Lisa's Reviews > The Necromancer

The Necromancer by Michael Scott
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's review
Dec 01, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: fantasy
Read in January, 2012

This series is not amazingly well-written, and seems to have been, shall we say, hastily copy-edited. And I was reading the paperback, which should have undergone another round of corrections after first publication. Oh, well.

What I'm enjoying about these books are the variety of mythologies employed and the reach of the author's imagination. Historical figures, gods, monsters, ghosts and all manner of things come together to form a really interesting plot, aside from the usual "save the whole world from utter destruction" thing. I really have to know what happens next, from page to page.

Interestingly, none of the Good Guys is especially compelling. The Flamels are out to save humanity, but at what cost, we're not quite sure; they certainly don't mind dying themselves, and for two people who continually lay claim to human empathy, they are a little divorced from the reality of other people's feelings. Then there are teenage twins who are simply clueless, in spite of all their Ancient and Scary Power, and sadly unable to grasp anything beyond what they happen to think in any given moment is best for them. On the other hand, this makes a change from the usual model of a young hero who meets an old sage/mentor and immediately and utterly worships the ground he walks on. (Not that I don't enjoy those.) Sophie and Josh do try to think for themselves, even if they rarely succeed in understanding what's really going on.

On the side of Evil, now, we have Dr. John Dee, who is simply bats**t, nuts and crackers, the actual epitome of One Bad Dude. Not really cool, although he is an outstanding liar.

And then... Niccolò Machiavelli and Billy the Kid team up. And this is the genius pairing because, all of a sudden, we have two totally different people who actually seem real (as they're written here, I mean, not just because they actually lived), relating to each other in rather unlikely but appealing ways. Machiavelli is older and wiser (by about 400 years), good at controlling himself and others, whereas Billy is forthright and impatient, but street-smart and intuitive. And although both men work for the Dark Side, both are very human and extremely likeable. One of my favorite moments was when Billy learned that Perenelle had made off with his cherished Thunderbird, and Machiavelli convinced him that she could barely drive. I also like the emphasis on their cultural differences; it's inevitable that an Italian and an American, rather unintentionally becoming friends, would not always find themselves on the same page.

I've spent rather a lot of time dwelling on one of the less prominent story arcs, but it's my favorite. Although I'm enjoying the rapid-fire kaleidoscope of mythological entities, this series does seem a bit like a pot on the stove into which someone has thrown every single ingredient in the pantry. I don't think it'll explode, but I might reserve judgment on the taste until it's all cooked.

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