Twins Sophie and Josh Newman are working summer jobs to save up for a car, a project that is going to take two years worth of saving from summer and after-school jobs. Josh works in a bookstore for Nick and Perry Fleming, who Sophie sees often at her job at the coffee shop across the street. One morning, their lives change when a group of strange men enter the bookstore and attack the Flemings. Both Sophie and Josh rush to help and in doing so witness the inexplicable: strange smells, bolts of electricity, invisible balls of energy, mythical creatures, and arcane languages. Once the dust clears, Nick Fleming explains; He tells the twins that he is actually Nicholas Flamel, the famous alchemist born in 1330. The historical Flamel was rumored to have discovered the secret of immortality, and in this story he has been protecting that secret for more than six hundred years. Ever since the discovery, he and Perry have guarded the secrets of dangerous magic from evil mages who seek to end the world. For the twins, this knowledge is a curse: they are now inextricably caught up in a magical battle between the forces of good and evil, a battle they may not survive.
The Alchemyst is the first book in what will be a series of six books. It is a really great story, full of historical and mythological characters transported into the modern world. It’s a wild adventure, on par with Harry Potter. Sophie and Josh are believable, wonderful characters, and their relationship as brother and sister is well done. Along the way they visit a bunch of really fantastic places, both mythical and real, and the descriptions really bring them to life. You won’t be able to put this book down.