The Alchemyst by Michael Scott
Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel Series #1
YA Fiction/Adventure/Fantasy, Published 2008
Read June 2010, 375 pp.
Challenges: 2010 YA Reading Challenge, Series IV Challenge
Shelf Life: 1 year, which is 1 year too long! – Purchased 6-1-09
He holds the secret that can end the world.
The truth: Nicholas Flamel was born in Paris on September 28, 1330. Nearly seven hundred years later, he is acknowledged as the greatest Alchemyst of his day. It is said that he discovered the secret of eternal life.
The records show that he died in 1418.
But his tomb is empty.
The legend: Nicholas Flamel lives. But only because he has been making the elixir of life for centuries. The secret of eternal life is hidden within the book he protects – the Book of Abraham the Mage. It’s the most powerful book that has ever existed. In the wrong hands, it will destroy the world.
That’s exactly what Dr. John Dee plans to do when he steals it. Humankind won’t know what’s happening until it’s too late. And if the prophecy is right, Sophie and Josh Newman are the only ones with the power to save the world as we know it.
Sometimes legends are true.
And Sophie and Josh Newman are about to find themselves in the middle of the greatest legend of all time.
Touted as the true heir to the Harry Potter series, The Alchemyst does not disappoint. For some reason I put this book down last summer with about 100 pages to go. As I recently picked it up again, I decided to reread the first 250 pages to refresh my memory on all of the story’s action. I’m still wondering WHY did I put this down?? If you love history and a lot of magic, you’re going to love this tale of two fifteen-year-old twins, Josh and Sophie, who get tangled up with the infamous Nicholas Flamel and John Dee as well as numerous known mythological gods and the entire book spans only two days.
John Dee was a true alchemist of his time during the Elizabethan Age. He worked for Queen Elizabeth I and signed his coded messages with “007.” Nicholas Flamel lived during the late 14th to early 15th century as a bookseller and scrivener and actually came across the Book of Abraham, referred to as the Codex. He traveled Europe for many years trying to figure out its true secrets. He and his wife Perenelle disappeared and returned with a fortune and no one ever found out how they came about all the money. After they died, thieves and grave robbers searched and searched for traces of their fortune, never to find any gold or their remains in their tombs. The Flamel home is one of the oldest surviving buildings in Paris.
I absolutely love the real history behind Scott’s fantastical adventure tale as well as the sarcastic humor throughout. I think this is a great summer read for the young adult crowd as well as anyone looking for a book with nonstop action throughout. Find out more about the real Nick, Perry, and Dee! I definitely can’t wait to find out what happens next in The Magician.
The thick pages were about six inches across by nine inches long and were composed of what looked like pressed bark. Tendrils of fibers and leaves were clearly visible in the surfaces, and both were covered with jagged, angular writing. The first letter at the top left-hand corner of each page was beautifully illuminated in gold and red, while the rest of the words were written in reddish black ink.
And the words were moving.
Sophie and Josh watched as the letters shifted on the page like tiny beetles, shaping and reshaping themselves, becoming briefly almost legible in recognizable languages like Latin or Old English, but then immediately dissolving and re-forming into ancient-looking symbols not unlike Egyptian hieroglyphs or Celtic Ogham.
-description of the Codex or the Book of the Mage – p.26-27
“There is something very wrong with this house.” Sophie strode into her brother’s room, holding her expensive cell phone up to her face. “I can’t get a signal anywhere.” She moved around the room, watching the screen, but the signal remained flat.
Josh looked blankly at his sister. “Wrong with this house?” he repeated incredulously. Then he spoke very slowly. “Sophie, we’re inside a tree! I’d say there’s something wrong with that, wouldn’t you?” -p. 124
Every magician has his or her own distinctive odor; rather like a magical fingerprint. You must learn to heed your senses. Humans use buy a tiny percentage of theirs. They barely look, they rarely listen, they never smell, and they think that they can only experience feelings through their skin. But they talk, oh, do they talk. -N. Flamel p. 149
“How do you know where we’re going?” [Sophie] whispered, bringing her mouth close to his ear. All the rooms looked identical to her.
“When we first came into the house, I noticed that the walls and floor were dark, but as we moved down the corridors, they became lighter and paler in color. Then I realized that we were walking through different shades of wood, like the rings of a tree trunk. All we have to do is follow the corrior that leads to the dark wood.”
“Smart,” Sophie said, impressed.
Josh glanced over his shoulder and grinned. “Told you those video games weren’t a waste of time. The only way not to get lost in the maze games is to watch for clues, like patterns on a wall or ceilings, and to keep a note of your steps so you can retrace them if you need to.” -p. 173