Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Alchemyst by Michael Scott

I read this book on a recommendation from my sister-in-law, an avid reader and middle school teacher.  I enjoyed it, primarily because it fits all the action of a good fantasy novel into a relatively short, easy read, but I was disappointed with the ending.  It's definitely a young adult novel aimed at teenagers, but it has appeal beyond young adults if you're okay with a little modern language and technology mixed in with your fantasy world.  The plot of the novel centers around two twins, who find out they are working for Nicholas Flamel and his wife in separate shops at the beginning of the novel.  Nicholas Flamel is the famous alchemyst of the title, who has been brewing a potion since the Renaissance in order to keep himself and his wife Perenelle alive until the modern day.  Soon, the twins are transported into a fantasy world populated by Elders (including a vampire assassin on the good guys' side -- probably my favorite character) and other mythological creatures.  The novel draws toward a close with a climactic battle in a parallel world almost entirely inhabited by these mythological creatures, which is inventive and different than other things I've read, but also a little disappointing because the battle doesn't resolve everything, and we're soon brought back to the "real world" without having every question answered.  I'm being a little vague on purpose because I hate giving away endings, but just know that if you really like the book, you'll probably have to buy the whole series to get all the answers you want.  The writing is pretty good and the pace of the plot is fast, so I recommend the book overall to anyone who wants to enjoy a new take on the fantasy genre from a young adult's perspective.
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