Posted by: Genny Colby | July 26, 2011

The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel-by Michael Scott

A good book, or a good series, should engage a reader, have a rich, yet not overly crowded cast of characters, and not matter what, at its heart, have a STORY to tell.  I have recently read a number of books series, mostly in the Young Adult (YA) genre, that start out interesting, with strong characters and an intriguing storyline, only to fall apart because the desire to keep the series going is stronger than telling an actual story.  That is one statement that would be impossible to make about this wonderful series by Irish author, Michael Scott.

This 6 book series is well thought out, well planned, and at the heart, is the story.  Each book in this series (the first 5 have been released, with the final book coming in 2012) is well planned, action packed, and advances the overall story, yet is engaging and has enough of its own story to satisfy the reader.  It is obvious that Mr Scott had a plan not only for the story, but for each of the characters from the beginning.  The story does not meander around,  take the reader on unrelated tangents, or drag out the story longer just to be able to publish additional books.  What it does is introduce characters in a way that engages the reader, gets them excited, and leaves them asking for more.

The main arc of the story revolves around Josh and Sophie Newman, two seemingly ordinary 15 yr old twins spending the summer in San Francisco with their “aunt” while their parents are said to be off on an archaeological dig.  Then they are pulled into an age old war involving  gods, immortals, mythological creatures, and even time travel.  Josh and Sophie learn of age old magics or powers, that can be used to fight those who would like to see Earth as we know it destroyed, and returned to those who lost power many centuries ago.  This series is ultimately Josh and Sophie journey.  Will they save the Earth?  Will they destroy it?  And which side is the “right” side to be on.  Who should they trust along the way?

One of the interesting  features of this series is that Josh and Sophie are the only fictional main characters of this series.  All the other main and supporting characters are taken from history or mythology.  Of course, their actions in these stories are fictionalized, but at the core, these characters can be found in many other stories.  This shows an immense level of time, attention, and research on the part of Mr. Scott to not only create an interesting story, but to use characters that already have a history.  One that can be researched, discussed, and used to guess what these characters will do next.  And  as the fans who are members of the Flamel Fan Forum prove, do they ever!!  Mr. Scott has even been so gracious as to provide special short stories, features, and tidbits about some of the more hotly discussed characters to the Forum members.  And has even hinted that certain characters may get a book (or more) of their own one day.  But yet, even through all his research, time creating these characters and the story, as well as all the fan response, has Mr Scott, in my opinion, not strayed from the heart of the story, just because he can, because a character is so interesting and why not just take a tangent and explore a little more?  Because then you lose the momentum of the story and these books never do.  Hopefully there will be a time when some of our favorite characters get their own stories, but right now, this is Josh and Sophie’s story and Mr Scott stays true to that story.   I, for one, am extremely grateful for this, as it keeps me interested in the story, wanting to learn more, find out what happens, and not just simply skim through the book to get the main idea, as many other series have done to me.

I must also stop and speak to Mr Scott’s writing style.  These books are clearly written in the Young Adult genre, and he makes no bones about this when he talks about the series.  But YA books when written well should appeal to all audiences and these books do just that. The focus is on the story and the characters, but written well, without talking down to the reader or trying to emulate “teen speak”.  All the characters have a voice that is true to who they are, but using proper grammar, using vocabulary that stretches the reader, and treats the reader as intelligent and with respect.

This is one series that I can recommend to anyone, without reservations.  These are smart, engaging, thought-provoking, and hard to put down books.  I hope that you all take the chance to pick up this wonderful series and check it out.  And then come join the conversation.

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Responses

  1. […] have written about this wonderful series before, which you can find here, here, and here.  If you have not had a chance to read this series, now is a great time since you can […]


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