September 5, 2009

The alchemyst

Posted in Books tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 11:50 am by sagito

I took to my vacations some books to read in the (few) moments where I wasn’t doing anything (like when we couldn’t go to the beach at 13:00). 😛 I read several books, nut this time I will be speaking about the first volume of the “The secrets of the immortal Nicholas Flamel” saga, called “The alchemyst”, from Michael Scott.

This book tells the story of two apparently normal twin brothers, Sophie and Josh Newman which are introduced to a magic and mythological world through the hard way when the book store of Nick Flemming and his wife, where Josh worked, is attacked by a magician called John Dee. Nick and Perry Flemming (his wife) defend the store with magic arts and lose the battle, allowing John Dee to steal the a very old book called the Codex (or Book of Abraham) from them and kidnapping Perry. This book contains ancient spells, amongst with the secret potion that kept Nick and Perry alive for hundreds of years. With the aid of the twins, Nick Flemming, which is an alias for Nicholas Flamel, starts an epic battle to recover the book and his wife, Perry (who is actually Perenelle Flamel), while they find out that the twins are actually two important pieces of an ancient prophecy, having powers that even they cannot imagine.

The story is incredible and very well written, with some amazing and unexpected twists. When the reader thinks that something is quite predictable, the story takes our mind in a 180º spin and everything is once again impossible to predict. However, some people may find the writing style oriented to children. In my opinion, it is not, it just gives a false sense of simplicity that allows the reader to understand the whole story, but makes us think at the same time.

The only problem I found with this book is that it assumes that the reader knows a whole bunch of things about both mythology and  technology. It was not a problem for me because I actually love both of these topics, but I don’t think that everyone knows what is a Golem, or who are Hekate, Scathach and Morrigan, or even the story of Yggdrasil (the tree of the world, whose roots cross the nine underworlds and keep a legendary monster (Nidhogg) in closure in the dark underworld of Nilfheim). However, the book provides some footer tips that can be quite helpful to understand it, if you have the basic knowledge about mythology.

I really liked this book and its sequel (The magician). I keep waiting for the third volume, called “The Sorceress”. I classify it as a must-read! 😛