The fourth book, The Necromancer, in Michael Scott's series about the immortal alchemyst Nicholas Flamel came out last September. Between then and about three weeks ago, I had been reading it on and off (mainly off) at work. I eventually decided to just buy the book rather than leaving it there every weekend and finished it post-haste. In short, I loved the book.
The series is great for people who like fantasy and who like myths, bringing old faces to the present as immortals or Elders, and introducing the twins Sophie and Josh as figures from prophecy that can potentially destroy the world. Throw Nicholas Flamel, a man steeped in myth, and his wife Perenelle into the mix, and things get messy. The couple are but two of the famous faces from history to find their way into Scott's series, which involves a lot of racing across the world to train the twins in the four elements: earth, air, fire and water.
Seems simple enough, until you add the gods of ancient lore, deceit, monsters on Alcatraz, and four very powerful swords. Then it's not just a really old couple creepily bringing teens around the world; it's life and death! (Okay, I was having a joke, it's not so creepy in the books because there is some quite clear danger chasing them the entire time, and a deadline to meet before all the events need to come to a close)
How did the book compare to the others in the series?
I thought it was one of the best! While the first had the excitement of introducing us to the idea, nothing much seemed to have happened otherwise; two books went by and it seemed a lot like setting up for The Necromancer, a realisation made in hindsight. While so much excitement is to be found in those books, it's not until the Grand Plans of the villains start unfolding and the dangers become more and more real that the books really pick up. Now, with two books left to go, there's a lot of dangers out there, less time than ever, and fewer allies the twins can rely on. It's really, really fantastic!
Team Sophie or Team Josh?
Oh look, I can poke fun at Twilight fans... If I had to pick a twin... I couldn't. Josh has the cool sword skills (when he gets to use them!) but Sophie has the additional magic available to her due to her early training. Josh has the BFI (Brute Force and Ignorance) that appeals to male readers, while Sophie is calmer and more calculating. And she has the kick-ass magic... Yeah...
Who's your favourite villain so far?
This one is tougher. obviously John Dee is the most intriguing and the one we've been with the longest throughout the series, but Machiavelli has this whole 'I'm contemplating your death silently and distracting you with words' thing going on. And when you consider that circumstance and perspective should be applied, the Flamels become villains themselves... in which case, it'd be rude not to pick Perenelle! She's got brains, control, ghost-sight (!) and very powerful magic. Otherwise, John Dee. Strong magic, lots of cunning, a Master Plan, and he's not always a winner.
Would you recommend this series to everyone?
Not everyone. If people liked Harry Potter, they will like this. Probably even more, because the early books aren't overly innocent like HP. Plus, no incantations. Good when you're twelve and living in my generation, bad when you're twelve now. In this, no incantations, just the pure awesomeness of elemental magic, gods of myth and auras with smells. (caution: some may make you hungry). If you like teen fantasy books, you have to look these ones up. If you go into an Irish bookshop, make sure to check if there's an Irish Fiction section in the Kids Section - that's where you'll find them. Otherwise, follow the link at the top of the page or click the book's cover, and you'll be taken to Amazon.com where you can purchase from there.
Are you looking forward to The Warlock?
Am I what? Uh, yes! It comes out May 24, just one day before my exams finish. I canny wait for it!