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Rick Riordan – The Red Pyramid

December 7, 2012

129. The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan (2010)
The Kane Chronicles, Book 1

Length: 516 pages
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Started: 14 November 2012
Finished: 20 November 2012

Where did it come from? The library.
Why do I have it? Riordan’s got me good and hooked and I was in the mood for something fun and absorbing.

Setting ancient gods
free upon the world: please do
not try this at home.

Summary: Siblings Carter and Sadie Kane haven’t seen much of each other since their mother died when they were young; Sadie lives with her grandparents in London, while Carter travels around the world with their father, a famous Egyptologist. On a Christmas visit, their father drags Carter and Sadie to the British Museum after hours, where he attempts to use the Rosetta Stone to perform magic. But something goes wrong, and the Egyptian god Set, the god of chaos, imprisons Dr. Kane in a glass coffin that then melts into the floor. Carter and Sadie don’t know where to turn or what to do, until they’re taken in by their Uncle Amos, who is a member of a secret group of Egyptian magicians, the House of Life. Carter and Sadie begin to have visions of Set and his plans to destroy the world, and when they’re attacked by ancient monsters, they realize that it is up to them to stop the god’s plans. They’re not alone – they will have help from some of the other gods – but not only do they only have a few days to stop a god, they’re also being pursued by members of the House of Life, who consider mortals working with gods to be dangerous and therefore forbidden.

Review: This book was definitely an enjoyable read. I was in the mood for something light, funny, and above all, engaging, and this book certainly did the trick. Riordan brings Carter and Sadie to life, and they’re personable and smart and funny and capable yet fallible, everything you could want in a protagonist. The story ticks along at a good pace, keeping things moving (both geographically as well as action-wise, as is Riordan’s wont) while sneaking in plenty of world building and character development around the edges. I was also impressed, once again, how he manages to work mythology into modern life, in a way that was clever and felt cohesive, and explained clearly without pandering to his younger readers.

But, while I absolutely did enjoy this book, I didn’t enjoy it *quite* as much as any of the Percy Jackson/Heroes of Olympus books. And I don’t think that it’s got anything to do with the quality of the book itself; rather, Greek mythology is much, much more familiar to me than Egyptian mythology. That means that in Riordan’s Greek books, I didn’t have to start from scratch with my understanding of the worldbuilding, and was also better able to spot and appreciate the subtle and clever touches he added in. In the case of the Kane Chronicles, I found it harder to get my bearings in terms of how magic worked, and how the gods related to each other, and to keep the details in my mind. (Heck, even the names and pronunciations were more unfamiliar and thus more mental work.) That all kept it from flowing quite as easily as I’d come to expect from Riordan’s other books.

But, hey, mythology plus fiction is almost always a win in my book. It can’t be Greek all the time. 4 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: Recommended for Riordan fans, or anyone interested in ancient Egypt and looking for something fun and fast-paced.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. December 7, 2012 7:37 am

    I’ve heard that the first book in this series isn’t great, but that they get a lot better from there. I, actually, wasn’t a huge fan of the Percy Jackson series (he made a major mythological blunder that annoyed me – he mixed up Cronus the Titan with Chronos the personification of time…yes, I’m picky, I know). I’m really enjoying the Heroes of Olympus series though! :)

    • December 11, 2012 10:29 am

      Rachel – I had not heard that, but now I’m definitely looking forward to getting my hands on the rest of this series.

  2. December 8, 2012 3:42 am

    I loved the Percy books so will try this. I don’t know much about Egyptian mythology either, but would love to learn. It’s true that keeping all the gods straight would take more of an effort though!

    • December 11, 2012 10:30 am

      Joanna – An embarassing amount of my Egyptian mythology knowledge comes from Anne Rice, so this was definitely educational as well as fun. :)

  3. December 11, 2012 10:41 pm

    I felt the same way–a very enjoyable book, but Greek mythology holds my heart!

    • December 24, 2012 4:38 pm

      Cheryl – I was talking to a friend who had the exact opposite reaction: “I know this Greek stuff already, let’s learn something new!”

  4. December 19, 2012 2:40 pm

    I felt about the same…I enjoyed this one, but I like the Greek based ones better. I felt like I learned from this book though, so that’s good. I intend to pick up the rest of the series at some point.

    • December 24, 2012 4:47 pm

      Crystal – Yup, even though the Greek ones are my favorite, I’m definitely going to read the rest of these sooner rather than later.

  5. July 31, 2013 10:42 pm

    I liked your review! I TOTALLY agree that Percy Jackson is better– I read these guys to fill the Percy-sized hole in my bookworm heart (it almost worked…) keep up the good work! -Biz
    (shameless self-promoting— my kane chronicles reviews are at — check ’em out!)


  1. Book Review: “The Red Pyramid” | The Cheap Reader

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