Wednesday, August 1, 2007

The Alchemyst (Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel)

The Alchemyst (Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel)
Author: Michael Scott
Publisher: Random House

If there is a magical void in your reading life now that the Harry Potter phenomena is drawing to a close, then Irish author Michael Scott has the perfect potion to cure this in the form of his new novel “The Alchemyst: the secrets of the immortal Nicholas Flamel.”

Sophie and Josh are regular twin teenagers whose Thursday afternoon is turned upside down when a magical battle breaks out in the street in front of them. They find themselves in the midst of a century’s old fued between the legendary 13th century alchemist Nicholas Flamel and his former apprentice, the evil and supremely powerful Dr John Dee.

At the crux of this street battle is a book called the Codex which Nicholas and his wife Perenelle have spent their numerous lifetimes hiding. It contains many magical potions and spells (including the secret for eternal life!) which could destroy the earth and all humanity if it fell into the evil doctor’s hands. Chilling it also prophecies “the two that are one must become the one that is all.”

As the battle rages, Perenella is captured by Dee as well as all but two pages of the Codex. An enraged Dee must have the remaining pages to carry out his and the wicked Elder Race’s plan to exterminate human life from earth. Nicholas and the twins, helped by a colourful cast of magical misfits and witches, stay one step ahead of his evil attacks.

But what of the prophecy the codex refers to? Could “the two that are one” be a reference to twins Sophie and Josh? Do they possess previously unknown magical powers that could save the world?

The Alchemyst is a clevely mixed tale of magic with both good and evil duelling it out for supremacy over the unsuspecting humani (humankind) who are in perilous danger from the Elder race.

What I really loved about this book and what sets it apart from others in this increasingly popular genre, was its use of historical fact and legend blended in with the supernatural fiction. Events throughout time such as The Battle of the Somme in World War I and the biblical Great Flood are alluded to as having occurred at the hands the Elder Race during paranormal battles. In this way the book is almost a Harry Potter novel/The Da Vinci Code hybrid which creates one surprising and page turning read.

This is a delightful novel that both young teens and adults alike will want to devour. With its plot richly filled with sorcery, magical battles, strange creatures and storyline twists and turns, The Alchemyst - Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel is certainly a worthy successor to the Harry Potter mantel and its edge of your seat ending will have you ravenous for the next instalment.

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