The Red Pyramid Book Review

Other Books in the Kane Chronicles: The Throne of Fire 

You have no idea how impatiently I waited for this book– Egyptian mythology in a modern world? It was like a dream come true! And I sure wasn’t let down. Enjoy.

The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

This is the first book in the new Chronicles of Kane series by Riordan. Like his other series, Percy Jackson, this one revolves around the integration of old gods and modern times. However, it was surprisingly refreshing and not at all just a repeat of the Percy Jackson series; there were only two echoes of it in this book, the first being the most obvious: the mix of gods and kids. The second, I’ll talk about later.

So, for our summary, we have the young Kane children thrown into the adventure of a lifetime. Carter, a 14 year old, and his sister Sadie, 12, have been living apart ever since their mother died when they were kids. Carter has been traveling the world with his Egyptologist father and Sadie has been having a more “normal” life, living with her grandparents in London. They only meet a few times each year, Christmas being one of them. So when the holiday season rolls around, they are expecting awkward moments, and certainly not a trip to the museum which results in the destruction of the Rosetta Stone and the release of 5 major Egyptian gods, the disappearance of their father, or the wild adventure that follows.

Two of the best things about Riordan’s writing are that he gives his characters fresh, funny voices and is able to work a convincing story out of old myths because he does his research well. As I was reading this, everything matched up: the gods were kings and queens on the correct domains, any odd fluxes (such as how Egyptian gods and Greek gods can both still exist) were cleverly covered (it involves the only reference to Jackson and I thought it was a nice touch), and the life of the gods was weaved into our society rather uniquely; the Egyptain’s didn’t have their gods creating little demigods with mortals, and neither does Riordan. I won’t say more than that on that subject…

There wasn’t a lot wrong with this book, but I still want to talk about the flaws first.

To start off with, the writing was perfect for this story– funny, exciting, dramatic—whatever it needed to be. However, there was one thing that bothered me. A lot. This story is told in alternating points of view between Carter and Sadie, which I didn’t mind. The thing was, Sadie got to tell all the best parts of the story and she has that little sister syndrome where she makes her brother seem like an idiot all the time, which you know, made Carter seem like an idiot.

It was kind of annoying, because he actually had some really awesome stuff about him, but because we rarely got to hear him talk about his awesome, it was toned down to the point where he seemed almost obsolete. Sadie ended up seeming a lot more powerful and a lot more useful. And while Carter had his moments, I don’t think they were enough to really make up for Sadie’s hogging of the action.

That being said, Sadie was a rather enjoyable character to read about. She seemed kind of young for her voice and actions, but I guess that doesn’t really matter, right? She was spunky, and vibrant and childish in turns. In a lot of ways, she reminded me of myself at that age (which means you know she was awesome).

I guess Riordan gave her the good bits and the attention because she was the one who needed to develop more as a person and a character. Carter has some issues, but I think those will come front and center in later books, where they can get the focus they need.

Okay. So the second thing I had a problem with in this book was the plot. I’m not talking about the story arch and the basic idea of what was going on. That was wicked awesome. What I mean is the little side-stories that make a tale richer.

Well, let’s just say that reading this book was a little too…filling. Like eating an ice-cream Sunday after attending a brownie-tasting festival: there were so many quests within quests that I forgot at times what the big issue was. It made for a longer book, which I’m not really complaining about because it was still great to read, but I could have done with less miniquests, and I think the story could have too.

And my final grievance with this book was that it took place mainly in America. Not that I have a problem with the country, but Riordan set up these cool places called Nomes, and took us to the First Nome, which was really great, but then he took it away from us almost instantly and dragged us back to America. Yuck. America. How stale. How dull. How could he do that when there was a whole underground city of pure excellence waiting to be explored?

Okay. Within the context of the story, America makes sense. It worked. But I’m really hoping and praying that  we’ll go back the Egypt and spend some good, long chapters there in later books. Because it is just wrong to introduce a place that cool and never let us go back.

Oh. Before I wrap this up, I said I would talk about the other thing this book had in common with Percy Jackson. So, I said they were different, remember? Well, they are. Truly. But as I was going through the book, I did realize that there was one looming thing that they were building up to and astute readers will catch on, and all I’m going to say is, know the real enemy and you’ll know where this story is going because that is what it has in common with Percy Jackson. And though it may bother some readers when they come to see it, I didn’t really care. I mean, the series has to have a plot, right? And because it draws on a certain Egyptian myth, it becomes a valid argument within the story.

Blah. That was so confusing, right? Well, come back after you’ve read the book. and see if it makes any more sense. Leave a comment. We’ll discuss it.

So. Despite all my griping and complaining, I really enjoyed this book. I know, right? I guess I’m just a harsher critic on the things I love. Like, I really expect them to be great. And with my hand to God, even though it may not seem like it, this book was great. It was exciting and filling and had one heck of a great ending. As soon as I finished, I was dying for more. I fell in love with nearly all the characters. The ones I didn’t love, I loved to hate.

And even though this is technically a kids’ book, I have to say, it’s a lot better than whole a lot of older books I’ve read. Because just like the Harry Potter series, I get the feeling Riordan doesn’t really write for a specific audience. I think he just tells the story and whoever reads it, reads it, and I’m pretty sure they are rarely disappointed.

Amazon link

Ri’s Rating:

QQQ/QQQQQ

3/5

0. Couldn’t get past chapter one for fear of wanting to kill myself. Book induced suicide…

1: Yuck. Ew. Below Average. Probably didn’t even read the middle and skipped to the end.

2. Ok. Would’ve been better if I’d written the ending and everything else.

3. Not bad at all. Very enjoyable. Quite nice. Recommendable.

4. My kind of book. Near ideal, but something was a little off (annoying names, bad ending, that sort of thing).

5. WOW. Makes me wonder why people watch T.V when this is out there. Really liked it. Don’t expect to see this often.

6 and above. What I want my book to be.

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2 Comments

  1. I can’t wait to read this book! I love Rick Riordan, and like you said, I like to think he doesn’t care how old someone is that reads his books.

    Reply
  2. Jeremy Dodson

     /  September 5, 2011

    This is a great series and i can’t wait to read the third book when it comes out

    Reply

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