Book review: “The Enchantress” by Michael Scott

After five years in the making, we finally have “The Enchantress”, the final book in Michael Scott‘s series The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel.

The official book description:

The two that are one must become the one that is all. One to save the world, one to destroy it.

San Francisco:
Nicholas and Perenelle Flamel have one day left to live, and one job left to do. They must defend San Francisco. The monsters gathered on Alcatraz Island have been released and are heading toward the city. If they are not stopped, they will destroy everyone and everything in their path.

But even with the help of two of the greatest warriors from history and myth, will the Sorceress and the legendary Alchemyst be able to defend the city? Or is it the beginning of the end of the human race?

Danu Talis:
Sophie and Josh Newman traveled ten thousand years into the past to Danu Talis when they followed Dr. John Dee and Virginia Dare. And it’s on this legendary island that the battle for the world begins and ends.

Scathach, Prometheus, Palamedes, Shakespeare, Saint-Germain, and Joan of Arc are also on the island. And no one is sure what—or who—the twins will be fighting for.

Today the battle for Danu Talis will be won or lost.
But will the twins of legend stand together?
Or will they stand apart—
one to save the world and one to destroy it?

“The Enchantress” took me a while to finish compared to the other books because 1) I had to stop and start because of work, and 2) it felt longer and emotionally heavier compared to the others. My somewhat disjointed thoughts on the book:

  • The whole book felt like one extended battle scene. We have old!Prometheus, old!Tsagaglalal, and Niten on the Golden Gate Bridge;  the Flamels, Billy the Kid, Machiavelli, Black Hawk, Odin, Hel, and Mars in Alcatraz; and Scáthach, Joan, Saint-Germain,  Palamedes, Shakespeare, young!Prometheus, young!Tsagaglalal, Virginia Dare, John Dee, Sophie, and Josh in Danu Talis. There’s little room to breathe as the battles rage on.
  • Because the battles rage on and on and on, there’s little further character development. How the characters are at the end of “The Warlock” are basically how they are in “The Enchantress”.
  • Virginia Dare’s bigger role was a nice touch. I would have loved to learn more about who her Elder master was and why she killed him but with an ensemble cast this huge, I’m not surprised that it was never explained.
  • The big reveal about Sophie and Josh’s origins wasn’t just big – it was mind-bending. Seriously. I hate that there was no fanfare – Isis and Osiris just come out and say it – for something this huge. But I suppose in the greater scheme of the story, their origins weren’t that important.
  • I salute Michael Scott’s expertise in mythology and folklore. He managed to wrangle these disparate characters from all over the world and weave them together into an engaging story.
  • That said, maybe he shouldn’t have included so many characters. Sure, they all get their moments but I would have loved more real development as the story progressed. Out of the huge ensemble, my favorite has got to be Machiavelli.
  • Another thing Michael Scott wrangles well is time travel. Done haphazardly, time travel is an awful, awful plot device. But in this case, he plots everything to perfection. I love it! The twist with Josh is especially cool.

All in all, it was a good book and a fitting conclusion to the series. Here’s hoping that Michael Scott will release more short stories (and compile them!) to fill in the (kinda big) gaps in the story. I totally enjoyed “Billy the Kid and the Vampyres of Vegas”.

Overall rating: 4/5 stars.

And I’m finally done! Whoohoo! Now that that’s over, any recommendations for what young adult book I should read (and review) next?

Book review: “The Warlock” by Michael Scott

Photobucket“The Warlock” is the 5th book in Michael Scott‘s bestselling series “The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel“. The Amazon product description reads:

“In the fifth installment of this bestselling series, the twins of prophesy have been divided, and the end is finally beginning.

With Scatty, Joan of Arc, Saint Germain, Palamedes, and Shakespeare all in Danu Talis, Sophie is on her own with the ever-weakening Nicholas and Perenelle Flamel. She must depend on Niten to help her find an immortal to teach her Earth Magic. The surprise is that she will find her teacher in the most ordinary of places. “

I read the last book (“The Necromancer”) at the start of the year so I started off sketchy on the details of what happened but Mr. Scott includes a lot of “Previously, on the Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel” backstory through the opening diary entry and lots of exposition throughout the story. Unfortunately, the exposition is both a boon and a bane as while useful, I found myself bored whenever the information was repeated.

There are quite a few twists in this book, especially where the Newmans are concerned. As to whether the twists are good or just annoying is up in the air – I’ll decide once “The Enchantress” comes out but right now, they’re bordering on annoying.

The book is fast-paced as always, necessary because the in-universe time span between “The Alchemyst” and this one is only one week. While this makes for rapid page-turning, character development suffers as a result. I love Josh so I still find it hard to believe that Josh turned into a wussy, easily brainwashed asshole in the span of what, four to five days? Exposure to Clarent and Virginia Dare are not good enough reasons. At this point, the characters that redeem the book are Scatty, Niten, and Machiavelli. Machiavelli’s shaping up to be my favorite character in the series because of the growth he experiences.

What cannot be faulted is Mr. Scott’s mythology-building. While he didn’t create any of the mythological creatures or immortal personalities, he has this way of weaving them into his narrative that makes their presence work. We get the information needed to understand who they are and their motivations but there are no cheap *hint hint wink wink* in-jokes.

Overall, I’m giving “The Warlock” 3/5 stars. A good page-turner with excellent mythology-building but ultimately somewhat thin and lacking. Hopefully “The Enchantress” will serve as a good closer for the series.