I have read and enjoyed all four of the previous books in The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series by Michael Scott so I was certain that the fifth book would not disappoint. Unfortunately, for reasons I can't really define, I found that I didn't enjoy this volume as much as the others. I didn't dislike it but the little buzz of excitement (the feeling of wanting to keep reading but not wanting to reach the end of the book) just wasn't there for me.
This book continues immediately from the end of the fourth book The Necromancer. The twins, Sophie and Josh Newman, are still separated, each believing that they are working for the right side. However, throughout the book, both of them begin to have doubts about the choices they've made and the people they are helping. The plot of the book keeps twisting and turning and the reader can become as confused as the twins.
I love how the author uses real people from history as characters in the series. Joan of Arc, William Shakespeare and even Billy the Kid play a major part in the plot and it helps to give the story a real historical depth and anchors it firmly in the realms of the possible.
I also really like the ambiguity of the characters. It is impossible to fully trust any of the main characters, except for the twins, as the story shifts loyalties, secrets, threats and promises around from chapter to chapter. Although Nicholas Flamel and his wife Perenelle seem to be working for the side of good, there are little hints now and again that they may not be as trustworthy as they appear.
The chapters are short and sharp which is excellent when you want to read just one more before turning the light off. However, it would have been nice if we were able to stay with a character/storyline for more than one chapter at a time. I would just find myself sinking down into one story, only for the chapter to end and the viewpoint switch to a completely different plot line so I had to switch too. This is fine now and again but when its for the whole book it can make the story seem jagged and frenetic.
The book did at times feel a bit like two books sandwiched together. Josh and Sophie's story seemed completely separate to that of Scathach, Joan of Arc, Shakespeare and the rest in Danu Talis but I fully expect that these plots will merge together beautifully for the final book in the series.
I will definitely be reading that final book, The Enchantress, when it comes out. The twist at the end of this book is enough to guarantee that. It truly surprised me and had me flicking back through the pages to look for the clues I missed.
This is a great series full of wonderful, three (and sometimes four) dimensional characters that really grab hold of you and drag you into the story with them. Maybe this book didn't excite me as much as the others but I never once even thought about closing the book and not finishing. I think this series would be fantastic to read all in one go and, once that last book is in my hands, that's exactly what I intend to do.
Review by Andrea Chettle
26 positive reader review(s) in total for the The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series
An authority on mythology and folklore, Michael Scott is one of Ireland's most successful authors. A master of fantasy, science fiction, horror and folklore, he has been hailed by the Irish Times as 'the King of Fanta [...]
7/10 from 1 reviews
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