The official websites are here: USA, UK, or go here for Michael Scott's official page and links to sites for other countries.


Reis O'Brien said...

Sweet! Thanks for reviewing these. I've seen them in the stores and have thought about picking up the first one, but I need more books in my "yet to be read" pile like I need a whack to the forehead with a claw-hammer.

Which I don't.

Still, just might have to pick these up!

Darius Whiteplume said...

I live to serve :-)

They really are quick reads. I could not put either of them down.

Unknown said...

Glad to see there will be enough time for me to finish some of the Borderland compilations before I need to start reading The Sorceress

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