9 Nov 2010

THE ALCHEMIST'S APPRENTICE.


Jack is on the run. Alone in the world with nowhere to turn, he finds a strange object floating on the rising tide of the Thames.

In trying to assess the value of the relic Jack meets Barnstable, an alchemist who only adds to the boy's perplexity by his enigmatic ways. Dramatic events escalate and Jack's fortunes change beyond all expectation. But the mystery surrounding the alchemist won't go away. Has he really discovered the secret of making gold?
... From the outer back cover.

FIRST SENTENCE: In the tiny yard behind the forge, the cock crowed.

MEMORABLE MOMENT: Words tumbled around inside his head; alembic, magnesia, athanor, mercury. He couldn't remember what any of them meant. There was only one way to escape them, and Jack took it. Before the alchemist had even begun to explain, he was fast asleep on the chair where he sat.

Aimed at children, I would suggest that this is for older children/young teens who are experienced readers. If it were a film I would be saying that it had enough (just) to maintain the interest of adults, less for older children and very little for younger children. However it isn't a film but a book - a book with a message to tell, a book that deals with some pretty complex issues.

Basically a story of rags-to-riches, The Alchemist's Apprentice tells the story of  Jack who goes in search of something (what I won't say) that ultimately cannot be bought.

One of those novels that is difficult to review as I'm not too sure if I really enjoyed it or not. Certainly the plot was interesting but I was left feeling that I'd heard it before - Henry Fielding's TOM JONES somehow came to mind. Character wise, I cannot say I liked the characters, and especially not Jack himself, who were rather poorly written and 'flat' if I can use this term to describe them.

Not a book I particularly liked and yet I found myself reading all 199 pages in next to no time, I shall certainly be passing this onto Niece #2 (almost 12) to see what she makes of it.

The Alchemist's Apprentice was ex-library stock, purchased at our local library.

16 comments:

budh.aaah said...

I think it sounds pretty interesting and the 'just' you added well is just the stamp of approval (to read it)I needed :)

Vivienne said...

i am sure I have this one somewhere. The name Kate Thompson sounds so familiar. I think I would probably enjoy this one.

Jenny said...

I've read a couple lately where I've finished and thought "hm, I don't know quite how I feel about this one." I think I'll pass on this story but I appreciate your honest review!

chitra said...

Your review is always interesting to read.:)))

Misha1989 said...

Thanks for the review!I had read this book a few years ago. I agree that Jack's character was flat.

Betty Manousos @ CUT AND DRY said...

I love these reviews of yours. They are always such interesting reads.
That book sounds interesting too.

Big big hugs,
B xx

GMR said...

Hmm, the premise sounds interesting but it's funny you should mention it sounding familiar. It brought images of Septimus Heap to mind for me (MG series). Thanks for sharing!

joan said...

hiya thanks for visiting my blog i don't know about you but its so good to come across an English blogger , the majority of book bloggers are in USA , and the books they review i have never seen over here. So i am glad i found you happy blogging

Suko said...

Petty, I hadn't heard of this book before. I like books with well-developed characters.

Jennifer McLean said...

this seems like a fun book! Nice to talk to you, I've been on a short hiatus, stomach flu etc. Thanks for your comment a while ago. I'll keep in touch!

Oddyoddyo13 said...

I agree with you, and I only read the synopsis! Thanks for the review!

Kelly said...

At least it has a great title! It brings to mind (for me, at least) a period in history I love to read about.

kavita said...

Sounds like an interesting book.Thanks for the review.
Sorry ,i have been busy lately ,work,family and festivities.Hope to be back very soon .Thanks for everything PW ,you are a wonderful friend :):)

Alison said...

Sounds like an interesting book. I'm always up for a good rag-to-riches story if it's told well.

Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

this looks interesting! sorry it was only so-so for you though.

naida said...

Thanks for the honest review. I have seen this one around.
http://thebookworm07.blogspot.com/