The Alchemyst by Michael Scott is the first book in the series The Secret of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel. It is a young adult novel set in present-day San Francisco, California.
The Alchemyst revolves around two teens, Sophie and Josh Newman, who happen to be twins. They are living with their great-aunt in San Francisco while their archeologist parents are working for the summer. Wanting to save up for a car, the twins find summer jobs. Josh takes a job working for the young and eccentric Nick Fleming in a book store, and Sophie takes a job in the coffee shop across the street, which is run by Nick’s wife Perry. Little do the twins know that these seemingly boring summer jobs will change their lives (*cue dramatic music!*).
One fateful day at the end of May, a strange man walks into the bookstore where Josh is working. The strange man turns out to be an old–very old–enemy of Nick’s named Dr. John Dee. Josh is overwhelmed when he watches Nick battle Dee using not weapons or his fists, but magic. Even more overwhelming is that Nick’s wife Perry runs across the street with Sophie right behind her to join in the fight! By the end of the battle, Perry has been kidnapped, John Dee has stolen a very important book, and Sophie and Josh’s lives will never be the same.
As Sophie and Josh leave the now destroyed bookstore with Nick, they learn that not everything about Nick Fleming is what it appears. In fact, Fleming is not Nick’s last name at all, his true name is Nicholas Flamel, his wife is Perenelle, and they happen to be immortal. And this is only a small shock compared to what Sophie and Josh are about to learn as the day progresses. As their adventure continues, they meet even more interesting people, like Scathach the Warrior, and Hekate, a powerful goddess.
The Alchemyst was fun, but not particularly special. The characters were interesting, but somewhat predictable. Perenelle was the character the reader learned the least about, and she has remained mysterious. I want to read the next book to learn more about her. The other mystery is who the villain John Dee works for. He kept meeting more and more evil characters to help him, and none of them were his master. Who could be even more evil? I will read the next book in the series, mostly because I want to learn more about Perenelle. I won’t be running right out to the library tonight to pick it up, though.