The Magician - Michael Scott

"I've always remembered my roots"--The Magician, p.324


After the whirlwind, downward spiral that the twins' lives have taken in the past two days--

[spoiler] when a 600-year old alchemyst fought with a 500-year-old magician and dragged the fifteen-year-old twins into a centuries old battle between more than just the two immortals [/spoiler]--Josh and Sophie Newman are going to find that remembering their roots is a tad easier said than done.


First off in the long list of reasons why the twins aren't going to find remembering their roots so easy is [spoiler] the fact that Sophie actually is having a bit of a rough time remembering her own life: ever since the Witch of Endor 'gifted' Sophie with all of her memories along with the magic of Air, Sophie's finding it really easy to remember people and places from hundreds and thousands of years ago...and really hard to remember her phone number and her parents' faces [/spoiler]. Not really 100% sure Sophie wants to rediscover some of those roots, so maybe she ought to save that [spoiler] until she has her roots separated from the Witch's [/spoiler].


Secondly, [spoiler] Josh doesn't trust Flamel anymore...and he might just be beginning to trust Dee [/spoiler]. Kind of hard to remember your roots when the roots are saying one thing and you're saying the other. It's a WIP, people, but as of right now

[spoiler] Josh is living his own version of Katy Perry's "Hot n' Cold," and Sophie's trying to figure out if she wants to hop on that bandwagon [/spoiler], so we might want to leave that be for a bit.


Thirdly, Josh has another problem on his hands. [spoiler] He's majorly jealous of his sister's Awakened senses and Air powers [/spoiler].


Last of all, [spoiler] the twins can't actually go back to their roots [/spoiler]. So we're just talking the talk walking going on at the moment.


Bit on the heavy side? Just a bit.


Michael Scott's The Magician is a hundred pages longer than The Alchemyst, reads a lot slower, and feels a lot more dull. (Thus the one star decrease in the rating). But it wasn't because the author got sloppy; it's because this book is a prime example of what YA fiction should be about.


Once, not too long ago, I was chatting with a friend in front of the YA section in Barnes and Noble. We were both lamenting the apparent decline in quality in YA fiction, and I mentioned at some point in the conversation that YA fiction was supposed to mean something, supposed to play some role in a young adult's development.


Michael Scott does just that with The Magician. Where The Alchemyst was a fast-paced adventure/suspense/thriller/fantasy read that whipped readers off their feet and into the whirlwind of change that the twins were experiencing, The Magician is much more introspective, filled with emotional insights and soul searches. It makes the book feel like a bit of a drag, but IMHO the result is a much more developed book, and it sets up the rest of The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel to be gamechangers in the YA world, instead of just another money-grabber.


Room For Two wrote a song called "Roots Before Branches" (^title^), in which their chorus did some talking about finding "Roots before branches/To know who I am/Before I know/Who I wanna be." The Magician is all about remembering roots, and figuring out whether or not the branches are worth it.