Alchemyst (Nicholas Flamel)Title: The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel
Author: Michael Scott
Narrator: Denis O’Hare
ISBN: 9780739350324
Discs: 8 CDs / 10 hours 2 minutes
Pages: 375 pages
Publisher: Random House, Inc. c2007.

The skin on the man’s hand was moving. It was slowly flowing, shifting viscously down into his sleeve: it looked as if his fingers were melting. A glob of what appeared to be gray mud spattered onto the street.
“Golems,” Perry gasped. “My God, he’s created Golems.”
“Gollums?” Sophie asked, her mouth thick and dry, her tongue suddenly feeling far too large for her mouth. “Gollum, from Lord of the Rings?”
Perry was moving toward the door. “No: Golems,” she said absently, “Men of Clay.” (18)

Fifteen year old twins Josh and Sophie are enjoying their new lives in San Francisco while their parents are on an archeological dig overseas. However, things quickly change when Jon Dee enters the book shop that Josh works at and promptly wrecks havoc, stealing an ancient book of magical secrets. The book shop owner’s wife is also taken as a hostage. Josh and Sophie become involved in a centuries old battle over the book. Little do they know however, that they might be more involved in this fight then they realized. With an immortal and a vampire and several encounters with the Elders, Michael Scott forces his characters to question who they can really trust in The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel.

I know, I know, I have read quite a bit of fantasy this year, and I feel absolutely horrible starting yet another series that I probably won’t finish any time soon, contributing to grave confusion on my part when I go to read the second or third book months/years later. That being said, this book amazed me. It stuck with me, even when I took a two week hiatus from it because I forgot to pack the discs on a long awaited and desired vacation. I picked it right back up because it was a unique, interesting, and captivating story.

Denis O’Hare does an amazing job narrating this eclectic and diverse range of characters, with accents ranging from Irish to French and otherworldly. The characters are delineated nicely, with the possible exception of the twins who sound very much alike and might have been done intentionally. Josh and Sophie’s dynamics are portrayed very well, and the jealousy, love, and support are all there, with family being a common theme. The detailed back story is nicely told, although some might consider it a little long winded, I feel it’s necessary, especially in the first book of the series. Descriptions in the book are excellent, in-depth, and transport readers to into the story. Scott’s mythology is drawn mostly from Irish mythology, which is refreshing change from the ever popular Greek mythology. Readers are left to find out themselves who the Morrigan, Scathach, and Hekate were in actual mythology. An author’s note specifies that Nicholas Flamel and John Dee were actual people, with events based on historical speculation and the Codex is based on fact as well. Fans of Harry Potter and Riordan’s The Lightening Thief series will probably fall in love with this series as well, which won’t be complete until 2012.

The books in the series are titled as follows:
The Alchemyst
The Magician
The Sorceress
The Necromancer (publish date May 25th 2010)
The Warlock (publish date 2011)
The Enchantress (publish date 2012)