The Enchantress: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, Book 6

 
(i)

 

Ambitious, edu-taining fantasy series gets a grand send-off.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Consistent with the series, historical and mythological figures play significant roles in the plot and often discuss their past importance. Look for Nicholas and Perenelle Flamel, Shakespeare, Abraham the Mage, Scathach, Joan of Arc, Machiavelli, Niten, Prometheus, Billy the Kid, Virginia Dare, Black Hawk, Odin, Hel, Tsagaglalal, Dr. John Dee ... the list goes on. Mythological creatures also get high billing (extra points if you can ever pronounce some, like Quetzalcoatl, his evil twin Xolotl, and the giant spider Areop-Enap). An Author's Note discusses whether Atlantis (here called Danu Talis) ever existed and possible locations of its remains based on Plato's writing.

Positive messages

Lots of great food for thought, especially on what it means to be human and mortal, have freedom from oppression, and why humanity is worth saving. Before battle, a warrior muses about why he fights, saying this to himself: "There was no honor in war, less in killing and none in dying. But there was true dignity in how men comported themselves in battle. And there was always honor to be found in standing for a just cause and defending the defenseless." The goddess Hekate explains that the greatest gift a parent can give a child is independence, going on to say, "To allow them to go out into the world and make their own decisions, travel their own paths." She also says a parent's greatest mistake is "to believe that your children will be just like you."

Positive role models

Many characters who were previously enemies come together for a common cause: saving the world and the human race. Machiavelli often repeats, "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" and joins forces with others accordingly. Some characters deliberately disobey orders from superiors and follow their consciences instead, sacrificing their lives for others.

Violence

A handful of favored characters die near the end, some quietly turning to ash, and others perishing in battle. On Danu Talis, there's battle violence with a small group of warriors outnumbered by thousands of animal hybrid creatures, but very little is described in detail. There are more descriptions of an intense fight on foggy Golden Gate Bridge where Prometheus and Niten are outnumbered against Spartoi warriors. And still more descriptions of hideous mythological beasts on Alcatraz that the Flamels and others fight; the standout moments are Hel making a messy meal of a monster they kill (prompting Billy the Kid to swear off meat-eating forever) and later, when Billy himself is impaled by a gigantic crab and nearly dies.

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is the last book in the six-part Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel fantasy series. Many mythological traditions and characters, historical figures, and time periods meld together here, which may turn inquisitive kids into frequent visitors to Wikipedia, Bulfinch's Mythology, and other sources for background info. Expect middle-of-the-road violence for a fantasy novel, consistent with the rest of the series, although the secret's out in this one on just how many bloodthirsty creatures are waiting on Alcatraz to devour everyone in San Francisco -- and they're pretty nasty. Also, a handful of beloved characters meet their ends here; some go quietly, but most go down fighting. All this is set against the backdrop of the imminent destruction of our world and others.

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What's the story?

It's almost the end. Far in the past, the ancient island of Danu Talis is about to fall. In the present, hundreds of fearsome mythological creatures are about to be unleashed on San Francisco. Saving Danu Talis means saving the Elders, who despise the beings they call humani and rule over them with an iron fist. That's where Sophie and Josh have ended up with Virginia Dare and John Dee, and -- can it be? -- their parents are there, too? Better known as Osiris and Isis, they claim to have been grooming the twins for their true calling, their powerful pure gold and silver auras proof of their claim to the throne. But with the help of Virginia Dare, the humani are rising up, and old friends Shakespeare, Joan of Arc, Scathach, and others drop in with an offensive from Hekate's tree kingdom. Sophie and Josh need to think about whose side they're really on -- and on Alcatraz, so do Machiavelli and friends. They've stopped the first wave of monsters from coming ashore, but will they side with old enemies the Flamels and battle hundreds of other fearsome creatures to keep the human race safe? With some fearsome Dark Elders against them, they only have one very foggy night to fight. And without the Codex to restore their immortality, the rapidly aging Flamels will only last that long anyway.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Series fans have been waiting for the monsters on Alcatraz to come out of their cages since Perenelle was imprisoned there -- was it way back at the end of Book 2? Here they come, in the final Book 6, grossly outnumbering a wild assortment of characters (Billy the Kid, Machiavelli, Black Hawk, Odin, Hel, the Flamels), their diverse magical and godly talents making the fight to the finish one surprise after another. And the extreme creep factor of Quetzalcoatl's "evil twin" running the show is a very nice touch.

The surprises also keep coming in the other storylines (which irksomely change from one to the next every chapter). Big secrets come to light about the twins, their parents, and the orchestrations of Abraham the Mage. It's almost shocking how so many moving parts come together so well in the end. And it's all pretty satisfying, too. The only thing that stands out as strange: The twins' story doesn't dominate, as you might expect in a young-adult series. Every one of Scott's key fascinating characters plays a part here and gets a truly grand send-off.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how this hugely ambitious series ends. Were there any big surprises for you? Did you like the fate of all the characters? Are you satisfied with the conclusion?

  • Talk about some of the many thought-provoking scenes, including Hekate's assertion that a parent's greatest gift to their child is independence. Do kids think they have enough of it? Do you think Hekate meant complete independence right away, or is there more to it?

  • Try to apply the phrase uttered by Machiavelli, "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" to current world politics. Can you think of countries that are "friends" because they have a common enemy?

Book details

Author:Michael Scott
Genre:Fantasy
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Brothers and sisters, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Delacorte Press
Publication date:May 22, 2012
Number of pages:528
Publisher's recommended age(s):12 - 17

This review of The Enchantress: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, Book 6 was written by

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