The Necromancer: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, Book 4

Common Sense Media says

Popular fantasy series has lots of plots to keep track of.

Age(i)

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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

As with the other books in the series, readers could end up doing a fair amount of Googling to do to keep all the gods and historical characters straight. Virginia Dare is a new immortal, and the gods Odin, Prometheus, and Kukulkan make cameos, among others. Also, all of the places visited in the San Francisco Bay Area are real (as discussed in the afterword).

Positive messages

Sacrificing everything for the ones you love comes up in a few stories within the larger plot -- with Joan and Saint-Germain and Aoife and Scathach especially. The price of immortality is also discussed -- what it takes to give up eternal life, and what sacrifices are made to attain it.

Positive role models

The Flamels are willing to risk everything to save humanity. Aoife is willing to risk her life for her twin sister, even though her sister has refused to speak to her for many lifetimes. Josh weighs what he would do to know every secret and be more powerful than his twin sister -- but what his conscience decides is still up in the air.

Violence

Monstrous beasts attack, but there's no gore. Prehistoric animals are killed out of self-defense. Death threats are made to a number of characters, and others are hunted relentlessly. Swords are wielded, but more as a means of using powerful magic than as physical weapons. One sad character death.

Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

Some car models mentioned.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Immortals don't eat or drink.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the books in the epic Nicholas Flamel series, like the Percy Jackson tales, will get kids immersed in and learning about mythology. Like its predecessors, the fourth tale in the series mixes in some historical figures (Joan of Arc, John Dee, Shakespeare, etc.) as immortals. There's some fantasy violence, mostly involving attacks from beasts, both mythological and prehistoric. A major positive theme involves what characters will do to protect and be with the ones they love.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Five or so narrative threads co-exist in THE NECROMANCER, the fourth installment of the Nicholas Flamel series. Twins Sophie and Josh are back in San Francisco with the Flamels, where they encounter Scathach's twin sister, Aoife, who is desperate to find her sibling. The rapidly aging Flamels -- gearing up for a fight with the scary creatures on Alcatraz -- decide to take Josh to Prometheus to learn the Magic of Fire. Meanwhile, Dee is fleeing London after a warrant of sorts is issued for him by his Dark Elder master. He enlists the help of Virginia Dare to reach San Francisco and begin his world-domination plans. Scathach and Joan of Arc are stuck in another time and place (one that's full of hungry prehistoric beasts), while Joan's husband, Saint-Germain, seeks out the Saracen Knight and Shakespeare in hopes of finding a way to reach her. Not to be left out, Machiavelli and Billy the Kid escape Alcatraz and come face to face with a Dark Elder who won't accept any more excuses -- the beasts on Alcatraz need to be set loose on the city, and soon.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

If you can't follow the book summary above, you already know that skipping ahead in this series just isn't an option -- too many characters populate this world, which combines historic figures as immortals, gods of the past as Elders, older beings called Archons, whole shadowrealms parallel to our world, and magic that binds everything together. In fact, it will probably help to re-read the third book to keep up with this one. If readers love the characters, they won't mind the split-screen viewing of all their revelations here. But Josh is tougher to love -- it's not clear why he's so suspicious of Flamel but not nearly wary enough of Dee. Perhaps he'll find a way to redeem himself. ...

Splitting the story also splits the action ... and wrecks some of the momentum. At least all the complex storylines are worth following, and that's what will keep the pages turning. There are the occasional flashbacks to whole other eras, however, that are enough to make an impatient reader exclaim, "let those beasts loose on San Francisco already!" When -- well, if -- that happens, then the series will go beyond "pretty intriguing" right into "riveting" territory. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about which characters they researched as they read through the series. What did you find out about Virginia Dare? Prometheus?
  • If a fantasy series was set in your home town, where would the scary creatures live? Where would the heroes live? Where would be a good place to stage a good vs. evil battle? What everyday forces of nature would have a part to play?

  • Most of the immortals in this story owe an allegiance to an Elder. Why do some regret it, while others don't? Is Virginia Dare, without a real master, as free as she thinks she is? What are the drawbacks of immortality? Would you like to live hundreds or thousands of years?

Book details

Author:Michael Scott
Genre:Fantasy
Topics:Magic and fantasy
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Delacorte Press
Publication date:May 31, 2010
Number of pages:416
Publisher's recommended age(s):12 - 17
Read aloud:10
Read alone:11

This review of The Necromancer: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, Book 4 was written by

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Kid, 11 years old June 22, 2010
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

The Perfect Book

The book is the best in the series! It often encourages you to google the gods so you understand the story. If you liked Percy Jackson, 39 clues and the Pendragon series then you just love this book! The reason the title of the book is called The Necromancer is because of a major turning point in the main charters lives. If you dislike the book because of the Title then you are MISSING OUT on one of the BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 14 years old Written byabbee July 12, 2011
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

best book

Best book ever!
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 11 years old May 27, 2011
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

Great, simply great

THIS IS AWESOME! The series is great for preteens. Its really not that bad. Its just that the violence is a little iffy but thats it. Its a great book and if you have not heard of it read the first book NOW!
What other families should know
Too much violence

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