Book Review: The Sorceress by Michael Scott

I finished The Sorceress (Young Adult Fantasy 483 pages) by Michael Scott sometime in the past week. Again, I got so wrapped up in reading the next book in the series that I neglected to write a review for this book. So hopefully, this one is fresh enough in my mind that I won’t confuse what happened in that story with what happens in the next book.

Obviously, I am getting more and more addicted to this series as I continue to read through these at a very healthy rate. Unfortunately, it is no longer possible for me to speak in generic terms about the books and there will likely be spoilers from this book, as well as key plot elements from the previous books. If you have not read the previous books or this book, I recommend that you don’t read any more of this review.

“Paris: Dr. John Dee has torn the city apart in every attempt to intercept the immortal Nicholas Flamel and Sophie and Josh Newman. He has the Book of Abraham the Mage, but he’s still missing the last two pages – the pages required for the Final Summoning. Without them the spell cannot be cast, and the Dark Elders will not rest until they are in power and the human race is destroyed – or Dee is.”

“London: Sophie and Josh Newman show every sign of being the twins of legend, and Flamel will stop at nothing to protect them and the pages from the Dark Elders. But Nicholas grows weaker with each passing day. And now the small group has Clarent – the twin sword to Excalibur – a weapon so sinister that darkness seeps into the soul of whoever wields it. If Nicholas hopes to defeat Dee, he must find someone who can teach Sophie and Josh the third elemental magic – Water Magic. The problem? The only being who can do that is Gilgamesh, and he is quite, quite insane.”

This book focuses mostly on Perenelle and her adventures on Alcatraz. The sections of the story with her are very intriguing as well as slightly frightening. I never doubted that she believed her actions were intended for the greater good, and though I see traces of mistakes and dark deeds in her past, I don’t see any sense of evil. I guess for me, the difference between good and evil is more defined along the lines of selfish and selfless. Most stories throughout history portray disputes between “good guys” and “bad guys.” The truth of that, though, is that bad guys rarely see themselves as the bad guys and are usually the hero of their own stories. So we see the thoughts and feeling in Perenelle throughout this story and we get hints of her motivations, which seem completely altruistic, but she is also extremely intelligent and powerful. Power is a very, very dangerous thing, even (or especially) when held in the hands of those who mean well. While I cheered for Perenelle and her resourcefulness and reluctance to kill the creatures on Alcatraz, I sometimes wondered if she was going to become an enemy or if she already had. It’s a very interesting thought process in my head as to likely or possible courses of action for her. It’s also interesting to contemplate some of the less-than-pleasant things she easily could have, or perhaps already, accomplished in the past.

I dislike spiders. This has been true most of my life. I was therefore a little intrigued at the intensity of this story over me, as I found myself cheering for Aerop-Enap, a giant spider. I was uncomfortable and a little sad when the poisonous flies seemed to be killing Aerop-Enap. I didn’t want the spider to die, especially not after she had proven to be a friend to humans and fighting for our freedom throughout the centuries. I’m not quite to the point of disliking spiders, but I will work harder to simply evict them from my home from now on instead of just making flat blood-splatter patterns out of them. Maybe.

The villains in this book are really fascinating. Dr. John Dee heads up the worst of those pursuing Josh and Sophie because he has the ability to convince Josh that he might be fighting on the wrong side. Every time Dee gets a chance to talk to Josh, Josh winds up questioning more and more which side of the conflict he should fight on, and that’s hazardous on a lot of levels. This goes back to my thoughts about how easy it is to become one of the “bad guys” who starts acting more for their own self-interest than for that of the greater good. I do realize that there are very few people, both in the real world and in stories, that are not selfish and do not work on things for their own gain.

Cernunnos, the Horned God, and the Wild Hunt are brought forth into the streets of London to help capture or kill Nicholas, Josh, Sophie, Palamedes, and Shakespeare. The action in this section of the book, where Dee, Cernunnos, and Bastet face the heroes gets rather good. I enjoyed the chase and the hunt, and the addition of Gilgamesh. I don’t think Gilgamesh is nearly as crazy as everyone keeps thinking he is, and I think he might have a bigger role later in the series, but I’ll just have to keep reading in order to find out.

As the story progressed and Scathach and Joan get ready to go rescue Perenelle, I was getting all ready to start believing that the good guys might be able to gain some ground and maybe save the world. But then they wind up millions of years in the past and I was stunned with the thought process that really made me wonder how the good guys were going to make any sort of progress at all. Then I started thinking about it again, and I got a bit excited thinking about how Josh and Sophie probably find a way to go back in time and rescue them, which is why Cernunnos and Gilgamesh both say that they have met one of the twins before! So it will be interesting to see if I’m right about that.

And then Josh throws away the sword and Dee combines them! Wow! Maybe the whole prophecy wasn’t talking about Josh and Sophie (or other, human twins) at all!

Overall, this book is probably a high three or a low four on my rating scale. I’m definitely glad I bought the entire series all at once before I started reading them and I would say that it’s highly likely that I will read them all again in the future.

About C.A. Jacobs

Just another crazy person, masquerading as a writer.
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