Parents' Guide to

The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel

By Matt Berman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Myth-based, modernized fantasy is nonstop fun.

The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 10 parent reviews

age 11+

Not the Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

I actually ordered this book on accident. I was ordering The Alchemyst by Paulo Coelho for a high school summer reading list. I didn't pay attention and ordered The Alchemyst and decided to read it to my 11 year old. It's okay. Nothing outstanding to me, but it has engaged my 11 year old who is a big mythology fan.
age 12+

Utter rubbish.

Honestly, if you want historical accuracy of the ancient gods do NOT set this book down in front of your kid. I know quite a bit about the old gods of Ireland and the descriptions and actions could not be more horribly inaccurate than they are here. If you want a book on gods, pick up a better book. If you want a fantasy with inaccurate information, pick this up but remember the gods are portrayed inaccurately so don’t expect to learn something from it. Was pretty disappointed in the series as a whole.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (10 ):
Kids say (45 ):

This is a slam-bang, fantasy-adventure, with enough action to keep the most rabid genre fans happy, and enough references to ancient stories to keep the mind working. Harry Potter fans will recognize the name Nicholas Flamel, and may be surprised to learn that J.K. Rowling didn't make him up. Irish author and mythology expert Michael Scott has taken elements from Flamel's legend, woven them together with myths and stories from around the world, and set the whole thing in modern-day California.

Though the good-vs.-evil and kids-with-secret-powers themes may be well worn by now, nothing about this story -- from its setting and characters to its intricate use of myth to create an alternative history of earth -- is typical. Though an appendix with references for all the characters and places mentioned in the story would have been welcome, this book, the first of a planned series, is plain old-fashioned fun, with an intellectual gloss that will give fans something to look into while waiting for the next in the series.

Book Details

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate