THE ALCHEMYST by Michael Scott Book Review
Series: The Secrets of The Immortal Nicholas Flamel, #1
Publication Date: May 22nd 2007 by Delacorte Press
Rating: – Acceptable
Book Summary: Nicholas Flamel was born in Paris on 28 September 1330. Nearly seven hundred years later, he is acknowledged as the greatest Alchemyst of his day. It is said that he discovered the secret of eternal life. The records show that he died in 1418. But his tomb is empty and Nicholas Flamel lives. The secret of eternal life is hidden within the book he protects – the Book of Abraham the Mage. It’s the most powerful book that has ever existed. In the wrong hands, it will destroy the world. And that’s exactly what Dr. John Dee plans to do when he steals it. Humankind won’t know what’s happening until it’s too late. And if the prophecy is right, Sophie and Josh Newman are the only ones with the power to save the world as we know it. Sometimes legends are true. And Sophie and Josh Newman are about to find themselves in the middle of the greatest legend of all time.
The Alchemyst by Michael Scott Book Review Overview:
- Unrelatable and forgettable main characters
- Secondary characters like Nicholas Flamel, and his wife, Perenelle, were more interesting
- Awesome blend of different mythologies and alchemy
When I hear the name, Nicholas Flamel, I immediately think of the Philosopher’s Stone and Harry Potter. The name has popped up in other places throughout the years, but I never really gave it much thought. I was reintroduced to Nicholas Flamel in THE ALCHEMYST by Michael Scott and quickly found out that Flamel was actually a real historical figure.
One of the biggest issues I had with THE ALCHEMYST by Michael Scott is the fact that the main characters, Sophie and Josh, were unrelatable. I found their characters to be flat and under-developed. I know that this is the first book in the series, and I imagine that Scott will use the rest of the books to develop their characters. But to me, it’s always important that I create a connection to the characters in the first book. Unrelatable or forgettable characters is probably the top reason why I end up not continuing with a series.
I ended up finding the secondary characters such as Nicholas and Perenell Flamel to be more interesting than Sophie and Josh. Because of my limited knowledge about Nicholas Flamel and his wife, I was really excited to learn that they had been actual figures in history. Scott provides readers, like me, with lots of background information. He manages to successfully weave Flamel’s history and myth into the plot. Sometimes, it does feel like the long paragraphs of information disrupts the flow of the plot. However, I enjoyed learning so much about Nicholas and Perenelle that I didn’t mind it as much as I usually would have.
Additionally, Scott seamlessly blends a combination of figures from different myths into his novel. If I had not done a little bit of research into the characters, I wouldn’t have guessed that they were from Egyptian, Norse, Celtic, and Greek mythologies. Scott adapts these mythological figures into his novel and transforms them into quite memorable characters. I quite enjoyed the combination of mythology and alchemy in THE ALCHEMYST.
Despite enjoying some aspects of THE ALCHEMYST by Michael Scott, my inability to relate to Sophie and Josh dissuade me from reading the rest of the series.I can’t embark on an epic quest with characters I don’t really care about.
FRESH OFF THE BOAT by Eddie Huang Book Review
Publication Date: January 29th 2013 by Spiegel & Grau
Rating: – Exceeds Expectations |
Book Summary: Eddie Huang is the thirty-year-old proprietor of Baohaus—the hot East Village hangout where foodies, stoners, and students come to stuff their faces with delicious Taiwanese street food late into the night—and one of the food world’s brightest and most controversial young stars. But before he created the perfect home for himself in a small patch of downtown New York, Eddie wandered the American wilderness looking for a place to call his own.
Eddie grew up in theme-park America, on a could-be-anywhere cul-de-sac in suburban Orlando, raised by a wild family of FOB (“fresh off the boat”) hustlers and hysterics from Taiwan. While his father improbably launched a series of successful seafood and steak restaurants, Eddie burned his way through American culture, defying every “model minority” stereotype along the way. He obsessed over football, fought the All-American boys who called him a chink, partied like a gremlin, sold drugs with his crew, and idolized Tupac. His anchor through it all was food—from making Southern ribs (and scoring drugs) with the Haitian cooks in his dad’s restaurant to preparing traditional meals in his mother’s kitchen to haunting the midnight markets of Taipei when he was shipped off to the homeland. After misadventures as an unlikely lawyer, street fashion renegade, and stand-up comic, Eddie finally threw everything he loved—past and present, family and food—into his own restaurant, bringing together a legacy stretching back to China and the shards of global culture he’d melded into his own identity.
Funny, raw, and moving, and told in an irrepressibly alive and original voice, Fresh Off the Boat recasts the immigrant’s story for the twenty-first century—it’s a story of food, family, and the forging of a new notion of what it means to be American.
Book Review Overview:
- Laugh-out-loud funny
- I couldn’t relate to his ramblings on hip-hop and basketball, but his story-telling was far too amusing
- Eddie Huang knows his food; this will make you have lots of cravings
Ever since I started my new job a few months ago, I’ve been listening to a lot more audiobooks. Lucky for me, I can work and listen to audiobooks at the same time. My work day on the computer goes by a lot faster when I have an interesting book to listen to.
Memoirs usually aren’t my thing, but I thought I would give Fresh Off the Boat by Eddie Huang a try. Aside from being a total book nerd, I’m also a huge foodie. Baohaus, the restaurant owned by Eddie Huang, is one of my favorite places to eat.
In Fresh Off the Boat, Eddie Huang combines his experience in growing up as an Asian-American with his love of food. What makes this audiobook so fun to listen to is the fact that he narrates it himself and he talks as if he is talking to one of his very good friends. His casual prose makes for entertaining story-telling. There were a handful of times that I wanted to laugh out loud, and I had to remind myself that it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to do that at work.
There were times where I found myself unable to relate to Eddie’s story. Eddie Huang loves to talk about hip-hop and basketball – two things that I’m not very familiar with. But his anecdotes are always mixed with humor, so even if I cannot relate 100%, I can still find his stories entertaining.
Furthermore, don’t let his love of hip-hop and street-talk fool you. Eddie Huang is quite smart and thoughtful. His thoughts on growing up as an Asian-American are quite provoking. Plus, there is no doubt that he knows his food. Fresh Off the Boat by Eddie Huang will make you hungry. I craved all kinds of food while listening to his audiobook. I couldn’t get the thought of eating a bao out of my mind until I made my way downtown to Baohaus.
I’m so glad I went out of my comfort zone and picked up Fresh Off the Boat by Eddie Huang. Fresh Off the Boat is eight hours of non-stop laughter and food cravings.
I use Grammarly’s plagiarism checker because even Harry Potter cheats off of Hermione.
LIFE AS WE KNEW IT by Susan Beth Pfeffer Audiobook Review
Series: The Last Survivors, #1
Publication Date: October 1st 2006 by HMH Books for Young Readers
Rating: – Exceeds Expectations
Book Summary: Miranda’s disbelief turns to fear in a split second when a meteor knocks the moon closer to the earth. How should her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis wipe out the coasts, earthquakes rock the continents, and volcanic ash blocks out the sun? As summer turns to Arctic winter, Miranda, her two brothers, and their mother retreat to the unexpected safe haven of their sunroom, where they subsist on stockpiled food and limited water in the warmth of a wood-burning stove.
Told in journal entries, this is the heart-pounding story of Miranda’s struggle to hold on to the most important resource of all–hope–in an increasingly desperate and unfamiliar world
Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer Review Overview:
- Seemingly ordinary things become precious in the post-apocalyptic world
- Likeable protagonist because Miranda isn’t perfect
- One of my favorite audiobooks and apocalyptic novels
Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer mimics my childhood imaginations of what the apocalypse would have been like. When a meteor hits the moon and knocks it closer to the earth, it creates a sequence of global catastrophes: deadly tsunamis, erupting volcanoes, and drastic climate change. It’s realistic; it’s not action-packed. The fate of the whole world doesn’t lie on the heroine’s hands. Most of the time the characters are in the dark of what is going on in their town, the country, and the rest of the world. Life As We Knew It is a realistic survival story about Miranda and her family.
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the audiobook of Life As We Knew It because it isn’t a fast-paced novel. It’s not the kind of novel that keeps readers on the edge of their seats. It’s a chronicle of the changes in everyday life post-apocalypse. Through Miranda’s diary, seemingly ordinary things become precious in the post-apocalyptic world. Readers are reminded of what basic necessities we need in life and what we shouldn’t take for granted.
Miranda is a likeable protagonist because she isn’t perfect. The apocalypse suddenly didn’t make her a better person. At times, she can still be extremely greedy, jealous, and even a little childish. But she also grows a lot as a character in Life As We Knew It. Miranda is also a normal teenage girl, and the apocalypse didn’t take away all her innocence. Even if the book can sometimes get bleak, it was nice to hear about extremely teenager things like crushes and fangirling.
While the ending of Life As We Knew It doesn’t resolve everything, the ending was satisfying. I’m still not sure if I want to continue on with the series even if I enjoyed the first book so much. I like how the ending left off. It left enough to my imagination to wonder what life would be like for Miranda after I turned the last page.
Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer is definitely one of my favorite audiobooks and also one of my favorite apocalyptic novels.