The Magician (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel)
To be honest, my one complaint from Book 1 (The Alchemyst) turned out to be a huge plot point in this book, which was slightly less than pleasant. (Again, I can’t tell you what it was without spoilering Book 1.) However, I still enjoyed the hell out of this book. The characters remain reasonably vibrant with a little deepening as the plot develops. I have to say, holy crap Perenelle is completely awesome. She kicks ass and outsmarts pretty much everyone, which was so gratifying to read.
Finding themselves in a storage room in Sacre Couer church, Sophie, Josh, Scathach, and Flamel have entered Paris. This city used to belong to Nicholas Flamel, but no longer. Now it belongs to Niccolo Machiavelli and he serves a master who has no care for the greater good, or at least not humanity’s greater good. Battling Machiavelli and Dee, Sophie, Josh, Scathach, and Flamel must find a way to train Sophie, Awaken Josh, find the Codex, and rescue Perenelle before time runs out and the Dark Elders return to rule.
Once again, the action is constant. Even when there’s no action, Scott writes in such a way that you know the action is coming… and coming soon. The sense of immediacy is the same, never letting up. Even in their downtime, when Sophie gets to learn fire magic and Josh learns how to hold his sword, the immediacy never really drops because both the twins are doing things that are critical to the plot.
As to the characters, there are two that spring immediately to mind and I love them both. Perenelle and Joan are majestic. Perenelle ends up locked in a cell in the very bottom of Alcatraz in a situation that easily qualifies as dire. She doesn’t mope at all. She just lays back and waits for the ghosts to come to her. You guys, that is f@%&ing insane. Of all the places I really never want to get locked, Alcatraz is damn near the top of that list for me, especially if I can see and hear the ghosts. In that case, there’s no effing way I’m going to come out with my sanity intact. Perenelle is a rock star and I love her for it.
Joan is exactly how I would hope her to be. She is opulent and fearless. There’s a point when a Valkyrie cuts her way through the front door of Joan’s house and tells her to stand aside. Joan, of course, throws the comment back to the Valkyrie and starts the fight. It’s perfection. The way she treats Sophie when she arrives speaks of such a depth of compassion that it could only exist in someone of legend, but Scott goes a step further and makes her into a modern human. She loves her car and mourns it when it is so thoroughly destroyed. However, when asked what she’s thinking about, she simply responds that she’s going to fix the car back up to mint condition and then never take it out of the garage. It’s such a small thing, but it does so much to establish her humanity.
The story takes place entirely in Paris this time, which only serves to make it that much more enjoyable for me. In book 1, I got to nerd out over worldwide events that were written into the story’s universe. In this book, it felt a little more personal, since they were French bits that were absorbed. The catacombs of France, a dinosaur stomping down the Champs Elysee, a meeting at the Eiffel Tower, all of these things are clear in my imagination and allowed me to sink even deeper into the story. Even if you didn’t study French, all of these places exist in everyone’s imagination thanks to Hollywood.
4 ink bottles. It’s an action packed story of magic, gods, with some rock n’ roll thrown in for good measure.