Sunday, May 30, 2010

Premature Book Review: The Necromancer

Book four of The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel is The Necromancer. When we last left our heroes, they had battled Doctor John Dee and Niccolò Machiavelli in Paris, won and then escaped to America to retrieve Flamel's wife Pernelle. Dee, having been beaten is now to be punished for his failure (if his master can catch him), and the Flamels are dying from lack of the Elixer of Life.

As a book, this one carries on as the previous entries do. The most difficult part is keeping a sense of time. At the halfway point of book four the action has only gone on for a week. It seems longer, but the characters acknowledge this as well. Either it is a clever literary device, or else Scott understood the pacing problems and is trying to write them away by acknowledgment. Fortunately it is not a major distraction.

This book brings us more mythological and historic figures, including Aoife (pronounced "Eva") who is traditionally the sister of Scáthach in the Ulster Cycle, as well as Virginia Dare who was the first English child born in the Americas. There is also an expansion of the Central Americican and perhaps First Nations mythology with the inclusion of Quetzalcoatl and the Mayan realm of fear, Xibalba.

Now, you may remember that I thought Michael Scott discussed technology and the internet too much. This is a bit true in the first two books, but books three and four have less of this influence. This strikes me as a slow and deliberate device. The more removed from the world the twins Josh and Sophie become, the less dependence on technology there is.

If you have a taste for youth literature, or just good stories, you will likely enjoy this series. I imagine they could be read independently, as with the long frequency between books I tend to forget what happened previously, but there is a story arc to consider. The Necromancer is definitely a turning point in the series, which appears to total six books. Like Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire or The Ersatz Elevator it is the point where things really start to change. Major characters have been defined and the action is ready to progress to climax. While the books are aimed at teens, it is similar to Treasure Island or Oliver Twist in their adult appeal.


Brooke from The Bluestocking Guide said...

Nice review. I think I'll post my review at the end of this week.

Darius Whiteplume said...

Hi Brooke. Thanks for stopping by, and glad you enjoyed the review. I'm looking forward to yours.

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