Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Alchemyst #1 Book Review

OK. So I've finished The Alchemyst #1 by Michael Scott. It is the story of brother and sister Josh and Sophie, fraternal twins who are quickly caught up in the world of magic and mythology and legend by Josh's employers Nick and Perry Fleming who turn out to be the Flamels, famed alchemyst and sorceress. Fortunately or unfortunately for the twins their destinies were foretold in an ancient book called the Codex and now they are irreversibly linked to a world where myths and legends have more than a grain of truth in them.
This first book of the series introduces Josh and Sophie and the dilemma facing a world the twins are destined to save or destroy because these two have extraordinary dormant magical powers. They must come into their own and learn to control these powers while being chased by a maniacal magician Dr. John Dee and his dark (evil? possibly) allies.
I thought this was a well-developed and well-researched book. The interconnectedness of each character with historical facts was very well done. For young readers, this book gives the opportunity to explore world history, literature, mythology and science without cracking a textbook. Although after reading it I'm sure they will want to look up some of these facts for themselves. I have not checked the facts for myself yet, but it could easily be done.
Although a great story, well paced and interesting, it does become predictable in parts for someone like me who has read many books about fantasy and magic and watched countless movies in the genre. There were places where the answers to a strange new character or place were obvious, yet Josh and Sophie seemed slow on realizing the truth. But for a young reader, this becomes a journey not only for entertainment but for knowledge as well. It will definitely peak the interest of the reader in many different areas including history, art, science and geography.
It was a very quick read for me on the reader on my phone even at over 369 pages. There was a considerable amount of "name dropping", like one of the characters knowing William Shakespeare. I didn't care for the characters seeming to know many of the famous people in history myself, but again is a great device to link the fiction to fact and continue to create that suspension of belief that allows us to enjoy reading books like this.
Good book for the target audience of young adults, exciting, very dark in some places, but on the whole entertaining. And that's why we read. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars.

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