So, I came into this knowing it had mixed reviews and thought for the worst. I'm not saying where I read these reviews, and I don't always read reviews beforehand, but sometimes it's good to know, so I don't get too excited only to be let down. The crux of it is that I enjoyed the book. Sure, it's a little slow at times with all the talk and what not, but overall I found it enjoyable and a good ride.
There are several main characters in this book. But, like all books, there are probably more central characters than the rest. The first character I'd like to describe (or voice my opinion about) is Sophie Newman. She's the (spoiler) twin sister to her brother Josh. They are both ordinary teenagers until they meet Nick. Now, Sophie is the smart one of the two twins. She's the one who can think and act reasonably. Josh is a hot head and says whatever he wants without any filter. Obviously, Josh is the one who lands them in trouble most of the time.
After the twins, we have Nicholas Flamel and his wife, Perenelle. Nicholas seems to be the schemer in the family while Perenelle is the stronger sorceress (the one with the more powerful magic). We didn't read much about Perenelle, so she's still a mystery to me as to how she'll behave. But, I do believe she's more honest than Nicholas. Nicholas was a character I liked and also disliked at times - he came across quite arrogant and demanding, but I suppose if you've lived for hundreds of years one might tend to think they're better than the others.
As for the bad guys of the story, we have Dr John Dee, the main "baddie" of the story. He's been the Flamel's enemy for a long time and has just found them in this book. He teams up with some evil (god-like) beings that nobody should team with. I thought he showed the usual signs of a villain, how he's afraid, but determined to show his strength and power at the same time.
So, the central theme throughout this book and is referenced over and over again (sorry if this a spoiler) is the idea of fate. It is written in this grand book that Flamel has, that twins, Josh and Sophie, will either tear up the world or save up. They are fated to do this and can't escape the prophecy that was written about them thousands of years ago. I like the idea that we're fated to do things, and it's written in the threads of time.
Another theme is that the twins, Josh and Sophie Newman, have to grow up fast. For everyone, whether you're old or young, will notice this. You'll always be forced into situations where you have to grow up and stop acting like a kid. To be honest, I wish I could still be a kid and not have the responsibilities that I have now. But that's life. You grow up.
Lastly, I'd like to discuss the theme of morality. I know I almost present this every book, but nearly every book is teaching us what is right and wrong, or the opposite. In The Alchemyst, we learn that the Flamels might have ulterior motives and that Dr John Dee might not be as bad as we thought he was.
Like the first title says, I enjoyed the book. It wasn't s good as some of the books I read last year, but I'm going to continue the series. So, I definitely recommend you give this a read (if you're into Young Adult) and let me know what you thought of the book. I heard a rumour that this is going to become a film, so I'll also go and see that when it comes out.