Reviews for Alchemyst


Booklist Reviews 2007 May #1
When 15-year-old twins Josh and Sophie inadvertently become involved in a plot to steal the Codex from their friend Nick Fleming (aka Nicholas Flamel), they are propelled into a fantasy world of golems, wereboars, and many other creatures that inhabit the netherworld between good and evil. Also known as the Book of Abraham the Mage, the Codex contains the secret formula for eternal youth, but that's just one of the book's wild powers that fuel the twins' adventures. Scott offers a classic fantasy, with mythological references and inferences that are well integrated and do not slow down the exciting action. The writing and story line have a flamboyant style that will put readers on the edge of their seats as they rush to the final page, pausing along the way to savor the author's vivid descriptions of worlds and events. Readers will actively root for the good guys in this exhilarating fantasy--if they can figure out who they are. ((Reviewed May 1, 2007)) Copyright 2007 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2007 Fall
Nicholas Flamel is a fourteenth-century alchemist posing as a modern-day San Francisco bookseller. When a magical book is stolen, he--with the help of his wife, a set of teenage twins, and various gods--must retrieve it. The many point-of-view switches are confusingly dizzying, but readers will be dazzled by the action scenes and cliffhanger ending. Copyright 2007 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2008 Spring
Nicholas Flamel is a fourteenth-century alchemist posing as a modern-day San Francisco bookseller. When a magical book is stolen, he--with the help of his wife, a set of teenage twins, and various gods--must retrieve it. The many point-of-view switches are confusingly dizzying, but readers will be dazzled by the action scenes and cliffhanger ending. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2007 May #1
This first in a planned series borrows characters from history, legend and mythology, but is set in modern time. The juxtaposition of our reality with magic and myth is riveting if one is willing to overlook one tiny glitch in the design. History's greatest alchemist, Nicholas Flamel, has been guardian of a magical book, The Codex, for eons. The Codex contains the secret of eternal youth and keeps the ancient, dark "Elder Race" from world dominion; representing the Elders is a devious human, Dee. Caught in the middle of the age-old struggle are teen twins Sophie and Josh. They are accidental participants in Dee's attempt to steal the Codex and destroy Flamel and his wife (but if they have been mixing this formula for eons, why do they need the recipe?) It gradually becomes clear, though, that Sophie and Josh hold potentially great powers and play an essential role in fulfilling a prophecy foretold in the Codex. The lines between good and evil blur when Sophie's magical powers are awakened, but Josh's are not. The story moves breathlessly fast, with riotous confrontations featuring beasts, Egyptian gods, witches and the walking dead. By the last page of this exhilarating journey, it's delightfully clear that the ending is merely the beginning. (Fiction. 11-15) Copyright Kirkus 2007 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2007 March #1

Twin 15-year-old siblings Sophie and Josh Newman take summer jobs in San Francisco across the street from one another: she at a coffee shop, he at a bookstore owned by Nick and Perry Fleming. In the vey first chapter, armed goons garbed in black with "dead-looking skin and... marble eyes" (actually Golems) storm the bookshop, take Perry hostage and swipe a rare Book (but not before Josh snatches its two most important pages). The stolen volume is the Codex, an ancient text of magical wisdom. Nick Fleming is really Nicholas Flamel, the 14th-century alchemist who could turn base metal into gold, and make a potion that ensures immortality. Sophie and Josh learn that they are mentioned in the Codex's prophecies: "The two that are one will come either to save or to destroy the world." Mayhem ensues, as Irish author Scott draws on a wide knowledge of world mythology to stage a battle between the Dark Elders and their hired gun--Dr. John Dee--against the forces of good, led by Flamel and the twins (Sophie's powers are "awakened" by the goddess Hekate, who'd been living in an elaborate treehouse north of San Francisco). Not only do they need the Codex back to stop Dee and company, but the immortality potion must be brewed afresh every month. Time is running out, literally, for the Flamels. Proceeding at a breakneck pace, and populated by the likes of werewolves and vampires, the novel ends on a precipice, presumably to be picked up in volume two. Ages 12-up. (May)

[Page 61]. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2007 May

Gr 6-9 -Scott uses a gigantic canvas for this riveting fantasy. The well-worn theme of saving the world from the forces of evil gets a fresh look here as he incorporates ancient myth and legend and sets it firmly, pitch-perfect, in present-day California. At the emotional center of the tale are contemporary 15-year-old twins, Josh and Sophie, who, it turns out, are potentially powerful magicians. They are spoken of in a prophecy appearing in the ancient Book of Abraham the Mage, all but two pages of which have been stolen by evil John Dee, alchemist and magician. The pursuit of the twins and Flamel by Dee and his allies to get the missing pages constitutes the book's central plot. Amid all this exhilarating action, Scott keeps his sights on the small details of character and dialogue and provides evocative descriptions of people, mythical beings, and places. He uses as his starting point the figures of the historical alchemist Nicholas Flamel and his wife, who have found the secret of immortality, along with mythical beings, including the terrifying Scottish crow-goddess, the Morrigan; the three-faced Greek Hekate; the powerful Egyptian cat-goddess, Bastet; and Scathach, a legendary Irish woman warrior and vegetarian vampire. While there is plenty here to send readers rushing to their encyclopedias of mythology and alchemy, those who read the book at face value will simply be caught up in the enthralling story. A fabulous read.-Sue Giffard, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, New York City

[Page 142]. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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VOYA Reviews 2007 June
Nicholas Flamel is a legend. Seven hundred years ago, he was the greatest alchemist of his day because he possessed a secret formula guaranteeing him immortality. The formula is hidden in the Book of Abraham the Mage, an ancient book of magic that Flamel is sworn to protect. The book is also coveted by his most feared enemy, the evil sorcerer Dr. John Dee. Dee has forged an alliance with the Dark Elders, members of a race of godlike beings that roamed the earth long before humans. With the book in their possession, they can return the Dark Elders to power and enslave the human race. But Flamel has a secret weapon in teenaged twins Sophie and Josh, who have untapped powers that might be the only hope for the human race. This crackerjack fantasy presents a wonderful array of magical creatures: mud golems, were-creatures, and a delightfully punk female vampire warrior named Scathach. The plot zings along at a satisfying pace with enough battles and magic to satisfy the most jaded teen fantasy fans. Yet it is not just a plot-driven fantasy-Sophie and Josh are fully realized characters who engage the reader with their struggle to comprehend the terrible implications of their newfound powers. Teens who enjoy fantasy, particularly fantasy that is not burdened with endless characters and plot lines, will devour this entertaining new offering to the genre.-Jan Chapman PLB $19.99. ISBN 978-0-385-90372-1. 5Q 4P M J Copyright 2007 Voya Reviews.

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