The Alchemyst by Michael Scott: Book Review

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The Alchemyst

3 Stars

Josh and Sophie Newman have settled into a summer in San Francisco, living with their elderly aunt as their parents work an archaeological dig, and working summer jobs to save up for a car. But one day, a very sinister man pays a visit to the bookshop where Josh is working. The man appears to be some kind of wizard and he attacks the owner of the bookshop, who fights back–with more magic. What is going on here? The bad guy gets away with a book that seems to be valuable, but not before Josh manages to tear a few pages out.

The bookshop owner turns out to be the infamous alchemist, Nicholas Flamel. He lived about 600 years ago. Turns out he and his wife, Perrenelle, are immortal, and their self-imposed task was to keep the stolen book safe. In the wrong hands, the book could lead to the end of humanity. Saying that the children aren’t safe now that the evil wizard knows about them, Flamel takes them with him as he sets out to get the book back.

This was good, it really was, there just wasn’t anything that made it a stand out for me. I did like Scathach a lot and wish she’d had a bigger part. Hecate (spelling? I listened) intrigued me, and I loved her part of the world. The twins were a little boring. They were pretty generic teenagers. I saw the drama between them coming from miles away. Flamel–eh. There was supposed to be more to him than meets the eye, but he seemed to be pretty straightforward to me. I would have liked to have seen more of Perrenelle as well. Hmm. I think I would have liked a more female-centric storyline, now that I look back at this! The cool characters were the women and they took the back seat.

The idea behind the book was excellent, and I loved the way the author wove so many myths and legends together. I just wish that it had had a little more oomph.

The reader, Denis O’Hare, did a good job. His voices were good, and he didn’t read down to his target MG/YA audience.

Oh, and San Francisco? Watch out for the Morrigan. She has trashed your city in two wildly different books I’ve read. She’s coming for you.

Younger readers might enjoy this more than I did. I won’t be continuing the series.

Read an excerpt.

Find author Michael Scott on his website, Twitter, and Facebook.

Buy The Alchemyst at

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  1. +JMJ+

    I read this just last month and know exactly what you mean by the lack of "oomph"! There were times it felt like the novelisation of a Michael Bay movie. =P

  2. I've read the first three in the series and enjoyed the story. They do get more dramatic as the series continues.

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