May 2, 2011

Egyptian Magic • The Red Pyramid

The Red Pyramid book cover
The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan
Series: Kane Chronicles #1
Publisher: Hyperion Books
Publication Date: May 4, 2010
Source/Format: Bought || Hardcover

Since their mother died, Sadie has been living with her grandparents in London while her brother Carter has been traveling the world with their father Dr. Julius Kane. After a disastrous night at the British museum, their father disappears and the siblings are forced to run. They soon discover that the gods of Egypt are waking, and one of them - Set - is targeting them in particular. It's a race across the globe as Sadie and Carter put the pieces together to figure out their family history and uncover the existence of a secret order that began during the time of the pharaohs.

(I thought I'd release my review of the first book in The Kane Chronicles, The Red Pyramid, in honor of the release of the second book, The Throne of Fire, tomorrow, May 3. You can be assured that I'm going to get my hands on my (pre-ordered) copy at the soonest possible moment!)

Rick Riordan has again captured my heart with another series premised on mythology - only this time, we hit up Egypt for our assortment of gods and goddesses. When I initially saw the book and heard it was based on Egyptian mythology, I was assuming it was probably going to be a continuation of or something entirely too similar to Percy Jackson and the Olympians, so I was expecting not to like it. Let it be known that I no longer doubt Rick Riordan's abilities to come up with something so brilliant and to blow me away.

Though The Red Pyramid does call on Egyptian mythology for some characters and story arcs, it was written in a different manner than the Percy Jackson series. Let me make a short list of some of the major differences:

(1) Instead of just one main hero (a la Percy), this book involves a brother and sister team, Carter and Sadie Kane. Now, apart from the fact that they're a duo, a whole new family dynamic is brought into play for this book.

(2) The Egyptian gods aren't just randomly roaming about in this book. Oh sure, some of them exist in their own spaces, but it is only upon Dr. Kane's attempt to summon Osiris where the children of the Demon Days (some of the major Egyptian gods - namely Osiris, Nepthys, Isis, Horus and Set) are released into existence.

(3) Unlike Percy, who is the child of a Greek god and a mortal mother, both Sadie and Carter are mortal in the very beginning of the book.

There are a few similarities as well though:

(1) The children are led on a haphazard journey across the United States trying to track down Set and collect items that may prove to be useful. Sound familiar?

(2) They encounter magical enemies in the form of a few minor gods, such as Serqet (the Scorpion goddess), Sobek (the Crocodile god) and Sekhmet (the Lion goddess).

(3) It is always someone they have a good relationship with in the beginning who turns traitor in the end. Fortunately for you, I'm not going to say who.

Rick Riordan again managed to captivate me with a spellbinding, epic tale of adventure, action and mythology all woven together into a surreal, emotional experience. I tore through The Red Pyramid in a matter of hours; I'm betting I'll do the same with Throne of Fire (the second book, to be released on May 3). I would recommend this for fans of fantasy and mythology; it would suit both middle grade readers and young adults.


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