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In the second book in the New York Times bestselling series, Nicholas, Sophie, Josh, and Scatty emerge in Paris, the City of Light, home to Nicholas Flamel. Only this homecoming is anything but sweet. Niccolò Machiavelli, immortal author and celebrated art collector, lives in Paris and is working for Dr. John Dee. He’s in hot pursuit, and time is running out for Nicholas and Perenell. Josh and Sophie Newman are the world’s only hope. . . . If they don’t turn on each other first.
Review by Andy
As young adult fiction goes The Magician is okay but needs some work. Even though it is fantasy the chances of a fifteen-year-old killing a millennia old giant lizard seems kind of slim. The weak plot is helped some by a subplot that is pretty good and characters that are interesting and funny. As a sequel it does not hold up to the first book in the series, The Alchemyst.
What makes this series work is the setting of Earth where magic is very much alive. The series also brings legends, gods, and goddesses out of fiction and puts them beside famous people from history, who are themselves often immortal. For anyone interested in mythology this combination comes off as pretty clever.
While the main plot is fairly weak it does pick up the story where the first book left off and continues the plot through well. The big issue I have with this book is it doesn’t feel like it was really needed. It could have easily been condensed into just a few chapters. The pacing also has some issues as the action doesn’t really get going until well into the story when we meet Nidhogg. When the tale finally does get going it doesn’t hold up to the giant battle in Hecate’s Shadowrealm from the first book. Scott would have been served better to combine this book with another installment in the series then have it stand alone.
That being said the plot with Perenelle is really pretty good. At the end of the first chapter with Perenelle I found myself wanting more of her plot and less of the main one, especially when she interacts with Areop Enap. Every appearance of Areop Enap made the plot beyond amazing. I also enjoyed the subplot with the Sphinx and how he was written to be pretty stupid. You hear about its amazing ability to absorb aura and then you find out it’s afraid of the dark. Finally there is the plot of Juan de Ayala’s and his love of Alcatraz. He seems bewildered and a bit clueless yet then he displays his knowledge of the words of power. That comes off as a little confusing but still rates better than the main plotline.
The characters are all written pretty well and their actions help support the text. I particularly liked how Perenelle was portrayed as competent and terrifying to Machiavelli. Her working with Areop Enap to trap the Morrigan was well done. I also enjoyed the conflicting nature Josh’s jealousy of his sister and his wish to protect her and keep her safe. It really gives the reader a good sense of his personality well.
If you like fantasy or magic in books I would say to go ahead and read this if for no other reason than later in the series there is some really good stuff waiting.