The Warlock: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, Book 5

Penultimate in edu-taining fantasy series harder to love.

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 Shakespeare, Palamedes, Gilgamesh, Abraham the Mage, Scathach, Joan of Arc, Prometheus, Billy the Kid, Virginia Dare, Dr. John Dee ... the list goes on. Mythological creatures also get high billing, especially the Lotan, a sphinx, and anpu. An afterword discusses the vimanas (flying saucer-like ships) and how flying machines have appeared far back in various mythologies.

Positive messages

Lots of talk about what characters would do to save the ones they love -- the answer is always "anything and everything." Broad concepts are also explored by the wise character Tsagaglalal, like the fact that knowledge in itself isn't dangerous, but how it's used can be. Virginia Dare discusses Einstein's assertion that imagination is more important than knowledge.

Positive role models

Twins Sophie and Josh are split up here. While Sophie still seems to side with the "good guys," she's a reluctant hero. Josh is easily swayed by the "bad guys," but a cursed sword confuses his thinking. Both feel betrayed by the other but would still do anything to protect their twin. Other characters make tough choices to protect the human race.


Scary monsters abound, including vicious dog-like creatures called anpu, a many-headed Lotan that sucks blood and auras, and some pretty nasty mermaids. Some sword- and fist-fighting and a big battle with flying saucer-like ships. Some main characters are incarcerated in an active volcano. Lots of talk of the imminent destruction of Earth and past civilizations. Two beloved characters only have a day left to live.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is the second-to-last book in the Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel fantasy series. Numerous 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, including a giant many-headed snake and nasty mermaids set to do the most damage. A high-speed chase in flying saucers also puts characters at risk, and two central characters only have a day left to live. All this set against the backdrop of the imminent destruction of our world and others.

What's the story?

When Josh Newman follows Dr. John Dee out of his burning high-rise, his sister Sophie feels betrayed. But she sticks with the Flamels, who, without the Codex that Dee stole, will die in days. She intends to slip into her Aunt Agnes' for a change of clothes (and as few explanations as possible) when she's hit with a big surprise: Aunt Agnes is really one of the oldest humani alive and has special messages for Sophie and Josh for when the end is near. Meanwhile, Scathach, Joan of Arc, Saint Germain, Shakespeare, Palamedes, and a mysterious hook-handed man travel through shadowrealms to finally arrive in Danu Talis (aka Atlantis) right before its fall. If it doesn't fall, the humani will never exist. But how can the immortals ensure its destruction when they're captured and hauled into an active volcano?

Is it any good?


We're on book five now -- one more to go. And at this point, readers are quite invested (it's practically guaranteed that they've spent some time on Wikipedia looking up Scathach, the sphinx, the world tree, Gilgamesh, and many other pieces of and characters in the story). Watching the author's ambitious melding of many myths, eras, cultures, belief systems, and crazy creatures has been extremely edu-taining.

But the heart of the story is the twins and their awakening. Or at least it was. In THE WARLOCK, they never get to show off their powers or save the day in any way. They're in mopey "how'd I get myself into this end of the world stuff?" mode. And Josh, his every thought tainted by a cursed sword, is barely there at all. Readers will miss having the siblings anchor this volume and may find the split story and myriad characters recalling myriad moments in the past even more distracting and muddled this time around. Warlock's saving grace? The very last page. Yup. It'll really get readers wondering how the series will all end. Let's hope the last book will hold together better than this one did.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about this series and others like it that combine myth with the modern world. Did the mythology draw you to the series? Those who have read Percy Jackson and The Kane Chronicles may want to compare and contrast them with this series.

  • Are you just as excited for the final book in the series as you were when the series began? Have you noticed anything changing about the books with each installment?

Book details

Author:Michael Scott
Topics:Magic and fantasy
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Delacorte Press
Publication date:May 24, 2011
Number of pages:400
Publisher's recommended age(s):12 - 17
Read aloud:11
Read alone:11

This review of The Warlock: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, Book 5 was written by

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


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 13 years old Written byjjjones20 May 26, 2011
age 13+


i think the book was fantastic i was only irritated with the suspense
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written byunknown person June 1, 2011
age 12+


This book series is totally awesome! I was so hooked in it, I couldn't wait for The Warlock to come out!
Parent of a 15 year old Written bymamma bear reader May 19, 2011
age 10+
I absolutely loved this book....It was a history lesson as well as an action packed adventure. My children and I have read all of the books in this series and we are hooked. Wonderful storytelling.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass