The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel: An Agitating and Boring Series


Madison Fishback

The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel book cover from Delacorte Press. Art by Michael Wagner

An average day of work for the 15-year-old twins Josh and Sophie Newman, in “The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel,” quickly turns terrifying when they get caught in the middle of a magician’s duel. Dr. John Dee and Nicholas Flamel, two immortal magicians, fight over the book of Abraham, a book that contains powerful magic, also known as the Codex. Dr. John Dee succeeds in taking the Codex, but Josh manages to rip out the last two pages, the one that Dee needed for his Elder Master, a powerful entity. Nicholas and Pernelle, the twin’s bosses, believe Josh and Sophie are the twins of legend foretold in the Codex, and so they embark on a mission to have the twins master all five magic types, air, earth, fire, water, and time so they can save the world.

The book switches who is narrating the story. The narration switches between most of the important characters throughout the book, with it staying in Josh and Sophie’s perspective most of the time. One of these important characters includes Dr. John Dee. Switching the perspective to Dee gives readers a better understanding of the worlds, the different magic, and what the Elders are really like.

The shadowrealms described are large and grand, with each Elder having their own realm that they specifically reside in. One of my favorite shadowrealms and one that was described in the most detail was Hekate’s, the Greek goddess of magic and spells. Her realm included Yggdrasil, the world tree, which was a little strange at first as it is from Norse mythology, but seeing as Elders are what all mythology is based on, it sort of makes sense. Her realm is inhabited by Torc Allta, a race of human-looking men that can change into boars at will, which Hekate created.

The way the books talked about immortality was fascinating. Since humans can’t achieve immortality on their own, Elders would grant them immortality if they worked for them. However, if an immortal human displeased their Elder master, their immortality could be removed, and depending on how long they have been alive, they could die instantly. Or, as Dr. John Dee was eventually threatened with, Elders could make humans immortal in a body that is old and withered.

This could have been a great series. The first two books have good concepts and ideas, they were fascinating, and it was fun to learn about the world. However, as the series continues, it gets worse. By the fourth book, the series was dragging, and by the end of the series, in the sixth book, the storyline was all over the place. Not to mention the abundance of unless and redundant plot twists that took away from the story. This seemed like it would be an amazing series but, “The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel,” was extremely bad, and it is a series I wouldn’t recommend reading.