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Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

*The Necromancer: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel* by Michael Scott- young adult book review
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The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel: The Necromancer
The Necromancer: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel
by Michael Scott
Ages 11-15 416 pages Delacorte May 2010 Hardcover    

The fourth installment of The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series, The Necromancer continues the story of the alchemyst Nicholas Flamel in his quest to retrieve the ancient book of Abraham the Mage - also known as the Codex - from Dr. John Dee.

The Codex contains the world’s most powerful spells, including the one necessary for Flamel and his wife, Perenelle, to maintain their immortality. Without it, the couple is nearing death, aging at least one year every day. The book also holds the spells for recreating the earth which the Dark Enders need to control the world, allowing humans to eventually die out.

Human twins Josh and Sophie are another part of the key. With their silver and gold auras are the twins prophesized to either save or destroy the world. Flamel and the twins have only two pages of the book (ripped out in the first book of the series), so the Codex is now incomplete. Although the Codex continues as the heart of the quest, more imminent dangers face Flamel and the twins right now as the safety of the world is slipping away.

Like the other books in the series, The Necromancer is told in the third-person voice from a number of different locations and character perspectives. Josh and Sophie have returned to their aunt’s home in San Francisco only to run into Aiofe, the estranged twin sister of their good friend Scathatch. Aiofe kidnaps Sophie in an effort to find out what has happened to her sister. Scathatch remains trapped with Joan of Arc back in prehistoric times.

Nicholas and Perenelle are also back in San Francisco, working to prevent the world’s most dangerous monsters, which are being held on the island of Alcatraz, from becoming unleashed on the human population by Machiavelli and Billy the Kid. Having failed in his mission in previous books, Dee is now wanted by the Dark Elders; he teams up with Virginia Dare to seek out Josh and train him as a Necromancer, someone who can raise the dead.

Sophie meanwhile becomes overwhelmed by the memories instilled in her by the Witch of Elder when her powers were awakened in previous books. The memories provide her with a unique insight into events and personalities, but she has been warned by Nicholas that they will take over her life - yet Perenelle now assures her that they will not and encourages her to use them as much as possible.

As in the previous books, right and wrong, good and bad become ambiguous. Michael Scott has meticulously researched all the characters; each has a variety of motives and sides of their personalities. Characters we thought we knew and trusted do things which were unimaginable in previous books. All, except Josh and Sophie, are based on actual historical figures and legends from throughout the world.

Although fewer new characters are added in this book, these historic and mythological beings add a depth to the story, possibly stimulating the reader to research their backgrounds and understand their intentions. Due to the complexity of the plotline, this book really must be read in sequence after the previous books in the series. Although Josh and Sophie remain at the center of the plot line, the many different scenes and motives become difficult to follow and understand their relationships to one another without previous background knowledge.

Michael Scott marvelously weaves everything together, yet many story threads remain unanswered. The companion website ( answers many questions the reader might have about the characters, including historical information on Nicholas Flamel and the author’s inspiration and research for the book.

Including the first chapter from the next volume, The Warlock, the author has built a series with a significant following. With only one week left in school, I saw students devouring the library copy in just a few days, respecting the demand by other readers. Even more copies appeared in the hallways as readers could not wait for the library copy and headed straight for the bookstore. This is a series which is a must have for any upper-elementary/middle-school library. Highly recommended.
Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

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  Kristine Wildner/2010 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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