Top critical review
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"I am legend. Death has no claim over me, illness cannot touch me. . . For I am the immortal Nicholas Flamel".
on 26 August 2008
THE ALCHEMYST is the beginning of a new children's series with magic firmly at its heart.
Sophie and Josh Newman are twins who are staying in San Francisco during the summer while their parents are on an archeological dig. Josh has a job at a small bookshop, Sophie works in a coffee shop directly across the road. On May 31st, their life changes forever as they are drawn into a battle that has been going on for more than a lifetime. For Josh's boss, Nick Fleming, is really Nicholas Flamel, the famous alchemyst who discovered the secret to eternal life. For centuries, Nicholas has been guarding the sacred book The Book of Abraham the Mage, as this book enables him and his wife to stay youthful, but also because the power it contains could destroy the world if in the wrong hands. For years, Dr. John Dee has been trying to steal this book, and on May 31st, he does just that. Now nothing will ever be the same again.
That is basically the plot. Sounds pretty good, and the action starts straight away. However, I came away from this book feeling slightly disappointed. For me, the writing was not as exciting as it could have been. Whilst the beginning was brilliant, in the middle the pace did slow down quite dramatically. And I don't feel that Scott did a very good job of developing his characters - I cannot really say that I cared for either Josh or Sophie particularly. However, what I did love about THE ALCHEMYST was Scott's use of mythology and science as well as magic. It gave the book a little extra something, rather than just relying on magic to excite.
Still can't say that I was enthralled by it though - and I'm not sure if I'm going to bother checking out the next installment.