A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this second book in the series has about the same amount of sword fighting and monster battles as the first -- all of it is suspenseful but not gory. The teen twins with magical powers who are at the center of the story are in almost constant danger. There are some scary scenes in underground caves with giant spiders and creatures that feed off fear and panic. One main character vanishes and is feared dead. Two others can control fire.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Suddenly finding themselves in Paris thanks to a magical gateway, California twins Sophie and Josh, the immortal alchemist Nicholas Flamel, and the vampire warrior Scathach must face a new enemy: Machiavelli. He's to collect the magical twins on behalf of the powerful magician Dee. Looking for any ally they can find in Flamel's home city, they run across Saint-Germaine, a former student of Flamel's who's versed in fire magic and currently tops on the techno music charts. But Germaine's house is known to Machiavelli, and it isn't long before scary creatures are unleashed to bring them in.
Is it any good?
THE MAGICIAN is just as fun and exciting as the first book. Maybe even more so, because now Sophie's powers have been awakened and she gets to try them out -- and she's really got some neat tricks up her sleeve, especially after she trains in Saint-Germaine's fire magic. Twin Josh is brooding over not having his powers awakened yet -- and makes some "what were you thinking?!" decisions because of it -- but he still gets a heroic warrior moment with a particularly nasty monster.
The book takes readers all over Paris -- even below it into the creepy catacombs -- where all sorts of historical and mythological figures pop up. The author, an authority on mythology and folklore, really unleashes some fascinating creatures on readers and barely restrains himself from delving into each character's complex history -- which is why the book, which takes place over just a couple of days, is close to 500 pages. No matter. This world is fun and exciting enough to let a little extra learning slip in.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about all of the historical and mythological characters and objects in the story. What is Machiavelli famous for? What else do you know about Excalibur? The Valkyries? Also, many characters in this book are immortal. Do you think this is a gift or a curse? How do other books portray it differently?
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