Books

Book 443: The Magician (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel #2) – Michael Scott

Scott, Michael - The Magician (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel #2)Picking up immediately after the events of The Alchemyst, the second book in the series is just as action packed and full as the first!

The Magician again takes place over a period of days and this time moves us from San Francisco, California to Paris, France. The same cast of characters is here and this book introduces two of my favorites, Niccolò Machiavelli and Joan of Arc, and gives further insight into the strongest female character in the series, Perenelle Flamel.

As I re-read it, I was glad that some of my hesitancy about re-reading the series started to fade. I’m not sure if it’s because the story was becoming more and more intense, or that I was spending more time with some of my favorite characters, but I was glad my reservations at least took a bit of a back seat to the book. (It also could’ve been that I devoured this book.)

What I really appreciated in this book was the reminder of how well Scott wrote female characters. He has these awesome historical male figures, but in the end he puts the emphasis on the strength of the female characters.

“The night had just gotten worse—much worse. Nicholas Flamel frightened Machiavelli, but Perenelle terrified him.” (Loc. 3604)

Not only are they just bad-ass with magic and any other number of things, but there are multiple female warriors that are the best of the best. (Perenelle is not a warrior, she is a very powerful sorceress—The Sorceress actually.

Scott also does a wonderful job of writing good and evil. Throughout the entire series you know who is good and evil, but you never know where the twins are going to fall. In The Magician we see the first signs that Josh’s desire and jealousy may push him more towards the evil side of this epic battle. Not only does he willingly go with Machiavelli and John Dee (the titular character, and villain of the series), but his magical powers and aura are woken by them through the God of War, Mars Ultor. And similar to what happened with Sophie and the Witch of Endor in The Alchemyst, Mars Ultor passes on all of his war knowledge to Josh.

If there is anything in this book/series that irks me, it’s how quickly and how easily Josh and Sophie get their powers and accomplish things. This isn’t to say that it’s 100% smooth sailing, people die, both get injured and there are other dire consequences (including the loss of entire worlds), but everything in the series happens so fast that it’s just like wait a second, really? Scott does explain that part of the reason is that things have been building to this point for millennia, but even then I’m like sheesh. I guess some of it is this is for young adults as well.

Recommendation: Same as for The Alchemyst, if you’re reading them for the first time I’m sure you will LOVE them! The myths and legends Scott brings to life throughout the series are so well crafted and have such great personalities they stay with you. The only downside of the series, and this is coming from a re-read perspective, is that it’s hard to ignore what you know at the end. It was really hard not to let what I know about the end of the series affect my re-read of the series. For a lot of the time I was able to ignore it, but it was always there.

Opening Line: “I am dying.”

Closing Line: “‘Who is it?’ Josh asked, reaching for his laptop. The first-class carriages had a wireless network. ‘Gilgamesh the King.'” (Whited out to avoid spoilers, highlight to read.)

Additional Quotes from The Magician
“Two days ago she had been an ordinary American teenager, her head filled with normal everyday things: homework and school projects, the latest songs and videos, boys she liked, cell phone numbers and Web addresses, blogs and urls. Now she knew things that no person should ever know.” (Loc .462)

“She tried to focus on the faces of her parents, Richard and Sara. Hundreds of faces flickered past, images of figures carved in stone, the heads of giant statues, paintings daubed onto the sides of buildings, tiny shapes etched in shards of pottery. Sophie started to get frantic. Why couldn’t she remember her parents’ faces? Closing her eyes, she concentrated hard on the last time she had seen her mother and father. It would have been about three weeks ago, just before they had left for the dig in Utah. More faces tumbled behind Sophie’s closed eyes: images on scraps of parchment, fragments of manuscripts or cracked oil paintings; faces in faded sepia photographs, in blurred newspapers…” (Loc. 743)

“Long ago, Nicholas and Perenelle had come to realize that at the heart of every myth and legend was a grain of truth. And every race told stories of people who lived exceptionally long lives: the immortals.” (Loc. 943)

“That is the curse of immortality: to watch the world change, to see everything you know wither.” (Loc. 1324)

“…hate is the most useless of all emotions. Success is the best revenge.” (Loc. 2097)

“‘There are four great swords of power,’ Flamel said urgently, ‘each one linked to the elements: Earth, Air, Fire and Water. It is said that they predate even the oldest of the Elder Races. The swords have had many names through the ages: Excalibur and Joyeuse, Mistelteinn and Curtana, Durendal and Tyrfing. The last time one was used as a weapon in the world of men was when Charlemagne, the Holy Roman Emperor, carried Joyeuse into battle.’” (Loc. 2582)

“He recognized the weapon from World of Warcraft: it was a war hammer, a ferocious and deadly variant of the mace.” (Loc. 3803)

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