Thank you all for yesterday’s comments on H is for Harry Potter. I continue the A-Z today with;
I is for (The) Immortal Nicholas Flamel
It was 2007 and I’d recently finished the Harry Potter series, when I was looking for something new to lose myself in. Ironically enough, I was on a H.P fansite when I saw the advert for The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel.
The hook about The Twins of Legend really drew me in: "the power to destroy the world or save it". According to a prophesy within the story, they are "the two that are one, the one that is all".
The story starts with human twins Josh and Sophie Newman, who live a normal life in San Francisco, working at their summer jobs - Sophie works in a coffee shop and Josh in a bookstore. Their lives are turned upside down by the arrival of men wearing heavy black wool overcoats, hats and gloves in the middle of summer!
Soon the twins learn that the world of magic exists, that Josh’s boss is actual the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, who has guarded a sacred book called the Codex for the last six hundred years, and that the book contains the key to bringing back the Dark Elders, a race of beings intent on enslaving humanity.
Sophie and Josh’s own magical powers are awakened, and they’re trained in different elemental magic, like wind, fire and water. All the while being tutored by Nicholas Flamel, his wife Perenelle and their immortal friends like Joan of Arc and Scathach; a two thousand year old vampire with the appearance of a seventeen year old!
At the same time Immortal magician Dr. John Dee is battling against the twins to get the final two pages of the Codex – having stolen the rest from Flamel at the start of the book – so that he can return his maters, the Dark Elders, to power. Dee is joined by historical figures like Niccolò Machiavelli and Billy the Kid!
The Dark Elders – who want to return from their shadow realms and overthrow the Earth – and the Elders – who want to remain living in secret, helping humanity grow and thrive – feature mythological figure like the witch of Endor, Mars, Bastet, Hekate and Quetzalcoatl.
The is so much I LOVE about this series. For starters, that the main protagonists are twins, not best friends or love interests. Yes, there is a touch of romance in the story, but it’s between married couples who’ve been together for hundreds of years. So many of the characters are shades of grey.
While the Dark Elders are outright evil, there’s characters like Flamel who do questionable things for the right cause. Another aspect I adored was the mythology and folk-law author Michael Scott includes in the story; mixing characters from Greco-Roman, Egyptian, Norse and Celtic mythologies and historical characters from the Elizabethan, Renaissance, Egyptian and Gilded eras. You can tell Scott really knows his stuff.
I also like how the story expanded overtime, with each book. To begin with it’s just the twins, the Flamels and Scathach. But over time they’re joined by different characters, sometimes the group is separated and at one point some of the characters even travel to the past!
Characters I love fall on both the dark and light side. In the first book I was enthralled by the Dark Elder the Morrigan. “(She …) was dressed from head to foot in black leather. Her jerkin was studded with shining silver bolts, giving it the appearance of a medieval breastplate, and her leather gloves had rectangular silver studs sewn onto the back of the fingers. The gloves had no fingertips, allowing the Morrigan's long, spearlike black nails to show. She wore a heavy leather belt studded with small circular shields around her waist. Draped over her shoulders, with its full hood pulled around her face and sweeping to the ground behind her, was a cloak made entirely of ravens' feathers." (The Alchemyst: Page 93).
In the second book we’re introduced to Niccolo Machiavelli who is chief of the police of Paris, and head of the French secret service, another character I fell in love with. Though he’s serving the Dark Elders, I couldn’t help but be charmed by him, his elegance and his fascination with masks. He is a master manipulator and can control his emotions easily. He once told Dee the price of his immortality was “my service, but never my soul.”
I really enjoyed reading a new book in the series every year, and I’m impressed Michael Scott kept to such a tight schedule. I think it’s down to the fact he planned it meticulously, according to Wikipedia his plot script was in excess of 80,000 words and that he knew in 2009 what the last words to the series would be.
Scott is also a really fabulous guy, and very friendly. After reading the first book in the series, I emailed him to tell him how much I’d enjoyed it, and he replied thanking me. He also frequented the official fan forum, discussing the series with fans and offering them clues to speculate over. What a guy!
Check back tomorrow for J is for Jean Grey, and if you're interested please check out my writing blog's A-Z of Prenatural Entities latest entry I is for Incubi (andSuccubi).