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 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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
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, and watching the author's ambitious melding of many myths, eras, cultures, belief systems, and crazy creatures has been extremely edu-taining. 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).
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.
Talk to your kids 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?
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