Sunday, 21 August 2016

Paris was accurate so I'm alive! | The Magician

The Magician (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel #2) by Michael Scott

Published: June 24th 2008 by Delacorte Press
Genre: young adult, fantasy

Goodreads summary: Ashes to ashes…

California: In the hands of Dr. John Dee and the Dark Elders, the book of Abraham the Mage could mean the destruction of the world as we know it. The most powerful book of all time, it holds the secret of eternal life—a secret more dangerous than any one man should ever possess. And Dee is two pages away from the knowledge that would bring the Dark Elders into ultimate power.

His only obstacle? Josh and Sophie Newman—who are eight thousand miles away.

Paris: After fleeing Ojai, Nicholas, Sophie, Josh, and Scatty emerge in Paris. The City of Lights. Home to Nicholas Flamel. Only, this homecoming is anything but sweet.

Niccolò Machiavelli, immortal author and celebrated art collector, is working for Dee. He's in hot pursuit, and time is running out for Nicholas and Perenelle. Every day they spend without the book, they age one year: their magic becomes weaker and their bodies more frail. For Flamel, the Prophecy is growing clearer and clearer. It's time for Sophie to learn the second elemental magic.

Fire Magic. 

And there's only one man who can teach it to her: Flamel's old student the Comte de Saint-Germain—alchemist, magician, and rock star. 

Josh and Sophie Newman are the world's only hope. If they don't turn on each other first.

REVIEW

Reading a book series everyone read and loved during their childhood involves so much pressure when you do read it, but years after. I was expecting an amazing first book, but sadly it didn't deliver, so I was a little reluctant to continue with the series, at first. But well, there are reasons everyone loves the Alchemyst series, right? So I gave the second book a go and I will definitely pick up the sequel in the future, because this series is starting to reach its potential.

WHAT I LIKED

The setting - As you know, I live in Paris when I'm at uni and because of that, I'm always anxious when American authors set their books in the City of Lights, because they're trying to make their characters speak French and the language is all wrong, or they only speak of le Louvre and the Eiffel Tower. It's cliché, but sadly, I've read so many books that fit that category that I can cry with frustration. However, Michael Scott definitely did his research, it was so realistic and I loved it. When the characters were taking the subway, he was even mentioning the name of the situation, which totally pleased me. He also named the streets the characters were passing and because of that, I felt like I was there. The author definitely captured the feeling of the city and took the reader to so many places!

Addictive writing - I have to admit that while I wasn't always entertained by the plot, the writing kept me reading. Indeed, Michael Scott has a way with words that makes me craving for more, which is definitely a gift. Moreover, he's very good at writing action scenes, because he had me turning the pages so fast.

A plot filled with tension - I wasn't very invested in the first novel, but this one was so much better. Indeed, I felt like the stakes were higher and I enjoyed the new "villain" that was introduced, because he seems so shady and I think he might become one of my favourites, okay? He's an opportunist and it's one of the best types of characters, haha. But anyway, because the characters were chased down, the plot was filled with tension and the action scenes were so well-written, like I said! Also we went to the catacombs, so it's a win-win situation for me.

The world-building - While I still noticed case of info-dumps (ugh), I was so much more invested in the world, maybe because it was set in France and I knew more about the characters based off the historical figures. But anyway, I thought it was more interesting, because it was easier to digest the information - even if it was still hard during the first chapters.

The temptation - I loved that this theme was so important in this book. Indeed, while Sophie's powers had been Awakened during the first book, Josh's, her twin, hadn't. Because of that, he was jealous of her and craving power, which lead him to be weaker in front of the temptation.


WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER

The pacing- I have to admit that I skim-read sometimes… Oops. I felt like it dragged a little in the middle, because there was so much action in the beginning and at the end of the story. Moreover, this book felt a little like a filler, as it was still about learning a new element, and it will also be the case in The Sorceress. It makes me frustrated because the plot line was similar to the first one and I wanted the main plot line to move forward. It's the problem when the series is six-book long, I guess…

I didn't like/relate to the characters - They could die and I wouldn't cry… Oops. I think it's a problem, but I have no feeling whatsoever about ANY of the characters. Please, someone tell me I'll like them when I read the next book, because I can't read a book without feelings for the characters! Moreover, I'm frustrated that even when they hadn't powers, they were SO special because they lived everywhere. How is that relatable? Most of us live in the same city until graduation, or sometimes more. It was enough to make them travel everywhere during the series, right?

The time-span - This book is set on three days… Which is ridiculous, considering it was 464 pages long! Moreover, the characters slept fourteen hours in the middle so how. Is. It. Possible? I understand that the characters were chased down and the author managed to create tension, but it's so unrealistic that so much happened in a few hours/days.

The ending - It felt anticlimactic, in my opinion. The plot was pretty good in the last third of the novel, because it was filled with tension and crazy scenes but the ending? It felt so flat. The characters are doing extraordinary things for the whole novel and then… They take the train to go somewhere else and learn another element. THE FALL WAS HARD, GUYS. At least if the author hadn't said what was going to happen next it would have been fine, but I was disappointed.

Overall, I think the Magician was a step-up from the first book and I will definitely read the sequels, because I'm intrigued to see what will happen next. While some elements irritated me, like an unrealistic time-span or a flat ending, I really enjoyed reading this book, because it was full of tension, which kept me glued to the story, thanks to the writing. This series is starting to live up to its potential and I can understand why so many readers loved it when they were younger!

Other:


Have you read this series? Do you love it? Which book is your favourite? Do you keep reading book series even when you don't really like the characters?

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