The Magician by Michael Scott
(Hardcover, Delacorte Press)
The Newman twins are back and this time their adventures take them to Paris. There they must come to terms with Sophie's new magical powers and help Nicholas Flamel recover the book that will maintain his immortality. The supposedly evil Dee has told Josh some stories that make him doubt his sister and Flamel. Is Josh just jealous because his powers haven't awakened yet or is Dee telling the truth?
The Magician is the second in The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series, picking up where The Alchemyst left off. I hadn't read The Alchemyst and normally, I hate jumping into a series without reading the first book. However, I picked up The Magician and found it very easy to get into the story of the twins, Josh and Sophie. Michael Scott does a great job explaining the events in the first book without spending too much time on the details. So even if you haven't read The Alchemyst, I recommend that you read The Magician and here's five reasons why...
#1. The gargoyles on the Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral come to life.#2. Nicholas Flamel visits his home, which is an actual building in Paris. Being a huge Harry Potter fan, I made a special side trip while in Paris to visit the Auberge Nicolas Flamel. Flamel makes an appearance in Harry Potter & The Sorcerer's Stone (or The Philosopher's Stone for all you folks abroad).
#3. There is a really cool battle scene on the River Seine where Josh fights an ancient creature. The creature was released in The Alchemyst when Dee destroyed Yggdrasil, the World Tree that is located at the center of the universe and is an important component of Norse mythology.
#4. One of Nicholas Flamel's friends magically sets off fireworks all around the Eiffel Tower. My picture isn't actually of fireworks, but this picture was taken at night and the Eiffel Tower was all lit up and sparkling. Apparently, it does that. If ever you're in Paris, head over to the Eiffel Tower around 11pm. It's an amazing sight to see.
#5. I saved the best for last. The exciting ending of The Magician takes place in the Catacombs of Paris. Now, thousands of bones piled into intricate patterns in the underground of Paris may sound like one author's creative imagination, but these Catacombs do really exist. I've been there. It's very spooky. And an utterly cool place to stage a book's final battle. The Catacombs were created in the 18th century because the graveyards of Paris were overflowing with bodies, causing disease to become rampant in neighboring dwellings.
You may be thinking that my obvious love affair for Paris has shaded my opinion of this book. I did take all these pictures myself and Paris remains one of my favorite cities. This book, however, is fantastic in its own right. Scott weaves together Norse, Greek, and Roman mythology ( and probably other mythologies that I just didn't recognize) in these books. It's easy to get caught up in the adventure and magic, and Josh and Sophie are complex, interesting characters, connected by their birth and yet highly individualized. I would recommend this series for anyone who likes the Percy Jackson series as well as anyone who likes books filled with magic and excitement.
**A note about spelling: In the books, Nicholas' name has an 'h' in it. On the actual building in Paris, the 'h' is left out.
The Magician has been nominated for the 2008 Cybils Awards in the Science Fiction/Fantasy category.