Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Review: The Red Pyramid - Rick Riordan

The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan
Series: The Kane Chronicles #1
Genre: Middle Grade, fantasy
Published on May 4, 2010
Published by Disney-Hyperion
Pages: 516

Since his mother's death six years ago, Carter Kane has been living with his father, the brilliant Egyptologist Dr. Julias Kane. But while Carter's been homeschooled, his younger sister, Sadie, has been living with their grandparents in London. Sadie has just what Carter wants - school friends and a chance at a "normal" life. But Carter has just what Sadie longs for - time with their father. After six years of living apart, the siblings have almost nothing in common. Until now. 

On Christmas Eve, Sadie and Carter are reunited when their father brings them to the British Museum, with a promise that he's going to "make things right." But all does not go according to plan: Carter and Sadie watch as Julias summons a mysterious figure, who quickly banishes their father and causes a fiery explosion. 
Soon Carter and Sadie discover that the gods of Ancient Egypt are waking, and the worst of them - Set - has a frightening scheme. To save their father, they must embark on a dangerous journey - a quest that brings them ever closer to the truth about their family and its links to the House of Life, a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs.


A lot of people told me that this wasn't nearly as good as Percy Jackson and the Olympians or The Heroes of Olympus. I have a hard time agreeing with them, but I also have a hard time disagreeing. The Kane Chronicles is different, therefore it is hard to compare it to either of Rick Riordan's other series. Like the two previous mentioned, The Red Pyramid is bursting with Riordan's usual humor and quick-witted characters. Sadie has a sharp tongue on her and doesn't take nonsense from anyone - especially not from the gods and their accompanying demons. Carter isn't as sarcastic as his sister, but he has his own brand of humor that is equally funny. And with siblings trading off narration, this series offers us something Percy Jackson and the Olympians didn't - sibling banter, which is always hilarious to read, especially when you, the Reader, can relate.

While The Red Pyramid has all of the classic trademarks Readers have come to expect from Mr. Riordan, it is also different. He's given us a new set-up for the Egyptian gods, and maybe this is what disappointed Readers. In The Kane Chronicles, our heroes and heroines aren't directly descended from gods; rather, they are descended from pharaohs and powerful Egyptian magicians who can, if they so choose (and sometimes without choice), house a god's essence within them. The only problem I had with that was I kept expecting the characters to sound like a Goa'uld from Stargate: SG-1 and have glowing eyes. But that's just me. In some ways, I felt as if I didn't get to know the gods as well I got to know the ones in Percy Jackson and the Olympians and its companion-series, but in other ways, I did, because there was an element to the Egyptian gods that seemed more human - and yet didn't. Set isn't as threatening as Kronos or Gaia, but he's still a pretty good villain.

All in all, I wasn't disappointed with The Red Pyramid. I'm glad Rick Riordan didn't have the same setup with this series as with Percy Jackson and the Olympians and The Heroes of Olympus. It would have felt like a cheap copy (even though Mr. Riordan would have only been copying himself, which doesn't really count, I guess). The setup works for The Kane Chronicles; it wouldn't work for Percy Jackson, but it does for this trilogy, and so I salute Mr. Riordan for another brilliant - and original - idea!

Others in The Kane Chronicles:
1)The Red Pyramid
2)The Throne of Fire
3)The Serpent's Shadow

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