Author: Michael Scott | Website | Twitter |Release Date: May 22, 2007
Publisher: Delacorte Press (Random House) | Genre: Fantasy, Alternate World Fantasy, Supernatural, Witch, Magic Adventure | Pages: 400 |
Today’s book has been one of those stories in my TBR brain file for YEARS. In fact, even before Harry Potter came out, I was super intrigued by the stories of Nicholas Flamel and the Philosopher’s stone. I’m a legends and myths kind of gal at heart (it’s the whole fantasy love thing.) However, I think I was subconsciously waiting to start this story until the very last one came out–just so I wouldn’t have to wait for the ending!
I borrowed a copy from my local library. I was not compensated in any way for my review (cross my heart) nor did I promise a good rating. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% mine. Marvelous Middle Grade Monday is hosted every Monday at author Shannon Messenger’s blog.
The truth: Nicholas Flamel was born in Paris on September 28, 1330. Nearly seven hundred 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 books 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 steal 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.
-via book jacket
5 Reasons Why This Books is Marvelous!
- I sort of already gave my #1 reason away in that The Alchemyst is this amalgam of stories! Scott has created this fantastical adventure based on history, myths, and legends of the past. Nicholas Flamel was actually a real person as is his wife and the villain Dr. John Dee. But beyond those two characters, Scott’s concept of magic and The Elder Race are based different myths: from Egyptian to Greek to King Arthur. I LOVE this because I love how Scott has weaved together all sorts of stories to create something entirely his own.
- This book is so character heavy. We are first introduced to Sophie and Josh, fifteen year old twins. Sure, their age definitely suggests this as a YA read, but I really think middle graders will enjoy it as well! The two are seemingly normal, everyday kids until magic (science) comes into their world. I feel like readers will be able to relate to the two extremely well because not only are they realistic in characterization, but they are realistic in nature. Sophie and Josh are just kids trying to fit into the world. Beyond the twins, we meet Nicholas and his Wife Perenelle, and then Dr. John Dee, who are all set up to be fascinating and intriguing. I’m not even going to get into the rest of the characters because I challenge you to discover who they are through their myths!
- Usually I’m a super fast reader, but I found myself taking this book slowly because I didn’t want to miss anything. Scott has filled The Alchemyst with so many tiny details that this is a read you have to just slow down and experience to take every bit of it in. Scott’s research and extensive knowledge of myths & legends is every bit apparent in this first book that I cannot even imagine what the rest of the series is like.
- Um–this is definitely an action packed read! From the very first chapter, readers will be sucked into this ridiculously crazy and fantastical adventure. I love how this story crosses subgenres of fantasy in that it is both magic adventure and alternate world. The story seemingly takes place in the world as we know it–but there are talks and parts of the Shadowrealm, which are worlds that those of the Elder Race have created. However, the idea of magic in this story goes back to alchemy which is a forerunner of chemistry as the goal of alchemy was to turn metals into gold or create the elixir of life (immortality.) Because Scott has mashed together history, mythology, and different legends, there’s some sort of adventure around every chapter in this story. I refuse to give away any spoilers in this book because I feel it’s a need to read–you have to read it to have the adventure!
- The Alchemyst is one of those books that makes you want more–which is great because it’s part of a six-book series with two short e-books–but also because it encourages readers to explore beyond the story. I’m almost positive (just have to get the ok from my supervisor) that I’m going to use this story for a myths and legends unit in my student teaching. I feel this is a story that will draw kids into reading but also allow them the chance to discover how a story can be based on history while introducing them to the idea of myths and legends.
Overall, it’s a super fun and fantastical read and I cannot wait to jump into the rest of the series!
Book Talk: Have you ever read The Alchemyst or the rest of the series? Do you like how Scoot weaves together multiple myths and legends? What’s your favorite part o about this first novel?