Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Necromancer - Michael Scott

Title: The Necromancer (Book 4 in The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series)
Author: Michael Scott
Publisher: Delacorte Press, 2010 (Hardcover)
Length: 388 pages
Genre: Young Adult; Fantasy
Started: May 31, 2010
Finished: June 2, 2010

From the inside cover:
San Francisco:
After fleeing to Ojai, then Paris, and escaping to London, Josh and Sophie Newman are finally home. And after everything they've seen and learned in the past week, they're both more confused than ever about their future.
Neither of them has mastered the magics they'll need to protect themselves from the Dark Elders, they've lost Scatty, and they're still being pursued by Dr. John Dee. Most disturbing of all, however, is that now they must ask themselves, can they trust Nicholas Flamel?
Can they trust anyone?

Dr. Dee underestimated Perenelle Flamel's power. Alcatraz could not hold her, Nereus was no match for her, and she was able to align herself with the most unlikely of allies.

But she wasn't the only one being held on the island.

Behind the prison's bars and protective sigils were a menagerie of monsters-an army for Dee to use in the final battle. And now Machiavelli has come to Alcatraz to loose those monsters on San Francisco.
Perenelle might be powerful, but each day she weakens, and even with Nicholas back at her side, a battle of this size could be too much for her. Nicholas and Perenelle must fight to protect the city, but the effort will probably kill them both.

Having been unable to regain the two final pages of the Codex, Dee has failed his Elder and is now an outlaw-and the new prey of all the creatures formerly sent to hunt down Flamel.
But Dee has a plan. With the Codex and the creatures on Alcatraz, he can control the world. All he needs is the help of the Archons.
But for his plan to work, he must raise the Mother of the Gods from the dead. For that, he'll have to train a necromancer.

This series is so many kinds of awesome, you just have to read it and join the masses that already love it. The first book in this series, The Alchemyst, first came out in 2007, so it's had a few years to garner readers. I joined the bandwagon when book 2, The Magician, came out in 2008. My nephew, who will be begging me to drive over and let him him borrow this book now that I'm done with it, got addicted last year when The Sorceress came out. For those of you that aren't familiar with this series, let me give you a quick summary. This series is a brilliant urban fantasy that includes mythological figures from every tradition in a unique world-building setup. Essentially the world is ending because waring factions of gods either want to save the world or destroy it. Immortal humans Nicholas and Perenelle Flamel search for the "twins of legend" that have the power to influence the earth's fate in either direction. Twins Sophie and Josh Newman are just those twins, each working under the "Flemings" for their summer jobs. With various historical figures (made immortal in this universe) chasing them, the twins need to come into their natural powers and decide who to trust when all they seem to be hearing is lies from all sides. The whole series thus far has taken place over the course of a week, so there's a lot happening in a short span of time and you really need to keep track of everything that's going on. What's unique about this series is the immortals themselves. The gods chose humans they like and give them immortality, and the immortals are all famous historical figures like John Dee, Niccolo Machiavelli, Billy the Kid, Miyamoto Musashi, Joan of Arc, and William Shakespeare! The combination of mythological figures and historical figures just makes my geeky self giddy, I love when new characters are introduced because it's fun to see how the author writes their personalities. My personal favourite is Machiavelli, not just because he's Italian, but because he's really more complex than he seems. Plus he's a such a jerk, and I love my bastard characters.

Anywhoo, enough of the series in general, on to this specific book. Dee is on the run from his master because he's failed miserably thus far, Nicholas and Perenelle are still aging and the threat of dying very close on the horizon, the monsters on Alcatraz are waiting to be released and wreak havoc on the human population, and everyone wants the twins on their side. I think what's most apparent is the lying. Sophie and Josh both know that they're being lied to by everyone, especially the Flamels, but they can't get a straight answer out of anyone. The twins are purposely kept ignorant by all parties because everyone wants the twins on their respective side because of their power. Being teenagers, they hate being lied to, so you just know this is going to blow up in everyone's face eventually. It's like watching a car crash, you know what's coming but you can't stop any of it. You also see more of how much their experiences and powers have changed the twins, and each in different ways. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to see what's coming, but that doesn't mean you don't enjoy the ride any less. The book is structured just like the previous ones-each chapter covers the perspectives of different characters in different areas (Sophie and Josh with the Flamels, Scathach and Joan in their Shadowrealm, Dee outrunning the various things out hunting him etc). Usually a series this long (6 planned books) starts to lag by this point, but luckily that's not the case here. All the books are very plot-driven, and there's a lot happening so there's no room for things to be boring.

If you're already a fan of the series, you've probably already read this. If not, start with book 1 (The Alchemyst), become a fan, and read this!

Thoughts on the cover:
This series has great continuity between all the covers, this time we have the black colour scheme with the appropriate symbols represented in the novel (including kanji, yay!). With only two novels left, I should take bets on what colours they will be...I say green and orange.

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