Monday, March 15, 2010

The Alchemyst

The Alchemyst: Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott

My Grade: D-

In a nutshell: don’t bother.

This was the first book I read in my attempt to answer the question, “What’s popular in YA fantasy fiction right now?” Needless to say, my search did not get off to a good start and I finished the book feeling disenchanted and disappointed.  

There is tons of action in the book, but for some reason, it didn’t catch me. I struggled to push through it. I was afraid my quest to read new and riveting YA fantasy fiction would be over before it began.

The characters are flat. Not even hollow – there is no room to fill-in more character traits.

Another turn-off: mixing mythologies. I’ve seen this done well before even though I am not a fan. But Scott throws cultures and traditions together with little regard and even less consideration of their origins. He explains it away with cheap and superficial storytelling. The sad part is, if you are a young person and do not know of the traditions from which he draws his supernatural characters, you will either be contentedly ignorant of this problem or understandably confused.

The main characters, brother and sister twins, do not seem like 15 at all. I was surprised to hear that was their age. But maybe I am out of to uch with what young adult protagonists are like these days.

I know my view is in the minority – this book and it’s sequels have been extremely popular. It’s a New York Times bestseller.

I just don’t get it. It didn’t capture my imagination or captivate my attention.

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Books on this blog

  • City of Bones, Book One of The Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare
  • Eighth Grade Bites, The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod by Heather Brewer
  • Evermore by Alyson Noel
  • Fablehaven by Brandon Mull
  • Magyk, Book One of the Septimus Heap Series by Angie Sage
  • The Alchemyst: Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott
  • The Bartimaeus Trilogy: The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud