Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Book Review: The Sorceress

I finally slogged through the Third book of The Secrets ofthe Immortal Nicholas Flamel (and again can I just say how non-handy that series title is? It’s huge and it’s clunky and it’s like trying to un-stick carmel and peanut butter from the roof of your mouth, just saying it out loud. Dear Michael Scott: Great book series, lousy series title. Signed, The World).

Before I get started with the book review can I just say that sometimes the act of reading itself can just be a chore? (Which may or may not explain my big drought of not reading, but hey, whatever.) After having the stomach flu, then watching my husband suffer through the flu and then having a bunch of other stuff going on, I was just NOT in the mood. But I finally forced myself to be in the mood and ripped through the last half of the book. And it was worth it.

You already know what I’m going to say: Blah blah blah, great sense of history and place this, blah blah blah, interesting introduction of new characters from history and legend, this time namely Shakespeare, Billy The Kid, and Palamedes (who I’m going to have to read some back story on, because I wasn’t completely sure of the reference) that, blah blah blah, while still rounding out characters he’s already introduced (namely Scathach and Joan of Arc, both of whom I love by the way), Blah blah blah, it still drags when the narrative is centered around the twins, and we’re done here.

Not quite though. What I really love about this book and the series as a whole is the different layers of mystery that we unfold throughout the story just to have another heaped on. Just when our understanding was that there were Elders and Next Generation, another layer of intrigue is added when The Archon are introduced and are said to predate the Elders. It ratchets up the mystery and there is further intrigue when it is made clear that there isn’t a straight hierarchy between the three. Thanks to politics and who knows what else, the lines are blurred between the three.

The other thing I love about the book and the series as a whole that I haven’t mentioned up to this point are the author’s notes at the end of the book. Scott, who has clearly gone to great lengths to research the places that almost become characters in and of themselves in these books, gives the reader a small reward at the end of the book by telling you more about those places. The back stories are nearly as fascinating as the books themselves and are well worth the read. In the last book he talked about The Catacombs underneath Paris. In this book, he covers the history behind Stonehenge and discusses how its formation and its importance is just as much a mystery as the books he’s writing. I love that!

Because reading this book, whether it be related to what I had going on or otherwise, felt like more of a chore than usual, I’m dinging this book down a half a letter grade. But overall, still enjoyable and I’m dying to see where the series goes from here! B

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