The Alchemyst by Michael Scott

Title: The Alchemyst
Author: Michael Scott
Series: Nicholas Flamel #1 
Source: Personal Copy
Format: Paperback 
Genre: Speculative Fiction - Fantasy
Synopsis (from book cover):
The truth: Nicholas Flamel was born in Paris on September 28, 1330. Nearly 700 years later, he is acknowledged as the greatest Alchemyst of his day. It is said that he discovered the secret of eternal life. The records show that he died in 1418. But his tomb is empty. The legend: Nicholas Flamel lives. But only because he has been making the elixir of life for centuries. The secret of eternal life is hidden within the book he protects—the Book of Abraham the Mage. It's the most powerful book that has ever existed. In the wrong hands, it will destroy the world. Sometimes legends are true. And Sophie and Josh Newman are about to find themselves in the middle of the greatest legend of all time.

Everything seems normal in the life of Josh and Sophie Newman until the day they find out the truth that has been safely hidden by the couple, Nicholas and Perenelle Flamel, for hundreds of years. On that day, the Newman’s twin finds themselves caught in the midst of a battle that erupts between the immortal Nicholas Flamel and Dr John Dee over the ownership of The Book of Abraham the Mage (or “The Codex”) which holds an immortality secrets and also capable of destroying the world. Dr Dee ends up stealing the book from Nicholas and also kidnaps his wife and confines her on Alcatraz Island. Realising that their lives are in great danger, Nicholas finally explains to the twin how he believes that there is a prophecy in the Codex that mentions the twin and their roles in saving the world. Here begins their journey, where they are joined by a Scáthach warrior in finding the source that could awaken the twin’s dormant magic. With Dr Dee still tailing them, will they manage to find what they are desperately looking for? Or this is just the mark of the end of the world?

The premise features in The Alchemyst is definitely an interesting one. Crossing some historical facts with numbers of mythical details and weaves them together with a good fictional story surely able to create a strong base that can pique the interests of those who enjoy reading works in fantasy genre. Michael Scott indeed came with a lot of refreshing ideas for this book but unfortunately, the execution and the style of writing leaves a lot to be desired. It is difficult to be mesmerised by the story when the flow keeps on being disrupted by unnecessary notions and dialogues. The way the author tries to integrate current pop cultures into the book also feels “forced” and after repeating the same thing couple of times, it starts to get annoying. I believe that there is no need to mention how much the twin misses the internet, the iPod and the laptop over again to make sure readers are attach to the characters and story.

The majority of characters in The Alchemyst are of people with significant historical accounts or of well-known mythical figures. This is another factor that makes this book intriguing but it seems that Scott did not use a lot of these facts to solidify the characters he creates in the book, which causes them to feel rather flat and lack of dimensions. I really wish that the author could fatten the characters and plots a little bit more with the facts that he has in hand to make the story feels even more believable and “complete”. There are also couple of other characters and historical events that I’ve never heard of in this book, so an extra details and explanations could really be a huge plus.

Overall, the idea behind The Alchemyst is vast but reading through it makes me feel like the author just touch things on the surface. This series certainly has a lot of potential, so I’ll definitely keeps on reading to see if things get better in the next instalment. If you’re a hardcore fantasy/mythology fans and rarely expect too much for the material you reads, this is perhaps something that will satisfy you. In my case, it didn’t.

Favourite Quote: I am old now, so old. Do you know how many friends I've buried over the centuries? - Nicholas Flamel

p.s. Have you read any books in this series? If so, what do you think of them? Do leave links to your review so I can read your detail thoughts on it!


  1. OMG!! You read this book already? It's on my TBR list!! The Whole Series..... Btw, now I'm jealous.. haha!!

  2. Yeah, I wasn't taken in by this book either. Great review!

  3. This series just gets better and better though. I hope you stick with it :)

  4. @agirlreads: I am very pleased to hear that! I've the next two books on my shelf, so I'll definitely be reading them. I'm just hoping that it won't be as disappointing as this one. Perhaps it's wise going into the book without expecting it to be a "boom"!

  5. I've never read this series, but I'm glad to hear it wasn't awful, at least! Great review :) I might have to check this out!

  6. It kind of dejavu.I remember him from Harry Potter and The Philosopher Stone =)

    I's a bit let down to know it's not that like what you expecting but hoping the sequels are going to better. Like Inkheart?The sequel works ;p

  7. Hm, it sounds interesting how a bit of history is merged with mythology. But I'm not sure if this is the book for me! Fantastic review, though.

  8. I just read this book and it was ok for me....didn't read the rest. Maybe one day.

  9. I've got this series but haven't read any yet, so many good books and so little time *sigh*. It's good to know that the series gets better otherwise I probably wouldnt make a start on it :-)