Tuesday 31/08 : The Alchemyst
Wednesday 01/09 : The Magician
Friday 03/09 : The Sorceress
Sunday 05/09 : The Necromancer
Title: The Necromancer
(Book 4 of The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel)
Author: Michael Scott
Publisher: Doubleday (Random House Children's Books)
Release Date: 2010
Source: Sent by Random House for review
Paperback : 385 pages
Summary from Amazon:
Sophie and Josh have returned to San Francisco. They must protect themselves from the Dark Elders, but they've not yet mastered the magic they'll need to do so. Their trust in Nicholas Flamel is shaken, and their friend Scatty is missing. Unbeknownst to the twins, John Dee has amassed an enormous army of foul creatures, with which he plans to battle Nicholas and his wife, Peronelle. In order for his plan to work, he must train a necromancer to raise the Mother of the Gods from the dead. The twins of legend will make the perfect pupils in his diabolical scheme.
I cannot review The Necromancer without giving spoilers to The Alchemyst (review here), The Magician (review here) and The Sorceress (review here), so don't read what is below if you want to read the first books in the series!
I think it is possible to divide this series between the first three books and this one (and most probably the two others which will follow: The Warlock (2011) and The Enchantress (2012)). This book takes a whole new tone and you get from the beginning that things really are serious and that a war or at the very least a conflict is imminent. The three first books were about Awakening the Twins and teaching them some magic, as well as fleeing from John Dee and Niccolo Machiavelli. The Necromancer is a much darker book and shows also the most terrible secrets of the planet.
The twins go back to San Francisco and don't know what to do from there on. They know they have a responsability, being the Twins of Legend. But they are unsure what to do and who to trust. They don't want to trust people blindly.
Each book brings a wave of new characters. In The Necromancer, various new characters appear and Prometheus is the most incredible one, he is the Witch of Endor's (who gave her memories to Sophie) brother and Scathach's uncle. Through Sophie's eyes we learn a lot about him and his past, but also what is going on with the Elders. The character of Virginia Dare is also very interesting: independant and cunning. You will also learn a lot about Scathach through her (wait for it) twin sister Aoife!
I particularly liked reading the changes in the personalities of both John Dee and Niccolo Machiavelli. I feel that their true natures are reflected through their actions in The Necromancer. They are clearly different and "not in the same league". Machiavelli seems to decide on cold calculation whereas John Dee's decisions seem mostly motivated by fear. (Coward.)
No matter how well described the "good" characters are, you can really judge the quality of a story on its "bad guys". Creating flawless and moral characters is less complicated (though not simple either!) than creating a credible "evil" counterpart. In The Secrets of The Immortal Nicholas Flamel series, there isn't a clear distinction between good and bad. I mean, there is a distinction, but what is pointed out is that the characters aren't described as good or bad but as characters all utterly convinced of the rightness of what they are doing. No one doubts Nicholas and Perenelle Flamel are on "the good side", but The Necromancer challenges that conviction, as well as it challenges it for other characters. All the characters working for the Dark Elders all have very profound reasons to do so, but they vary depending on the characters.
I cannot stress enough my complete admiration for Michael Scott and the incredible story he created intertwining fiction with historical facts and legends. The only characters who do not exist are Josh and Sophie! All the others are so interesting that I went to check their biographies/stories on internet, and I can't wait to read more about them. The characterisation is for me one of the strongest point of this series, after the plot and story-telling!
The ending will keep you at the edge of your seat: wow! I can't say anything, but you will clearly be quite impatient for Summer 2011 and the release of The Warlock!
This book finally gets at the turning point of the story where a conflict seems inevitable and the characters have to choose sides. The Necromancer is a very strong and heart-breaking book that will surprise you, frighten you and make you long for The Warlock.
The giveaway is on the review of The Alchemyst here.
A thousand thanks to Corinne and Random House for making this Michael Scott Week possible, I hope you will all fall for this series as much as I did!