Friday, June 25, 2010

The Sorceress - Michael Scott

Here's another review by Amica Paige...

I finally had the time to read The Sorceress, and had my fill indeed, at least for the time-being until I get my hands on the next book. As with the previous books, this third sequel in the fantastic tale, The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, is an exhilarating ride right from the start, as monsters-in-disguise chase the protagonists through St. Pancras Station to the Sorceress’ escape from Alcatraz. This edition equally brims with mounting battles, surprising turns, unforeseen alliances, and unexpected encounters, on top of endless references to legendary characters, both fictional and factual, if you can handle a bit of information overload. The Saracen Knight, Shakespeare, and Gilgamesh all turn up this time amidst an onslaught of some of the most grotesque creatures to ever emerge in any mythical realm—sea-creatures, flesh-eaters, vampire breeds, the Horned God, wolf-men, and other beasts, dog-like, bear-like, goat-like, and definitely unlike we’ve ever seen before. Even the fabled Virginia Dare and Billy the Kid make their devious appearance alongside the enemies, as well as "normal-looking humans which are "the most frightening of all" for Josh Newman. I’m very curious about how this incredible epic will be translated onto the big screen. I’m hoping that the filmmakers come close enough to Scott’s literary creation and not lose the story in its immensity, which seems common to big productions getting too caught up in their hullabaloos.
As the race to save or destroy mankind heats up, the Flamels still haven’t recovered the book of Abraham the Mage from their adversary, the English Magician, and so continue to age significantly and weaken. Meanwhile, their time to protect the human race runs grim as the summer solstice, Litha, draws near. On that day, the twins’ auras will have reached their full strength as the barriers to the Shadowrealms weaken, thus enabling the Dark Elders to unleash inconceivable horrors to wipe out humanity and reclaim the world. Sure enough, Dee and Macchiavelli get desperately busy in their pursuit of the Flamels, the twins of legend, Sophie and Josh, and the last two pages of the codex for the Dark Elders, or risk their own immortalities. But of course, the Alchemist and the Sorceress have other plans than to simply surrender or drop dead. As Perenelle attempts to escape the monster-infested prison through her cunning and great sorcery, Nicholas must prevail in having the twins fully trained in elemental magic before it’s too late. But their next lesson is with a mad, old King, which could be quite troublesome. Even more problematic is the twins’ growing distrust of the evasive Alchemist, which surely doesn’t help ease the situation, though it certainly makes for a more intriguing plot. Then, there’s Clarent, Excalibur’s twin sword, to further complicate the matter. As Josh slowly realizes Clarent’s dark influence, Dee’s desire for it only deepens, especially since he already possesses the other blade. And while the strengths of both swords are unmistakable, the force that they could yield together is unthinkable, particularly in the hands of one with an insatiable thirst for knowledge and power, like the Magician. The swords' existence poses a new question: could they be the prophesied “two that are one”?
Deeper twists unravel as the events in this blazing saga unfold—events that surely don’t come without a fight. Yet even with its never-ending battles, at the heart of this fascinating story are timeless themes that reveal humanity's ongoing inner struggles for hope in the darkest hours, perseverance through the most difficult obstacles, courage against the most formidable foes, empathy for even the most dubious characters, forgiveness for the grossest wrongs, a chance of redemption for the offender, trust even when no one seems worthy of it, loyalty amidst great uncertainty, the bonds of families and friendships, and ultimately, the good of mankind, not self-preservation, but a genuine concern for life. Like all other insightful narratives, this story challenges the conventional view and blurs the line between good and evil. Michael Scott has yet again brewed an enchanting concoction, a true “conjugation”, a perfect equilibrium of magic and history, because “at the heart of every story is a grain of truth.”

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