The truth: Nicholas Flamel was born in Paris on September 28, 1330. Nearly 700 years later, he is acknowledged as the greatest alchemist 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. That's exactly what Dr. John Dee plans to do when he steals it. Humankind won't know what's happening until it's too late. And if the prophecy is right, Sophie and Josh Newman are the only ones with the power to save the world as we know it. Sometimes legends are true.
And Sophie and Josh Newman are about to find themselves in the middle of the greatest legend of all time.
©2007 Michael Scott; (P)2007 Random House Inc. Listening Library, an imprint of the Random House Audio Publishing Group
"Proceeding at a breakneck pace, and populated by the likes of werewolves and vampires, the novel ends on a precipice, presumably to be picked up in volume two." (Publishers Weekly)
Glad to be part of the audible community and I hope that my reviews help to choose the right book and share my love of reading.
This book is not awful, not bad, but certainly not good - it's a stewpot. The author repeats himself a lot and uses the same analogies over and over. "like the "his tongue was too big for his mouth"... or "he had the same thought than his twin".. I got it after the first two times... twins tend to think alike. The author was influenced by Lord of the Rings and other mystical book one might have read. Not much originality, if you ask me.
I bought this book because it was on sale, I would NEVER spend a full credit or anything over $8.00 on any of the sequels. The narrator did a good job.
I will leave the problems with character development to other reviewers. The book reads like a first draft, cynically published in this unpolished form with badly conceived main characters (the twins) to sell to the huge YA market.
The writer could not bother to keep track of his own writing. Redundant vocabulary is common. He uses the word "countless" several times in a short passage, his favorite lazy word for great quantity. He often employs "countless" for things readily counted (the number of gargoyles on Notre Dame, for example).
Even a magical otherworld must have some internal logic, but the author has lazy inconsistencies. Such as the description of Yggdrassil, when we are first introduced to the world tree, compared to what happens to it later, indicating an absurd change in size.
I hope the author uses a thesaurus, and a good editor, in the future.
There was too much coolness ( this book explains everything) . Vampires, old gods, historical figures, there was just too much. Once the Irish lady said she fought with Joan or Arch and she was a Vampire, I stopped reading.If you like that sort of thing this is the book for you it was not for me.
Really interesting take on magic and reality. If you like Harry Potter this is a good choice. I found it very entertaining and was glad when Audible got the sequel!
Traveler, Reader, Political Blogger.
A very enjoyable first volume. Easy to follow, lots of action and magic set in modern times. A great book for all ages.
I was intrigued by the concept of the book and it's "is it fiction or not?" inspiring premise. I don't mind reading young adult fiction, in fact, some YA titles have been some of my favorite reads. When I finally became a reader I learned quickly that just because a book falls into the YA category doesn't mean it can't have depth and be entertaining. But this book's pacing was sooooo painfully slow I couldn't even finish it.
The writer kept having the characters go over the same plot points as a means of underscoring how amazing and fantastic the experience was. "Flamel is immortal?! But that means he must have met people..*gasp*... from history!!!" I get that characters are supposed to be stunned or experience disbelief in a sci-fi/fantasy setting, but once they've agreed to go on the adventure surely their must be more interesting things to talk about than the same shocking disbelief over and over.
The characters were flat and two dimensional and when they were put in danger, I found myself not really caring if the bad guys won or not. There was no sense or scope of tension for me as a reader to care if anyone was hurt or if the day was saved.
The narrator did a fine job. Nothing exceptionally good or bad about that aspect of the listen. I just don't think he had much to work with.
I am a person that tries and get through 1 book a week if possible. I am Dyslexic so this is really the only way I can get through a book. I have listened to more book in a year than I read my first 20 years of my life. I found the joy of audio books in the early 2000 and have been a audible customer since 2000 or 2001. I have over 490 books in 2 different accounts and listened to 90%.
Not in my top ten but I will finish the series. Great way to look at magic in a modern world.
I am always a sucker for the good guys and this book is no different. Also already tired of the boys complaining
The book of Abraham
It is supposed to be a book for teen, but the main character are terrible role model for teen. If you are in trouble run to your suppose friend than abandon them to their death while you run with your tail between your legs.
Characters that behave dismally, I root for the antagonist and want the protagonist to be killed off. The main characters have no personal character at all.
Great performance wasted on this book.
I would cut out the main four characters and replace them with other that are more likable.
The book could be so much better if the protagonist have a redeeming character. I would not recommend this book to my worse enemy.
Books are where I can clear my head and fall into another world for a short while.
Great plot with lots to look forward to in the future books. There are many characters to remember throughout this story. I enjoyed the mix of history, mythology, and current times all rolled into one.
A stunning story, packed full of twists and turns to constantly keep you on your feet. Though the beginning was quite slow and I didn't completely understand anything that was happening until about half an hour in, I was still loving every moment of it! Endless references to every mythology makes this story even more endearing to the average young historian or general lover of gods and goddesses. If you love Percy Jackson, you will adore The Alchemyst!
"great performance but lacking story"
Maybe I'm too old for the books, but i really struggled to follow the character development. It has some great moments, but it always brought itself back down with unrelatable character feelings; like having been drawn into a magical world, had your whole life upheaved and survived many near death experiences, the thing you worry about most is the loss of some data on your laptop?! No, it isn't...
"Very entertaining series of books"
The first book is already great and it makes you want to listen to the rest of the books to get the story completed.
The only disturbance is the change of the narrator in book 3, but for good as he performs even better.
The story is binding and it mixes nicely myth and reality.
"myth and magic"
Very entertaining story. I thoroughly enjoyed it and cannot wait to read more. very good.
wonderful story line with all the twists and turns kept me listening right to the very end definitely cannot wait to listen to book 2 to see how nick and the twins and their vampire friend get out of any next catastrophe/s wonderful inventive plot beautifully narration definitely a good buy Mrs j b Williams.
"Exciting at first, but putters out"
This came highly recommended from a friend who has been reading the series and whose opinion I respect and as a result I think I was expecting a lot more. The beginning of the book grabs your attention and sets you up for an exciting ride but it just didn't sustain that level of interest the whole way through. Overall, it's a good book, but not gripping enough on first listen.
"Enjoyable fantasy story for older children"
Fast paced throughout, and a complete fantasy world that took me away from the mundane for a while!
This obviously revolves around Nicholas Flamel, who JK Rowling also mentions in Harry Potter - these books are not linked in any way as Nicholas Flamel is a real person that both authors have decided to concoct a story around. Whilst this book is fantasy/witches/wizards etc I would say it was for older than the first 3 or 4 Harry Potter's, equally I am in my 30's and enjoyed it! It's easy reading at a good pace with a good plot, I'd recommend it!
"Difficult to put down"
I was researching books to read to my daughter as a follow-up to Harry Potter and found the Alchemyst... Really like the mix of ancient and modern, mythology and history, and regularly found myself looking up characters on the internet. The pace of the book is good and I found Denis O'Hare very easy to listen to. The use of different voices for each character makes it easy to keep a grip on the story.
I have since listened to the whole series and thoroughly enjoyed it. And will definitely buy the paper versions to read to my daughter.
I finished the last book in the series about a year ago, but still have flashbacks to the stories.
This book has it's pros and cons just like any other book. What I liked about it is the magic and the tone of familiarity which resonated with me. This book is chuck full of mythologies and other known and historical fantastical elements. And since they are already known they make a connection with the reader as soon as they are mentioned. This made the book easy to get into. Having said that, it took me sometime to get over the mundane-ness of the first chapter or so. This book did not start with a high note, so to speak. The mundane start, I guess, is the other side of the familiarity. It was so mundane though that after two sentences or so I unconsciously put the book down to do something else and only realised that I wasn't reading anymore after a few minutes of not reading anymore. And it kept on like that, me putting it down again and again, until I bought the audiobook version. I listen to it on my way to work and on my way home until I finally finished the book. That is how I cheat into finishing a book, by the way. In the end, it wasn't bad. It was only a truggle at the beginning, then the book ran on an even tempo. What I didn't like was the small tendencies of some characters to act stupid. But thank god, none of them is ever out and out too stupid to live (TSTL)! It is pretty obvious that the character acting stupid who is otherwise wise, practical and with very good self-preservation instincts, is the author's attempt to create a situation in the story so that the heroes/heroines could save the world. Unimpressive plot development. Another thing which did not endear this book to me is the cliffhanger ending. So my advice to those thinking of reading this book, is to have all books in this series handy before starting so that you can dive straight into the next book as soon as you hit the cliffhanger ending.
"Dull, simplistic, badly written and dull dull dull"
the author throws in the high gears immediately, sparing no mythology in this hotch-podge book that makes little sense and in which I didn't find a single character that I cared about.
"Does not deliver on potential"
I am very disappointed in this book. The idea behind it has such potential: a strong mentor character living through the centuries, twins with untapped powers, immortals, magic and all sorts of mythological creatures.
However the language used feels dumbed down and there is no change to give personality to characters from different and opposing camps, sexes and ages. Dr John Dee uses the same nickname for his enemy as Nicholas Flammel for his ally and refers to the two kids at "the twins" in exactly the same way as everyone else even when he does not know this is their relationship. If not for the narattors skil and the frequent self reference to names bu the charactersl i would not know whose story I am in through much of the book.
It feels lazy. And its a shame because attention to detail would lift this book from a way to kill time on the tram to a great novel I'd want to read the sequel to. As it is i am just finishing it out of principal but could care less what happened to anyone. Its a shame because i was so excited when the narrator started ...
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