Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel

The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel

Michael Scott
Fiction  Series
For ages 12 and up
Random House, 2008   ISBN: 978-0385736008

Josh and Sophie like their summer jobs; Josh is working in a bookshop, and Sophie does a little bit of everything in the coffee shop across the street. The twins are saving up for a car and if they are careful they might be able to afford one in a couple of years. All is going well until one day when "a small grey man" arrives at the book shop. Then all hell breaks loose. A bizarre battle breaks out between the man and Josh's boss, Nick Fleming. Josh watches in bewilderment as the two men fight with looks like magic. Magic in San Francisco? Across the street Sophie sees the window of the bookshop shatter and she comes to investigate, worried about her brother. Before she knows it, she too is caught up in the peculiar events that are taking place in the shop.

Just a short while after the battle ends Josh, Sophie, and Nick are standing in the wrecked shop. The grey man has fled but they soon learn that this is just a temporary situation. They find out that the bookshop owner is not called Nick Fleming at all. Instead he is Nicolas Flamel, an alchemist who was born in Paris in 1330. Thanks to a magical elixir, Nicolas and his wife have been basically immortal for hundreds of years. He learned about the elixir when he read a book, the Book of Abraham the Mage. It is this powerful and priceless book that the gray man, John Dee, came to get from Nicolas. Indeed he has been trying to steal it from Nicolas for hundreds of years. This time he succeeded though, thanks to Josh, he it still missing the last few pages of the book. Nicolas explains that it is vital that Dee should not get these last pages. If he does he will be able to use the book to summon great evil into the world, evil which will destroy all human kind.

Soon the twins and Nicolas are on the run getting help from the most unlikely of characters and taking refuge with creatures which are, at times, quite terrifying. Both Sophie and Josh wish they could go back to being ordinary teenagers with ordinary lives but it would appear that they were destined for something else and like it or not, they were meant to be a part of this weird adventure.

Readers you enjoy fantasy adventures with lots of action and adventure will find that this gripping and thought provoking book will suit their tastes perfectly. Michael Scott blends the mythology of many cultures with a sprinkling of history. He then adds his own fantasy creations and the resulting tale is intriguing and compelling.

This is the first book in what promises to be a very popular and much enjoyed series.

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