Tuesday, 14 March 2017

The Alchemist [Book Review]

Hello everyone!

Title: The Alchemist
Author: Paulo Coelho
Translated by: Alan R. Clarke
Publisher: HarperCollins
Published Date: 1988
Rating: 5 Stars


Synopsis: Paulo Coelho's enchanting novel has inspired a devoted following around the world. This story, dazzling in its powerful simplicity and inspiring wisdom, is about an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure buried in the Pyramids. Along the way he meets a Gypsy woman, a man who calls himself king, and an alchemist, all of whom point Santiago in the direction of his quest. No one knows what the treasure is, or if Santiago will be able to surmount the obstacles along the way. But what starts out as a journey to find worldly goods turns into a discovery of the treasure found within. Lush, evocative, and deeply humane, the story of Santiago is an eternal testament to the transforming power of our dreams and the importance of listening to our hearts.


Review: The Alchemist was a book I had wanted to read for a long time… It’s one of those novels you hear so much about, and can easily forget to read because the recommendations continuously pass you by. But when I was sick one day, wrapped up in bed, I started to read the novel. I loved it and read half of the book before I fell asleep. I don’t know why it took me a few weeks to get back to it again, but then I picked it up and consumed it until I finished it.

What I loved most about this book was the amount of wisdom every page held. I felt like whenever I turned the page, I was learning a different life lesson. There are so many quotes that I highlighted which will be carried with me for a long while in the future (I hope). If you want to read something which will help motivate you to achieve your goals, help yourself believe in who you are again and to remind you about the beauty of humanity and how we are all, in essence, just people. It made me think about how simple everything really is, and how humans overcomplicate things. It made me think about how some things are complicated, and that’s just the way it is. All in all, this was a very thought-provoking book.

The novels pace is slow and steady. It never lags to me and gets boring, but it isn’t a fast paced read and that’s because it leans more on the philosophical and deep side of things than anything else. I liked the steady pace and it matched all the lessons the main character is learning throughout the novel.

This is a very character driven read. There isn’t really much action because it just doesn’t fall under that genre. So be prepared for that if you’re going to be going into this one. When it comes to the main character, I did like him. I never felt a deep connection with the character himself. Mostly because the tale is told in third person and we don’t really get to know much of his interests and hobbies outside of the ‘quest’ or ‘journey’ he has been given to undertake. But as the novel goes on, you get to steadily connect to the journey he is going through. And in making a connection to that, you get to feel a bit for him within that context. So I never felt too close to the character, but more so everything that was happening to him.

I hope that makes sense.

I felt like this was a perfect translation of the novel. In fact, I don’t know why I assumed English was the first language that this novel was written in. It was only when writing this review and researching for the book details I include at the top of the review, did I notice that this was actually a translated work. So if translated works usually scare you off because of worrying about something being lost in translation, you don’t have to fear that here.

I loved the writing style. The imagery and the descriptions of everything was beautiful. I felt like I was in the desert right along with the main character. I liked the descriptions and depictions of all the various characters he came across.

When discussing this novel with a friend, I learned that where she came from this novel was looked down on as ‘cheap philosophy’. And even though I would strongly disagree, I can see where she is coming from. I guess from a different perspective, the wisdom and life lessons I felt like I was learning could be labeled so. However, I more so see it as an accessible, and understandable philosophy. Whenever I read philosophy, it always seems so over-complicated and I have to spend a lot of time thinking and decoding to find the true meaning. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s also nice to have something a bit easier to read and understand as well. While incurring the same kind of messages from the text.

All in all, I have to say I recommend this one a lot!


Gif Summary:


Quotes: “People need not fear the unknown if they are capable of achieving what they need and want.”

“When you want something with all your heart, that’s when you’re closest to the Soul of the World.”

“Everyone has his or her own ways of learning things.”

“Listen to your heart. It knows all things.”

Links: Goodreads and Amazon!


New Video: Book Review of Some Writer!


Olivia’s Question: What’s your favourite quote?

Olivia-Savannah x 


  1. This sounds like a great read! I normally love translations - they always seem to use much more beautiful and poetic ways of writing.
    I haven't actually heard of this one I don't think. Or maybe I've just forgotten? Sounds like one I would like though!

  2. I have been wanting to read this one for a while. Sounds like a great read and I am curious about the life lessons. Glad to hear you enjoyed The Alchemist so much. Thanks for sharing. :)

  3. I like: Everyone has his or her own ways of learning things. We are unique creatures and beautiful in our differences--evening learning.

  4. I bought this book years ago but haven't ever opened it up. I need to get it out and read it because you make it sound very great.

  5. I am so glad you got the chance to read The Alchemist. I love this book! It's in my top 20 books. I've read some of his other works but they are not as good as this one.

    Your review was spot on. Great job!

  6. After reading and enjoying The Spy by Paulo Coelho I want to give all his books a shot. This one sounds great!

  7. I was impressed by this book too :-) I nearly didn't read it because I'd given up on a different Coelho, but The Alchemist is beautiful and inspirational.

  8. Love those quotes. Heard a lot of good feedback about this book. It really is awesome.

  9. Hmm, I will pass but happy it was good.

  10. I read this book ages ago and I really enjoyed the story and the life lessons. As I read it in Spanish I'm thinking it's time to read it again, this time in English.