Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 2007
Josh and Sophie Newman are average twin 15-year-old siblings. They travel around with their archeologist parents, play football, shop, talk on their cell phones, browse the internet. However, there is more to these twins than meets the eye, and the immortal Nicholas Flamel has a suspicion that they are the twins of legend mentioned in the Book of Abraham the Mage, a prophetic Codex that contains untold wonders.
Now the twins are caught up in a battle thousands of years old between the Dark Elders, a race of beings that once ruled the earth, and the humans and good Elders. Running and fighting constantly, Flamel must find a way to awaken the twins’ underlying powers before it’s too late and the world as we know it comes to an end.
I must admit that I was expecting more out of this book. The kids aren’t all that eager to engage in the world of magic, and even though they have the potential for ultimate power, they just want to be normal. It’s difficult to be excited about the world Scott has created and the magic therein if the heroes are, at best, apathetic towards it. I just don’t feel drawn in. Also, since Scott rushes through the plot so quickly, the educational elements that dip into our own history and mythology is lost on the reader.
One of the things he could have done in order to make this world come alive more was to go into a bit more detail about the elements of magic that are presented. Who is Bastet, where does she come from, and what are her powers? I would ask the same about any of the characters, and it’s unfortunate that magic just kind of happens rather than showing the intricacy of it. That element alone would help the world to come alive and make the text more interesting.
The kids could use some more detail as well. There’s a lot of internal dialogue within each of the two main characters, but little of it is related to the learning experiences they’re having. I was excited to start reading this series because, in many ways, I thought it would intricately introduce us to another world of magic. What is alchemy and how does it work? How does it differ from sorcery or necromancy? How does one become a necromancer vs. a magician? These kinds of details were what I was looking for, and I came up shorthanded.
However, in his defense, Scott has certainly written an entertaining book, and the series seems as though it will continue to engage the readership in an edge-of-your seat sort of read. Also, there are some interesting historical and geographical details that come up throughout the writing, which can serve to educate.
For the Classroom
As this is largely a text that operates outside of the rules of our own natural world, there is little to be used as a classroom companion. The only exception to that would be if there was an interest in Hekate, Bastet, Scathach or the Morrigan, but they’re even somewhat different then how they’ve been represented in mythological texts.