Thursday, July 22, 2010

Review - The Red Pyramid (The Kane Chronicles, Book 1) by Rick Riordan (4/5 stars)

This is the first book in the Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan.  This series is set to be a trilogy; with the next book released in 2011 and the final book released in 2012.  I absolutely loved Riordan's series Percy Jackson and the Olympians; so I was excited to read this one.  I actually listened to this on audio book so I have a couple of comments about that in the paragraph below (skip this if you have it in paper format).  This was a great book and I think fans of Percy Jackson will find a lot to like here.

The audio book was interesting.  They had two readers one who read Carter's part and one who read Sadie's part.  The person who read Carter's part sounded almost exactly like Percy Jackson.  The person who read Sadie's part tended to sound a bit shrill at points in the book.  Overall the audio was well done but the shrillness of the girl's voice got to be a bit much at times.

The story involves two of the Kane siblings, Carter and Sadie.  They are the children of Julius Kane and have been raised separate for most of their lives because of a legal battle that Julius lost after his wife died (Carter and Sadie's mom).  In this book they are drawn into a scheme by their father involving the Rosetta Stone and a number of Egyptian gods.  Things go horribly wrong though and when their Uncle Amos comes to rescue them; Carter and Sadie are drawn into a world of Egyptian Gods and Magicians that is more dangerous than anything they have ever encountered.  Will they be able to save their father?  Will they be able to save the world?

If you liked the Percy Jackson series you will like this book.  Riordan does an excellent job of creating believable characters that are easy to relate too.  Carter and Sadie are just your every day kids but with a twist.  Riordan manages to add history and depth to all of the characters.  My favorite part about Riordan's writing is his ability to inject humor into his stories no matter how crazy the adventure and danger gets.

Carter is the more serious character in this story and Sadie is the one that is spunky with a lot of sarcasm.  Between Sadie and Sadie's protector (the Goddess of Cats, Bast) you get a lot of laughs throughout this book.  The pace was great; the characters are thrust from one adventure to the next and you are constantly on the edge of your seat wondering what will be thrown at them next.

Of course there is a lot of Egyptian mythology in here and Riordan has again done his homework.  I don't know as much about Egyptian mythology as Greek mythology; but what I do know coincided with the facts Riordan presents and there was a lot for me to learn too!

My only complaint with this book is that is definitely a Riordan book.  It echoes a lot of the same themes and feelings that we saw in Percy Jackson and the Olympians.  You have all the dealing with Gods, the kids missing parental figures, and kids dealing with budding power.  The writing style is nearly identical and Riordan is absolutely writing for the same audience he was writing for in his Percy Jackson series.  Don't get me wrong most of the book is very unique and different; but I couldn't help feeling like some of this ground was covered in Percy Jackson.  Comparison to the Percy Jackson series is inevitable, and while I loved that series, I was hoping that Riordan's next series would be something super special.  And The Red Pyramid is entertaining and special, just not all that different from what we've read before.

Overall this is a great read.  If you liked the Percy Jackson series you will enjoy this one.  It took me a bit to get into the story but I imagine as the series develops I will get very attached to these characters, just like I got attached to the ones in the Percy Jackson series.  If you are interested in reading more great books about Egyptian mythology check out the Theodosia books by R.L. LaFevers.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- The Young Adult Reading Challenge
- The 100+ Book Reading Challenge

The Red Pyramid (The Kane Chronicles, Book 1) 

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