Saturday, 21 May 2011

Mini reviews: The Magician, The Sorceress, The Necromancer

So I like to try and stay up to date with the books I’m sent for review so I’ve decided to write a collection of mini reviews to be posted each week to help me keep up to date. This week I'm focusing on the three most recent releases in the Secrets of the Imortal Nicholas Flamel series so I'm all caught up and ready for the fifth release in the series, The Warlock. This week features mini reviews of The Magician, The Sorceress and The Necromancer (all by Michael Scott).

Please note: These reviews are of books tw0, three and four in the series so there could be possible spoilers if you're not up to date with the books. Be warned!

The Magician - Michael Scott

Published: June 2008, Random House
Acquired: Kindly sent for review by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads): After fleeing Ojai, Nicholas, Sophie, Josh, and Scatty emerge in Paris, the City of Lights. Home for Nicholas Flamel. Only this homecoming is anything but sweet. Perenell is still locked up back in Alcatraz and Paris is teeming with enemies. Nicolo Machiavelli, immortal author and celebrated art collector, is working for Dee. He's after them, and time is running out for Nicholas and Perenell. For every day spent without the Book of Abraham the Mage, they age one year, their magic becoming weaker and their bodies more frail. For Flamel, the Prophecy is becoming more and more clear.

It's time for Sophie to learn the second elemental magic: Fire Magic. And there's only one man who can teach it to her: Flamel's old student, the Comte de Saint-Germain alchemist, magician, and rock star. Josh and Sophie Newman are the world's only hope if they don't turn on each other first.

My review: If I had to sum up Michael Scott's Nicholas Flamel series in one word then it would definitely be epic - the action in these books is absolutely second to none and I urge any fantasy fans to snap this series up, I'm not even a fantasy fan but I can't help but be completely and utterly drawn in to Flamel's world.

The mythology in the series is definitely my favourite part and what keeps me moving on to the next installment - I love the inclusion of famous history characters and the amount of research Scott has put into each book is clear. The introduction of Machiavelli in The Magician was brilliant and, villain or not, he's an awesome character.

The descriptions of the Paris landscape are written so well and I continued to be impressed with Scott's writing style. In a series as plot heavy as this it could be easy for the writing to be overshadowed by the numerous characters and exciting twists and turns but that isn't the case at all. Another brilliant installment in The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series.

Rating: B

*

The Sorceress - Michael Scott

Published: May 2009, Random House
Acquired: Kindly sent for review by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads): Nicholas Flamel's heart almost broke as he watched his beloved Paris crumble before him. The city was destroyed by Dee and Machiavelli, but Flamel played his own role in the destruction. Sophie and Josh Newman show every sign of being the twins of prophecy, and Flamel had to protect them and the pages from the Dark Elders.

But Nicholas grows weaker with each passing day. Perenelle is still trapped in Alcatraz, and now that Scatty has gone missing, the group is without protection. Except for Clarent—the twin sword to Excalibur. But Clarent’s power is unthinkable, its evil making it nearly impossible to use without its darkness seeping into the soul of whoever wields it.

If he hopes to defeat Dee, Nicholas must find an Elder who can teach Josh and Sophie the third elemental magic—Water Magic. The problem? The only one who can do that is Gilgamesh, and he is quite, quite insane.

My review: Unfortunately The Sorceress was a bit of a disappointment for me. I'm not sure what went wrong, as I really enjoyed the first two books in the series but the writing just didn't hold my attention in this one. However, the story did have the same high energy point that I've come to expect from Michael scott and there were some fantastic new characters included.

Gilgamesh was awesome and I have to agree with the summary, he is certainly quite, quite insane but that makes for excellent reading. The other character who impressed me in The Sorceress was Josh - he becomes 'Awakened' in this installment and I feel like it was a bit of a turning point for him. He's so much more likable that he was back in The Alchemyst and I've really enjoyed seeing him grow as a character as the story has developed.

However, aside from the addition of Gilgamesh and Josh's Awakening I really didn't enjoy The Sorceress as much as I hoped. I think Scott tried to cram too much into this book so not enough page time was given to the passages I really wanted more information on.

What's interesting is that I gave almost the same critique to the third installment in the Blue Bloods series. Obviously they're completely different genres and types of book but perhaps I'm just over critical of book three in a series - I do always expect each book in the series to be better than the last so maybe Scott set the bar so high with The Alchemyst and The Magician that feeling a little let down by The Sorceress is inevitable. That said, I did still want to give The Necromancer a go, as I'd enjoyed the rest of the series so much.

Rating: C

*

The Necromancer - Michael Scott

Published: May 25th 2010, Random House
Acquired: Kindly sent for review by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads): 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?

Alcatraz:
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.

London:
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. And the twins of legend will make the perfect pupils. . .

My review: Brilliant! After my rather negative review of The Sorceress I'm really pleased to announce that The Necromancer is right back up there with Scott's best writing - in fact, this installment is probably my favourite of the series thus far. Just great!

The Necromancer is a fair bit longer than the first three books and I definitely think it benefits from the increased length. By this stage in the story we've been introduced to so many characters and there are so many locations included that the extra pages really help to give the story of The Necromancer the space it deserves. Grant's writing is back to his normal high standard and I absolutely loved the descriptions of the three main locations in this one: Alcatraz, London and San Francisco.

I also liked that we saw more of Perenelle in this book. I love the chemistry between her and Nicholas so it was great to see her get more page time in The Necromancer. Josh and Sophie are great, as always, and I love looking back at how they both were at the beginning of the series (especially Josh!) to see how much they've grown as the books have progressed.

The ending of The Necromancer - ahhh! So frustrating. I cannot wait for The Warlock to be released so I can get my next Michael Scott fix! I know I'm always declaring myself as a hardcore contemporary fan who won't touch fantasy (any more) but I just can't help myself with this series - and you won't be able to either.

Rating: B

1 comment:

  1. My personal review: Only needed to summarize Michael Scott's Nicholas Flamel string in a phrase this would be legendary - the experience over these textbooks is completely the best and i also need just about any fantasy supporters for you to breeze this series up, I'm not even a wonderland supporter however are unable to assist yet always be totally along with utterly consumed for you to Flamel's planet.

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