29 May 2010

Books: The Kane Chronicles: Book 1: The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

A few days before its release date, I was working at the bookstore when this guy asked me if The Red Pyramid, was going to different that Riordan’s previous five-book series Percy Jackson and The Olympians. I like being honest with my customers, as I’ve never been one to say James Patterson is a marvelous author and should be read by everyone. He’s a hack. Plain and simple.

No, I told him, I sensed with this new series, Riordan was not going to breakout of his well established formula that served Percy Jackson so well - a parent disappears, prompting introductions to ancient characters and travels to otherworldly places. There are to be battles with evil forces and a looming deadline by which the child must complete a mission, lest society descend into chaos. That’s gist of the this book and the gist of Percy Jackson. The question should have been whether it was going to be good as that other series (despite the last book being somewhat of a disappointment with its easy ending).

And to somewhat to my surprise, he’s succeeded with this new book. Instead of one, he’s got two protagonist in this new series, a brother and sister (who are bi-racial, which I found very interesting) who’ve been separated since the death of their mother, Sadie has lived with her grandparents in London, while her brother Carter has traveled the world with their father, the brilliant Egyptologist, Dr. Julius Kane.

One night, Dr. Kane brings the siblings together for a "research experiment" at the British Museum, where he hopes to set things right for his family. Instead, he unleashes the Egyptian god Set, who banishes him to oblivion and forces the children to flee for their lives.

Soon, Sadie and Carter discover that the gods of Egypt are waking, and the worst of them--Set--has his sights on the Kanes. To stop him, the siblings embark on a dangerous journey across the globe--a quest that brings them ever closer to the truth about their family, and their links to a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs.

While I was distracted by the alternate points of view chapters between Sadie and Carter at first (while Riordan has an ear for dialogue, he needs work creating a three dimensional female hero that does not sound like a boy), the book began to flow a bit better as it progressed. Riordan still has a habit of reminding readers the plot of the book every 20 or so pages which gets annoying after a while, and has outside characters explaining things to the kids instead of them figuring it out for themselves (which was what happened a lot on the final Percy Jackson novel), but its still a highly entertaining book for kids and adults. It is by far no Harry Potter, but Rick Riordan has done his homework on myths and legends of Egypt, making it also fun and educational at the same time.

1 comment:

Danmark said...

The Red Pyramid was one of the best books I had readied in 2011 and I think I will still continuing following Rick Riordan`s books.I would recommend this book to all teenagers with has an interest in mythology in whatever culture there happens to be gods in. Teenagers will find themselves finishing the book in one sitting and be amaze with themselves that they just finish one of the best books of the year. They can also learn many things in the book, for example Egypt pictures or scripts as we called them are hard for even professors in a university to understand completely.