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The Alchemyst Paperback – Jun 24 2008

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Ember; Reprint edition (June 24 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385736002
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385736008
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 2.1 x 20.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 295 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #83,018 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

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)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 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
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. Scully on Feb. 3 2010
Format: Paperback
I think I've found a new book love! Seriously, I haven't been this excited by a book series in ages. The Alchemyst tells the story of the legendary Nicholas Flamel who - along with two teenage siblings that happen to stumble into his world - is forced to flee from the evil beings that have taken his love and the precious secrets of history that he guards.

One of the first things you'll notice when reading The Alchemyst is the incredible amount of research that went into creating this series. It's extremely impressive - every character in the book (with the exception of the teens) is an actual character from history/mythology. This lends an incredible aura of believability to the story because it's so easy to imagine that all these great characters exist as we've heard of them all before. Along with the vast amounts research, it's also clear that an incredible amount of planning went into this book and the series that follows. And there's almost nothing I love more than a well-planned and thought-out series! Especially when everything comes together so brilliantly. The imagery in The Alchemyst is beautifully written in such a manner that you can clearly picture the surroundings, but are never bored with long descriptive passages that don't add to the overall story.

Filled with wonderful characters, natural dialogue, and a gripping plot, this first book in The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series does a wonderful job of laying out a complex and intricate world, while drawing the reader into a fascinating adventure. While directed at the YA audience, The Alchemyst will appeal to adults as well, and I for one am absolutely loving it. I've already read the next 2 books in the series, and am eagerly awaiting #4.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By B. Chandler TOP 100 REVIEWER on May 2 2008
Format: Audio CD
The twins Josh and Sophie start out thee day as normal to find that people they know, they really did not know, and a sane mundane world is anything but. Soon they find themselves part of a ten thousand year old prophecy that may bring about the demise of the world as we know it.

Needles to say I was drawn in to this title by the name of Nicolas Flámel. Instead of a biography I found a story that incorporated many mythical creatures and historic events into a consistent chase of bad guys against good guys that covers many of the major world's well know landmarks mostly in California or off shore. My favorite character is the Witch of Endor only a grand daughter could love.

One warning is that this book is a true cliffhanger and of no use without the second book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kita on June 12 2011
Format: Paperback
My first love has always been fantasy. ALWAYS. My shelf is a serious testament to that. So, when another avid reader suggests to me this book, and I read the back, I think I'm in for an excellent read. (Please note: I may spoil some things for you. Just a warning.)
It was terrible that I found myself highly disappointed.
This book is not for all generations but geared to those who are much younger. (In my defense, I believe that the Hunger Games and Harry Potter did a much better job of this). Josh and Sophie, who appear to be the main characters of the book, are, to put it frankly, childish. Perhaps its due to the fact that they are just introduced and then BAM! you are thrust into the action, but they are your typical teenager there is no doubt of that. And I find that twins being special. . . is quite overused. Yes, it has been well documented through history that twins share a special bond. But to suddenly make them into the "TWINS OF LEGEND, SPOKEN BY A GREAT MAGE" was just overdoing it. It just rang entirely false, and then just sets you up since as soon as you make them into something, one of the twins will always be "GOOD" and the other "EVIL" and I didn't need forshadowing to tell me that. I didn't even need Hekate to awaken Sophie and then "whoops! what about poor Josh?" even that part I was disappointed in. Although this is supposed to be about Nicholas, it just doesn't seem like that at all. Perhaps if Scott had named it the "Secrets of the Elder Race" I think that would have been more apt. You learn more about the elder race and its constituents than of Flamel itself, other that he appears to hold "secrets" and his aura smells like mint, and oh! that Dee has been chasing him for the secrets of the book that Flamel has in his possession. And, yes, he is immortal too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Maurice on July 3 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
A very captivating book which draws you in nicely. You get caught up in the characters. The story eventually gets around to a story about two kids. If you liked the "Rho Ship" series you will like this one as well. It is nice how the author brings in history and explains the events due to some magical reason. Like the "Game of Thrones" the story moves between several characters: Sophie, Josh, Flamel, Perenelle, Dee and Machiavelli.
The book provides lots of intrigue and holds the suspense nicely so that you need to read just one more chapter before putting the book down....well maybe another after that since the author kept them small!!
Moved on to the second book.....
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By Debra Purdy Kong TOP 500 REVIEWER on May 12 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
Fifteen-year-old twins Sophie and Josh are working part-time summer jobs across the street from each other when something extraordinary happens. A man walks into the bookstore where Josh works and suddenly, green and yellow light is darting from the stranger and Josh’s boss, Nick. Things are exploding, the stranger is trying to steal an old book, and Nick is yelling at Josh to get in the basement. Spotting the commotion, Sophie rushes across the street to help. In an instant, the twin’s lives are changed forever. Nick Fleming is not the man they thought he was, but the immortal Nicholas Flamel. Until now, he’s been keeping the ancient Codex away from the hands of evil for centuries. Worse, his wife Perenelle has been kidnapped. In the struggle for the book, Josh inadvertently rips two crucial pages from the Codex which puts all three of them in grave danger.

The Alchemyst is a terrific read. Although written for children in grades 6 to 9, this is one of those books that will appeal to a broad range of ages and reading tastes. Description, backstory, and explanation are elegantly woven into the plot, providing a full, rich read where every page is an unpredictable adventure. The creatures created in the story and their connection to mythology and ancient beliefs is so well done that the explanations Flamel provides in the story actually seem plausible.

I love that the author’s thorough research and expertise not only incorporates mythology but actual people (Nicholas, Perenelle and John Dee) in the story. Some readers won’t be happy that major loose ends are not tied up. You’ll have to read the second installment to see if Nick’s wife is freed and if the other twin experiences the Awakening, but I’d gladly pick up the second book. And isn’t that the true mark of an excellent series?
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