Thursday, September 13, 2012

Review: The Alchemyst

The Alchemyst by Michael Scott
Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel #1
Published January 1st, 20107 by Delacorte Press

Nicholas Flamel was born in Paris on 28 September 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 and Nicholas Flamel lives. The secret of eternal life is hidden within the book he protects - the Book of Abraham the Mage. It's the most powerful book that has ever existed. In the wrong hands, it will destroy the world. And that's exactly what Dr. John Dee plans to do when he steals 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.
I had high hopes when I picked up The Alchemyst. At the time, I was fresh off the Harry Potter Series and had a bad case of 'Post-Potter Depression'. The idea of learning more about the intriguing and mythical 'Nicolas Flamel' (which I had heard of before HP) instantly captivated me, and the book blurb only added fuel to the fire. So promising.   Sadly, about halfway through I had to give up on this one. The story at hand really didn't match out with the favorable synopsis and to be honest, I found myself wondering what exactly I was reading more than once before I decided to give up.

I found the protagonists of The Alchemyst, Sophie and Josh to be very flat and one-dimensional. They spent most of the time confused or panicky and quite frankly, I found them annoying. You'd think that out of two protagonist, at least one would have captured my fancy. Yeah, I thought so too, but apparently not.

Also, considering the book series here is named after Nicholas Flamel, I was expecting a lot more of him front and center; not as an almost background character, which was the case here. Making him a titular character on the book cover almost seemed gimmicky. At the very least, if he was not to be the main character, he should have at least taken up the wise-advisor role. Which he didn't, not really. The man has obviously lived a very long life, so there would have been plenty of information or plot to fill this book with. Why mention him in the title if he's barely developed or even present in the book?

Every time I walk by The Alchemyst and the rest of the series in bookstores, I get a pang of regret. This had the potential of being an amazing series, and going by the blurb, I was so sure it would be more than just something to attract Potter-Heads. I still think Nicholas Flamel as a character could work wonderfully in the right series with the right plot, but sadly, this wasn't it for me.

My Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

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