Friday, 28 March 2014

The Alchemist by Michael Scott

The first instalment of the Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series tells the story of how Josh and Sophie Newman meet Nicholas and his wife Perenelle, and about their first meeting with the nefarious Doctor John Dee. Throughout the book, various mythological characters are referenced and met, such as Scathach, the warrior maiden, the witch of Endor and Hekate, the goddess with three faces. This provides a realistic point of view to the book, and kind of automatically creates it's own back stories, that can be experience with some research, or alternatively, some googling.
The story has it's own take on magic, suggesting it as an expansion of the aura with each character having their own colour, and odour for that matter. This makes for an interesting concept and, if you're quite impressionable like me, an infuriating reminder that another great way of writing magic has been taken.
Each character is written brilliantly, even if I do find some characters like Hekate changeable.* Dee and Flamel are written perfectly, stealing the story from our two main characters. If anything though, the greatest character is Perenelle. The way she is written is very entertaining, and the pure will and determination of Flamel's wife is the key principal to her realistic characterisations.
The plot is simple, too simple perhaps, and could be simplified to this: Josh and Sophie stumble across Perenelle being kidnapped and, being children from a mysterious prophecy, are taken by Flamel to Scathach who suggest she goes with them to Hekates house. Arriving there, they start to receive their magic, but have to leave in a hurry because of a battle. They seek out the witch of Endor for assistant and then fight zombies. The book ends there. You may not think of that being fair, but trust me, once you've read it, you'll think it is. The book is brilliantly written, yes, but the plot, despite being interesting and fun, doesn't really grab the imagination in a way that makes you desperate to read more. I, personally, have a rule, if you don't want to read the next immediately, it isn't worth reading. Obviously some books are exceptions, such as James Bond, Sherlock Holmes and Charlie Bone, but this isn't. Despite a mild curiosity as to what Scott has in store for the Newman twins, I'm not overly motivated to read further into this world.

Besides the plot, my main grievances with this book is simply the american spelling. This may seem petty, but throughout the book, words such colour and odour are misspelt, and word such as boot and lift are replaced by 'trunk' and 'elevator' which is quite annoying indeed! But apart from that, my only problem is the the need not to have to read further books.

In conclusion, the Alchemist by Michael Scott is an interesting book, alright, but it isn't the most intriguing thing I've ever read, and definitely doesn't leave me wanting more.
Because of this, I give it six out of ten.

*that's a joke you'll only get if you've read the book, by the way.

No comments:

Post a Comment