Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott

The Alchemyst (Nicholas Flamel, #1)The Alchemyst by Michael Scott

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I did not enjoy this book very much. I felt as though it wasn't very well written, although it's very popular with the kids; in fact, book four, _The Necromancer_, came out recently and kids are asking for it. Because of this, I decided to listen to, at the very least, book one...and now I know that this series isn't for me.

Before I discuss the plot, I also want to mention that my dislike of the book also has to do with the reader on the audio book; I had a huge problem with him. His 'voices' for each character are a bit annoying and his mispronunciation of words is simply unacceptable; "disoriented" is NOT pronounced "dis-or-ee-en-TATE-ted" ; "allied" is NOT pronounced "a-lied"...those were the ones that stuck out to me the most. I mean, come on!

Josh and Sophie are fifteen-year-old twins who get mixed up, completely by accident, with magical beings. It all starts when Josh, who works for a man named Nick Fleming, is in the store when a man comes in and attacks Nick; he forcibly takes a book from him, but Josh manages to save the last few pages. The fight between the men involve things Josh has never seen before--magical things. Josh and Nick are able to safely escape with Sophie (who saw the fight from across the street and joined them).

It turns out that Nick and his wife--who was kidnapped during the fight--are magical beings who are hundreds of years old. The book that the evil man took from Nick (whose real name is Nicholas Flamel) is a codex that is thousands of years old and holds all sorts of magical information. He tells the twins that they are in danger now that the evil man (whose name is Dr. John Dee) knows who they are; and now that he has most of the book, he will allow dark magic to rule the world.

Nicholas and his friend Scathach (who is also hundreds of years old) learn that Josh and Sophie could very well be the twins foretold in a prophecy. They all need to work together to fight the evil Dr. John Dee and his plan for a world controlled by dark magic.

This plot sounds pretty interesting, doesn't it? I mean, this is the type of book I reach for when reading children's literature; I enjoy these types of fantastical elements in a book. However, this book is just so poorly written that I couldn't get into it. I felt like it could have been shorter had it been edited some; because the omniscient narrator oscillates between Josh and Sophie depending on whether or not they are together in a particular scene, there is a repeating of facts that weren't even necessarily to understand the plot; for example, they each say a number of times that they have always had to stick together because their parents work a lot and they move a lot. Okay--after hearing one of them say it, let's move on!

Nonetheless, kids seem to like it; maybe the writing gets better in the later books; however, this reader isn't going to find out.

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