***NOTE MY REVIEWS OFTEN CONTAIN SPOILERS***
Josh, Sophie and Flamel have made it to London, but in a city controlled by the Dark Elders their allies are few and far between. A bounty has been placed on their head and enemies are appearing every where they look. Josh is newly awakened still dealing with senses he hasn’t learned to control. Will they be able to distinguish friend from foe in this enemy territory or will they find themselves captured and their mission forfeit? Can they find the King Gilgamesh and convince him to teach them the element of water and even if they find him will the King be sane enough to even offer instruction?
This third novel in the series I think continues on the upward climb of the story arc. We’re offer a small resolution in the plot of Perenelle, but even there so many loose ends remain that it just seems like another twist in the greater tale. The action, history and mythology remain intense and with each novel the obstacles become greater, the cost higher. The novel continues with the multi-viewpoint close third person narrative allowing us to see so many more angles of the story and demonstrating that the tale could not be really understood without the view from each window shown. The right and the wrong of the goals presents remains a matter of point of view. Both Flamel and Dee feel absolutely that their goals are the right ones and must be accomplished at any cost. Most of my rating comes from the fact that the story doesn’t include a full story arc, it merely offers another two or so eventful days in the lives of these characters. Each story builds on one plot enriching it with new action, new details and history and new characters. In this novel the Dark Elders bring an Archon to the battle, a being older than The Elders themselves and one that most of the characters thought were only legend and have no really idea of what it’s capabilities are. Josh, now awakened, becomes an even bigger player, the military knowledge gifted to him by Mars upon his awakening offering a great advantage to the characters around him, but also changing him in fundamental ways. Sophie comes to the realization that the Witch of Endor might not have bestowed a gift upon her when she endowed Sophie will all of her memories. A person is a sum of their own memories and experiences and Sophie battles to keep those memories which are hers. It appears that the Witch of Endor might be after a younger more powerful form than the one she has, that of Sophie herself. If Sophie can’t maintain that which is her in her head and lets the Witches’s memories overpower her own that she won’t be Sophie anymore. The new information revealed about Flamel however is the part that kind of has me a little irritated. In the first novel it sounded as though Flamel wasn’t sure he’d ever find the twins and had no idea Sophie and Josh were who they were until Dee appeared, but in this novel it sounds as though they were offered their jobs only because they were twins. They were in essence manipulated by the Flamels to be where they were when they were and to become involved in the events which are now occurring. Honestly I feel if this was going to be the case that there should have been more foreshadowing of that offered in the previous books. It read to me at first like Scott changed his mind about the motives of the characters when he came to the first book. The question of who exactly Josh and Sophie can trust becomes a big part of the story in this novel because it’s not really clear anymore who’s right and who’s wrong and which characters really care about Sophie and Josh. In presenting that Scott brings an entirely new layer to the plot that’s always been a little bit in question yes, but nothing like it is here. Like the other novels this fast paced story is a page turner from beginning to end and a journey readers will no doubt enjoy.
As with the rest of the series works, Scott truly brings each character presented to life. Villains such as Dee, Machiavelli and in this novel Billy the Kid, those serving the dark elders, are not all bad. They’re full bodied characters with strengths and faults. Dee truly believes he’s doing what’s best for the world and at points in this story you can’t help but feel a bit sorry for him and his situation. Machiavelli is in my opinion the most interesting villain because he’s not entirely sure the Dark Elders are right, but neither is he willing to risk his life in disobeying his masters. In the second novel there was a sense that he actually cared what happened to Josh and I think he’s going to be a character to watch in future works. Perenelle is portrayed as both dangerous, but caring. Thrice now she’s approached those who were once her enemy or that had betrayed her and made allies of them. Her dealings with the elders themselves are the ones that really show her strength of character. She thinks about what people do and the reasons behind that rather than just condemning them for their actions. Flamel however who is portrayed as being on the side of good in previous novels becomes at points unlikeable in this novel, moreso than Josh ever did in the previous one. It becomes clear that the only person important to Flamel is his wife and the only things important to him are his goals. The other characters Josh and Sophie encounter seem to be much more concerned about their well being than Flamel is and the ending of the novel really shows him as almost as much of a villain as Dee. Shakespeare, Scatty, Gilgamesh, Palimedes and Germain all appear in this novel as well and each character is well developed and likeable. It’s as if Flamels allies have the right goal but also care about the twins themselves and show a great amount of loyalty, courage and sacrifice in trying to protect Sophie and Josh, the same can’t necessarily be said about Nicholas Flamel himself. Sophie and Josh continue to grow and change as characters throughout the novel. The differences between them are becoming more pronounced but so is their loyalty to each other.
Overall I’d definitely recommend this third novel in the series and to be honest I’ll probably say that about all the novels in the series since they are all parts of the same story and you can’t enjoy one without having read the others. It’s one of those series where you must read each novel in the series in order to understand what’s occurring in the next. The series is a definite must read for fans of fantasy young and old.