Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 2010
After fleeing to Ojai, then Paris, and escaping to London, Josh and Sophie Newman are finally home. And after everything they’ve seen and learned in the past week, they’re both more confused than ever about their future. Neither of them has mastered the magics they’ll need to protect themselves from the Dark Elders, they’ve lost Scatty, and they’re still being pursued by Dr. John Dee. Most disturbing of all, however, is that now they must ask themselves, can they trust Nicholas Flamel? Can they trust anyone?
Dr. Dee underestimated Perenelle Flamel’s power. Alcatraz could not hold her, Nereus was no match for her, and she was able to align herself with the most unlikely of allies. But she wasn’t the only one being held on the island. Behind the prison’s bars and protective sigils were a menagerie of monsters-an army for Dee to use in the final battle. And now Machiavelli has come to Alcatraz to loose those monsters on San Francisco. Perenelle might be powerful, but each day she weakens, and even with Nicholas back at her side, a battle of this size could be too much for her. Nicholas and Perenelle must fight to protect the city, but the effort will probably kill them both.
Having been unable to regain the two final pages of the Codex, Dee has failed his Elder and is now an outlaw-and the new prey of all the creatures formerly sent to hunt down Flamel. But Dee has a plan. With the Codex and the creatures on Alcatraz, he can control the world. All he needs is the help of the Archons. But for his plan to work, he must raise the Mother of the Gods from the dead. For that, he’ll have to train a necromancer. And the twins of legend will make the perfect pupils. . . .
These are fast-paced can’t put it down until your finished kind of books, and this edition to the series is no exception. However, I find myself wanting a lot more from them and the world that Scott is creating.
Don’t get me wrong, I really do love these books, but I have a lot of general qualms with them. I want more magic, and I want to know how the magic is being created. When we all were transported to Hogwarts, there was an explanation of how the magic worked throughout the world, which had very particular rules about what one can do when and how long it takes to acquire that knowledge.
So, ok, I know that Scott is not trying to recreate the Potter world, but it would be nice to know what rules the magic of this world operates from. The best explanation that we get at any point from either of the twins is, “I don’t know, somehow you just know how to do it.” I think this is a travesty and is missing out on a crucial element of drawing us into the story. How are they developing these abilities? How do they feel as they’re creating the magic?
Every once in a while we get a peek into the whole thing, but it’s not nearly often enough. Even the other immortals have cool spells that I’d like to get a little more depth on. Most of the time, they simply say, a shaman taught me this, or I learned this from Circe. You learned what from Circe? Is it a spell that you cast? How are you creating the magic?
Anyway, past all that, it’s a fun read and, in my opinion, more engaging than the first two, but not as good as the third. Josh and Sophie have generally become less whiney and are starting to jump into this whole being special and having magical abilities thing. They seem more willing to tackle the adventure set before them. I like the thickening plot between what Dee is doing and how it relates to all the elemental swords. However, I really do get tired of Josh waffling between sides. It adds some layers of conflict to the story, but I think Josh’s reasoning is pretty weak and somewhat unbelievable. He should either stand in his convictions one way or the other.
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 some of the elements of ancient mythological characters that are brought up throughout or the historical characters like Dr. John Dee, Billy the Kid or William Shakespeare, but they’re even somewhat different then how they’ve been represented in historical and mythological texts.