Study Guide

The Alchemyst Genre

By Michael Scott


Adventure, Children's Literature, Fantasy, Coming-Of-Age, Quest

Adventure, Children's Literature, Fantasy

The Alchemyst is a mishmash of a few genres, just like it's a mishmash of mythological characters and humans, or modern technology and magic. This book is all about comparisons and clashes, so it makes sense that we have a few things going on on the genre front.

First of all, it's an adventure. Come on, you saw that one coming, right? The twins embark on the dangerous undertaking to protect the Book from falling into evil hands, risking all and constantly fending off physical danger. We're on the edge of our seats every step of the way, and it's tons of fun to watch these twins fumble their way through sticky situations. And because our main characters are teenagers, with youthful concerns, and an adolescent attitude, we'll go ahead and call this one children's literature, too. Hey, call it a children's fantasy, if you're feeling fancy.

Stopping there, however, would sell The Alchemyst short. The book that kicks off with the secrets of the immortal Nicholas Flamel is also a fantasy of the highest order—a fictional tale with otherworldly settings and strange characters. Fantasy asks us readers to toss aside reality for a moment, and allow magic into our lives. And now that we mention it, isn't that exactly what Josh and Sophie have to do? If we buy into the story (and we totally do), we have to admit that the impossible is so very possible in our lives. Could it be that magic is real, and everywhere?


The Alchemyst is all about growing up. As the twins face the fact that their lives have changed in an instant, they're forced into adulthood right quick. They have to learn how to live on their own and take care of themselves. It's telling that their parents are nowhere to be found, leaving Josh and Sophie to make their own choices, for better or for worse.


But wait, there's more! Michael Scott's novel is also a quest, in the same way Jason from Greek mythology was on a quest to attain the Golden Fleece, or Frodo was on a quest to destroy the ring of Mordor in Lord of the Rings. In The Alchemyst, the twins are on a quest to protect the book and fulfill the prophecy, which requires them to travel, fight evil, and persevere against incredible odds.