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The Enchantress by S. Michael

Scott, Michael. The Enchantress, New York : Delacourte Press , 2012. Print.

Michael Scott's sixth, and final, book in his Nicholas Flamel series crashes to its conclusion with The Enchantress. Credit is due to Scott for colourfully evoking and drawing together many of the very interesting figures and cultural artifacts from history and mythology but in conception his books can be overtaxing. Reading the glib dialogue between Shakespeare and Prometheus as their saucer-shaped air craft, a Vimāna, is piloted into the side of the Yggdrasil tree doesn't strain credulity - this is a fantasy adventure - so much as it tramples vigorously on any sense of cohesive aesthetics. While the essential conceit is fun and entertaining, at this frenetic late stage in the series, many portions of the text read like an over-thought riff on "who I would invite to have tea/mead/drink blood together if I could choose anyone - including anyone imaginary".

The strength in this series comes from Scott's characterizations. The women in this series benefit particularly from Scott's ability to combine momentum and brevity with enthusiastically lively and rich depiction. Perenelle Flamel, Virginia Dare and Scatach have genuine presence and the narrative hinges on their impressive abilities and intrinsic motivations. Scott's principals could benefit from a little more corporeal vulnerability. All his characters have trained in their respective arts for millennia and the perils that they face seems less then perilous to such champions, no matter how high the stakes are alleged to be.

Scott's carefully structured universes and their integral relationships have always been on a mysterious trajectory and the narrative revelation at conclusion of The Enchantress is resonant and satisfying. It has formulaic elements but Scott has established his characters soundly enough that their presence lends immediacy to the more epic, mythological structures that Scott is simultaneously pursuing. While the quality of pacing and aesthetic of this ambitious and lengthy series have fluctuated over the course of its six volumes, the conclusion is cohesive, action-packed and worth the journey.

The Enchantress is the sixth and final book in Scott's The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series.

Recommended with reservations:  2 out of 4 stars
Reviewer: Matilda Roche

Matilda spends her days lavishing attention on the University of Alberta’s metadata but children’s illustrated books, literature for young adults and graphic novels also make her heart sing. Her reviews benefit from the critical influence of a four year old daughter and a one year old son – both geniuses. Matilda’s super power is the ability to read comic books aloud.