Rick Riordan – The Throne of Fire
Read my review of book:
1. The Red Pyramid
Read By: Kevin R. Free and Katherine Kellgren
Length: 12h 55m (591 pages)
Genre: YA Fantasy
Started: 28 May 2013
Finished: 10 June 2013
Where did it come from? The library.
Why do I have it? I needed an audiobook that was reliably fun and fast and good for a road trip.
The god of Chaos
is coming, and you’re worried
about an old scroll?
Summary: Siblings Carter and Sadie Kane may have saved the world from destruction by ancient Egyptian gods over Christmas, but that doesn’t mean that their work is over. They’ve had some time to train young magicians, but their enemies are still out there… not least of which is Apophis, the serpent god of Chaos, who is breaking free from his weakening prison, and will soon escape and devour the world. Their only hope of defeating Apophis is to find the scattered pieces of the Book of Ra, which will enable them to wake the pharoah of the gods from his eons-long slumber. But finding the Book of Ra won’t be easy; not only do the magicians of the House of Life forbid mortals having contact with gods – and certainly not with Ra himself – but even the other gods don’t want Ra awakened. Carter and Sadie’s only chance of success is to get everyone to work together, but even if they do, will they be able to overcome the obstacles placed in their path, and assemble the ancient Book in time to stop Chaos from engulfing the world?
Review: Rick Riordan writes books that are reliably fun, clever, and easy to read (or in this case, listen to). That’s why I tore through his entire Percy Jackson series last year, and have now moved on to the Kane Chronicles while I wait for the new Heroes of Olympus book. For the most part, The Throne of Fire lives up to what I expect out of a Rick Riordan book. It was action-packed, full of dangerous situations and crazy skin-of-your-teeth escapes. The action is pretty episodic, like all of Riordan’s books – Carter and Sadie escape from one emergency and pretty quickly find themselves in the middle of the next one – but although things tended to move quickly, the interstitial pieces were handled smoothly, and I never had a problem keeping track of how they’d got where they were, and where they were going next. It was also dryly funny, true to the tone of Riordan’s other books, with a lot of the humor coming from the matter-of-fact way that Carter and Sadie react to the most absurdly outlandish events. Somehow Riordan is able to write books at the mid-grade level that don’t lose any of their charm or humor when read by adults.
I also, as ever, really enjoy the way that Riordan can mesh ancient myths with the modern world. I’m probably never going to be quite as fond of The Kane Chronicles as a whole, simply because I don’t love Egyptian mythology as much as I do Greek mythology. But at the same time, Riordan is good at getting his readers familiarized with the basic tenets of the mythology, and I’m becoming increasingly comfortable with it as the series goes on. (Or it may just be the case that the pivotal parts of The Throne of Fire rely on myths with which I was more familiar, compared to those underlying The Red Pyramid.)
This book also has a stronger romantic element than its predecessor (and compared to most of the Percy Jackson books, I think.) I wasn’t crazy about this angle, to be honest. For one thing, it results in Carter and Sadie each doing their own thing for a large chunk of the book, and I enjoy their interactions and sibling dynamics enough that I wish they’d been more of a focus. The increased focus on romantic relationships also resulted in a few character and plot decisions that didn’t ring quite true. I can buy that just-turned-thirteen-year-old Sadie has a crush on two older boys (well, one sixteen-year-old boy and one much older god). But the fact that that sixteen-year-old was crushing on that twelve-year-old girl in return? I don’t care if she did save the world and act as a host for a goddess and is generally pretty mature for her age, that still squicked me out. Likewise, I hated the fact that Carter was willing to drop everything (and that “everything” includes “stopping the world from ending in a very very short amount of time”) to rescue a girl that he barely knew, with no better justification than “I feel like she’s going to be important, and also I kind of maybe lurve her.” Weak sauce, and not entirely believable with the character as written so far.
But honestly, although some of the motivations didn’t always work for me, I was usually too caught up in the action of the story to mind much. This book’s not Riordan’s best, but it was fun enough to keep me entertained on a long road trip, and sometimes that’s really all I need out of a story. 4 out of 5 stars.
Recommendation: Not a standalone, so read The Red Pyramid first, but fans of that book, Riordan’s other series, Egyptian mythology, or ancient gods interacting with the modern world should find The Throne of Fire good fun.
First Line: Carter here.
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