A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the third installment in this popular fantasy series has plenty of mythological beasts and battles, with teenage twins at the center of the conflict. Lots of spiders, poisoned insects, and mythological dogs and wolves meet their demise in tense battle scenes, but it's clear that the twins won't be harmed -- though there are mentions of twins in the past that didn't survive. There's lots of talk of magic, auras, and mythological gods and goddesses, and some recognizable historical characters make appearances as immortals.
What's the story?
After leaving Paris for London, newly awakened twins Sophie and Josh and their mentor/protector, Nicholas Flamel, can't seem to shake their pursuers, who've been set upon by elders from the ancient world (with dangerous magician John Dee acting as principal minion). Just in time, they're scooped up by knight/taxi driver Palamedes and hidden in his junkyard fortress. Meanwhile, Flamel's wife, Perenelle the sorceress, is still stuck on abandoned Alcatraz, hiding from the sphinx and desperately looking for allies, especially when she realizes the cells are teaming with slumbering ancient beasts who only need the right spell to be awakened. When the two parties make magical contact, auras flare up, alerting all manner of nasty creatures to their presence and putting the twins' newly awakened powers to the test.
Is it any good?
Consistent with the rest of the series, creatures and characters plucked from a number of mythologies and historical eras abound -- so much so that it's hard to keep them straight. But for the most part, these creatures fascinate and send chills down the spine when they're sent to battle the twins and Perenelle. Also, Palamedes isn't nearly as charming and ruthless a protector as Scatty, who only makes a brief appearance (and a disappointing disappearance).
What does work just as well in this book is the pacing of the action -- Scott always opens with a good chase and closes with an against-all-odds escape, and everything takes place in just a couple of days. Plus, in keeping with the title THE SORCERESS, we finally get to see more of Perenelle's powers, and for girls who like fantasy reads, this story again features powerful female characters.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the myriad mythological and historical characters that pepper this series. What did you know about them before?
How does the author use them for his story?
Does it make the story more intriguing, the way these characters are "repurposed"?
What else can you find out about Billy the Kid, the Archon, Palamedes, Gilgamesh, and other characters?
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