“The Alchemyst” by Michael Scott

the-alchemyst-book-cover

He holds the secret that can end the world.

The truth: Nicholas Flamel was born in Paris on September 28, 1330. Nearly 700 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.

 

Review:

Well, it’s finally happened here at New Book Smell Reviews – a book I couldn’t stand so much that I couldn’t even finish it.  This was a hard one for me.  The book comes off as a YA novel, and IMHO, should be with the subject matter, but is actually (as it turns out) written in a genre referred to as “juvenile fiction”.  That’s a good way of describing it.  I couldn’t get the word “immature” out of my head as I read it.  The part that makes me kind of confused however, is that the story isn’t bad – it’s the writing that drove me nuts.  I felt that things were over-explained, as in “Yeah, I get it.  You didn’t have to bother spelling that out for me.”  And the young teen characters made poor choices that just leave you rolling your eyes – like the time somebody tells them not to leave the room they are in because it’s not safe, and they immediately leave the room without a second thought and run into danger.  Also, the time they start looking around for cameras because they’re pretty sure they are on a hidden camera reality show had me rolling my eyes – it took away from the magic for them to go there.

Another thing that bothers me is the Harry Potter connection to this book.  I am guessing there are a huge percentage of readers (me included) who saw “The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel” and picked it up thinking it was some sort of cool spin-off.  To me, the author is capitalizing on JK Rowling’s huge success, and I guess what I am saying is leave the Harry Potter spinoffs to her.  That’s her territory, and ain’t nobody gonna do it better than JK herself.

I give this book a 2 out of 5 stars.  I gave it a 2 instead of a 1 because the story isn’t bad.  I could see a movie geared towards late elementary/middle school aged kids that would probably be better than the book, and do fairly well.  I am not 100% sure that I wouldn’t like these books myself if I were quite a bit younger.  For a 28-year-old who just came off one of the best adult novels I have ever read, this just wasn’t my piece of pie.  I won’t be finishing this series, but I may give it to my 7-year-old daughter to read in a few years.

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