The Warlock by Michael Scott
Genre: Young adult adventure, fantasy, magic, time-traveling stuff
Rating: 2.25 out of 5 stars
Summary: In the fifth (and penultimate) book of The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series, the twins of lore Sophie and Josh Newman face tough choices. With the help of their immortal allies, they must do what they think is right for the world and use their powers accordingly. But will their choices turn the once inseparable twins into mortal enemies?
Have you ever read a book quickly just to get through it? Plowed through the pages, stopped reading critically, skipped all the nice language and nuance, just to get to the end of the damn book? If yes, multiply that by five and you will have my relationship with this series.
The premise is interesting – which is why I picked up the first book The Alchemyst. There are two twins who don’t know that they have magical powers and that their birth was foretold 10,000 years ago. One is supposed to help save the world while the other tries to destroy it. Intrigue! Nicholas Flamel and his wife Perenelle are there to awaken the kids’ powers, along with a ragtag gang of immortals humans and god like beings The Elders. Shenanigans!
Except the books fall flat in comparison to what the book jackets promise. But at this point, I am committed to seeing it through to the end. Dammit.
Okay – we need to cover some stuff. Sophie and Josh – twins of lore. Pure gold and silver auras. Helping or hurting the twins are immortal humans. They have been made so by an Elder, a powerful being who has been alive for thousands of years. All the Elders come from Danu Talis – a beautiful world that was destroyed thousands of years ago. So the Elders made other worlds, all referred to as Shadow Realms. The earth is actually a Shadow Realm, albeit a very populated one. Some Elders want to take over the earth, while others want things to remain the same. So, two factions. Sophie and Josh take different sides. Shit happens.
Maybe this is my biggest problem – I don’t think the twins are all that interesting. They don’t seem like they deserve magical powers or adventures. They are supremely boring and privileged, and that is not a good foundation upon which to build a series. Sophie is kind of whiny and sad that Josh chose to be with the evil Dr. John Dee. And Josh – ugh. He is just insanely stupid and easily manipulated. It’s fairly obvious when the dude you’re supporting wants to set a bunch of monsters lose on your hometown that he is NOT an okay guy. That he is in fact a psychotic asshole. But no, Josh doesn’t see that. He blindly accepts that it’s for the greater good. Especially since he has a cursed sword that makes him think bad thoughts. So Josh isn’t even the deliciously evil twin – he is just stupid and jealous and boring.
Though, there is some creepy twincest vibes. Like Sophie will do “anything. Everything” to get Josh back to the good side. And they talk as if they are a couple that had a bad breakup. It’s kind of disturbing, but perhaps my brain was trying to tart up this story a bit.
I also don’t like the magic set up. There have to be rules! JK Rowling spent years mapping out rules of magic before she wrote the series. But Sophie and Josh are Awakened, and then immortals and Elders help them learn magic extraordinarily fast. Like, one second – no magic. Next second – I am the master of the four elements. It would be like Aang was born the Avatar and then on his 16th birthday woke up with all the skills. Sorry, it shouldn’t work like that. It was just too easy. And the twins already had an easy life, so when even their powers came easily, I was just bleh about the whole thing.
Oh and did I mention a warrior vampire named Scatty, along with Shakespeare, Joan of Arc, and other immortal humans, travels back in time 10,000 years with Death (who has a hook for a hand) to Danu Talis to do SOMETHING? And that Billy the Kid and Virginia Dare are on Alcatraz with Machiavelli and then the plot explodes in my brain and I just want to take a nap. There are also flying saucers and mermaids. It seems Michael Scott wants to cram in every bit of mythology and fantasy trope that he possibly can into this series.
There is just so much going on with the plot that it started to become unwieldy. One chapter we’re onAlcatraz, the next back in time. Then Sophie, then Josh, then Anubis and Bastet, now back to Alcatraz. You don’t have time to sink into the characters and their experiences as you’re too busy being constantly jerked around. This book gave me reader’s whiplash. At least it’s all starting to come together, because in the last book when they first traveled back in time I almost threw in the towel. Now I know why Scott had the characters doing so… but it still seems like things are too easy and convenient.
The ending… I can’t even. The last page is a ridiculous plot turn. It’s not like a “oh man I can’t wait to find out what happens!” It was a blank stare of disbelief which quickly morphed into narrowed eyes of annoyance.
-Some of the immortals are fun and interesting characters (like Billy the Kid). I actually wish the books were just about their adventures. Cut out the twins entirely!
-Plot threads are coming together so now some things from previous books finally make sense
-Sophie and Josh aren’t fun or interesting
-Plot is overstuffed
-Why is Death really Captain Hook? And why isn’t he wearing a silly hat?
I was actually disappointed when I found out this wasn’t the final book. That pretty much says it all. Whomp.