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broodings from the burrow

June 27, 2012

into the stacks: the enchantress
posted by soe 2:05 am

Once upon a Time Reading Challenge VIThe Enchantress, by Michael Scott

From the jacket: “The two that are one must become the one that is all. One to save the world, one to destroy it…. Today the battle for the world will be won or lost. But will the twins of legend stand together? Or will they stand apart — one to save the world and one to destroy it?”

My take: In my review of The Warlock, the penultimate book in the Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series, last year, I wrote that I was having a hard time figuring out how to review the book without giving away spoilers. That remains true in the final book.

Let me say this: The battle to save mankind is being fought on two fronts. The first is in modern-day San Francisco, where alchemyst Nicholas Flamel and his wife, the enchantress Perenelle, are fighting side-by-side with Billy the Kid, Black Hawk, and Machiavelli to prevent mythic beasts from reaching land and devouring the city’s residents. Swordsman Niten and Prometheus are fighting more bad guys on the Golden Gate Bridge. They all are badly outnumbered and losing energy quickly.

The second is in Danu Talis, the famed Atlantis, ten thousand years ago. Josh and Sophie, the golden and silver twins, tumbled back through a leygate with Virginia Dare and John Dee to an eventful moment on the mythical island — the moment when history dictates the island nation is supposed to undergo a revolution that brings a close to the golden age of the Elders and allows mankind to rise to the fore. Will the twins get help or hindrance in their quest from the surprising presence of so many familiar faces? Will they rise to fulfill their destiny? Will humanity win out?

I also wrote in my last review that I was surprised Scott was opting to end the series in six books as it felt like they had a lot of ground to cover still and a lot of open storylines to wrap up. That feeling also did not change as I was reading this novel.

As with the whole series, viewpoints shift from chapter to chapter, bouncing between the two settings in an ever increasingly tense ping pong game. The stakes are high, and there are a lot of characters we are invested in, offering us no relief until turning the final page (if then) in terms of settling everyone’s fate. Unfortunately, it occasionally felt like the pressure of answering all the questions meant that the answers were a little thin and might not hold up to closer scrutiny.

As with all the novels, there are a couple of surprise twists, and Scott’s easy-going writing style does speed you along through a lot of action. If it was not the great ending I had hoped for from a truly enjoyable series of books, it was still a good and mostly satisfying one. If you enjoy compelling YA fantasy series, I recommend you head out and pick up the first book in the series, The Alchemyst.

Pages: 517

This book fills the mythology category of the Once upon a Time VI reading challenge.

This review also concludes my participation in the challenge. I did not get around to watching A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but I did read and enjoy four books in the genres of mythology, fairy tale, folklore, and general fantasy between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. I shall count that as a successful accomplishment of Quest the Second.

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