"Two days ago Sophie Newman had been an ordinary American teenager, her head filled with normal everyday things: homework and school projects, the latest songs and videos, boys she liked, cell phone numbers and Web addresses, blogs and urls." Now, life is drastically different. Her powers have just been Awakened by the Witch of Endor, who taught Sophie the Magic of Air and made her hypersensitive to all sights, smells, sounds, touch, and taste. She's on the run for her life from the immortal magician and necromancer John Dee, and her twin brother Josh wants to be Awakened and equal to his sister. Jealousy is rearing its ugly head.
The immortal alchemist, Nicholas Flamel, leads their small band of fugitives to Paris in search of another Elder to train Sophie and awaken Josh. With them is Scathach, the Warrior, whose "fighting style is at the heart of just about every martial art." Unfortunately, Flamel's wife Perenelle is not with them. Imprisoned by a Sphinx on Alcatraz Island, Perenelle waits, powerless, for a chance to escape. She and Nicholas have less than a month to live. They're ageing fast, their immortality draining from them, and if they do not reclaim the Book of Abraham the Mage back from Dee, they will die.
If only their deaths were the worst of it.
The Book of Abraham holds more than just the formula for immortality; it contains all the history and secrets of humanity, including spells that could heal the world and return it to Paradise, along with ones that could destroy everything, or even worse, hand everything and everyone over to the power of the Dark Elders. The bad thing is that Dee has the Book and wants nothing more than Flamel's death and the rise of the Dark Elders to the rightful place of power. The good thing is that Josh has the two most important pages from the Book, and Dee can't use the book until he gets the pages.
Even better is that Josh and Sophie appear to be the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy -- "The two that are one must become the one that is all." Legend predicts that twins will be born with pure silver and gold auras, and that their powers will bring about the end of the age. Josh and Sophie have those auras, and Sophie's powers have already been Awakened. The question is: what kind of end will they bring with them? Good or evil?
It all depends on who controls the twins, doesn't it? If John Dee gets his way, the Dark Elders rule the world and humanity as we know it will end. If Nicholas Flamel gets his, he and Perenelle will survive, the twins will save the world, and the Humani will continue to flourish. But even that depends on whose story they believe.
Who is, in fact, telling the truth? Is Flamel really working for the good of humanity or does he have some other motive? Who really does he serve? After all, just a couple days ago, Josh and Sophie were regular teens and living regular lives. This whole world of magic and myth didn't even exist! How are they supposed to know who to believe?
Picking up right where THE ALCHEMYST left off, this 2nd of 6 books does not disappoint. Conspiracies, magic, and battles mix with friendships, doubts, and betrayal to make for good characters and an entertaining read. As with the first installment, this book plays with myths and legends, combining them all into a single storyline that makes sense of everything. Remember, at the heart of every myth and legend lies a grain of truth. King Arthur and Excalibur, Joan of Arc, the great battle Ragnar'k, the disappearing islands, and the dark secrets of ancient Paris, along with legendary creatures like the Sphinx, dragons, oni, vampires, trolls, wyverns, boggarts, minotaur, and more. THE MAGICIAN is a mythological thrill ride you won't want to miss. You'll want to read the first installment before picking up this second part.
Enjoy them both . . . this ride is just getting going.
--- Reviewed by Jonathan Stephens
--- Copyright 2008 TeenReads