Published: from 2007 to 2012
Synopsis: Twins Josh and Sophie discover that their friendly neighborhood bookseller is actually the famous Alchemyst, Nicholas Flamel. Together with an immortal warrior, the twins learn magic and try to save the world.
Now, it took me over a year to read this series, so I may be forgetting some of how I felt about the first few books. I think this series is fun, but it was lacking some things that made it really good.
My absolute favorite part of this series is that historical people and events get explained by magic. There are tons of characters that were historical and mythical figures and it was just really cool to see them brought to life and how they would act in the 21st century. The magic in general was pretty cool, as well as the different creatures our characters encountered.
At first, I did really like the main characters. We start out following a pretty good group for most of the book: twins Josh and Sophie, Nicholas Flamel himself, and Scathach, an immortal vampire. However, during each book, there are more and more characters added to this core group and the point of view expands to a lot of different times and places. This got so confusing by the end. There were probably twenty important characters to keep track of, and they were split into five or so locations, not to mention that some of their names were pretty similar. Because there were so many characters, I feel like none of them got time to really have any sort of development and I wasn’t really attached to any of them.
Speaking of characters, the relationships in this book were not the best to me. Sophie and Josh’s relationship was really good in the first few books, but I feel like towards the end, they lost that kind of twin connection they had and they didn’t talk about the things they should have talked about. The romantic relationships in this series were honestly so frustrating because they seemed so arbitrary. A man and a woman would be married or want to get married just because they were in close proximity to each other, not because they had any sort of connection. The frustrating thing about this is that there were multiple same sex pairs that had a much better connection and read as romantic to me, but those were pushed aside in favor of these random straight pairings.
The plot was fun at first, with the twins learning magic, but it became kind of convoluted towards the end. The author was trying to expand the world with each book, but I just don’t think he did it successfully. Everything felt kind of random, especially at the end. The series takes place over a short number of days, but all the time they spend in other times and places makes it feel like way longer.
Overall, I did like the magic, but I felt like the series just got so messy towards the end. The last two books felt like almost purely dialogue because nothing really happened. They just consisted of characters talking about what was going to happen, then it would switch to a different group talking about what was going to happen, and so on. I’m glad I finished it, but I would never reread this series.