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Rick Riordan – The Serpent’s Shadow

July 25, 2013

55. The Serpent’s Shadow by Rick Riordan (2012)
The Kane Chronicles, Book 3

Read my review of book:
1. The Red Pyramid
2. The Throne of Fire

Read By: Kevin R. Free and Katherine Kellgren
Length: 11h 28m (416 pages)

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Started: 07 July 2013
Finished: 16 July 2013

Where did it come from? The library.
Why do I have it? Fun YA fantasy makes for good audiobook, plus I wanted to finish the series while the details of previous books were still fresh in my mind.

It’s tough to catch a
shadow, let alone that of
the god of chaos.

Summary: Carter and Sadie Kane may have temporarily stopped the emergence of Apophis, the ancient Egyptian god of chaos, but they know that he’s not gone for good. He’s attempting to destroy all records of a spell that they could use to destroy him. They’ve got a last-ditch plan to stop him from devouring the world when he breaks free again, but it will most likely cost them their lives. But then they learn a secret – gods, like mortals, have shadows, and that shadow contains a piece of their essence that can be used to make spells against them even more powerful. So now the Kane siblings must locate the shadow of Apophis, with only the help of the ghost of an evil and wily magician, and with time running short, before everyone they love – and all of the rest of the world – crumbles into the churning sea of chaos.

Review: This series has been reliably enjoyable, if not necessarily knock-my-socks-off brilliant, and this third book was no exception. All of the various plot threads that have been introduced throughout the series – the god Set’s true allegiances, the infirmity of Ra, the various factions within the House of Life, the Sadie/Walt/Anubis triangle and Walt’s mysterious illness, Carter and Zia’s relationship, the fate of the dwarf god Bes, the god/mortal working relationships, etc. – all get neatly wrapped up in this book. Riordan did leave his options open for future books, it’s true, and I rolled my eyes a little at how blatantly that was done, but on the whole, this book is a good conclusion for what’s come before. All of the things that I’ve enjoyed about this series, and about Riordan’s books in general – the quick-paced action, the relatable narrators, the snarky and somewhat absurdist sense of humor, the interweaving of lots of mythology – were true in this case as well, and in general, it was a solidly fun read.

So, while I had fun listening to it, I didn’t totally love it. Carter and Sadie are fine narrators, and I really enjoy their sibling dynamic, but I’m not really attached to them in the way that I was to Percy Jackson, so their physical and emotional peril didn’t have quite the same effect. This book also spent a lot of time on their romantic entanglements, and while they worked out about as I’d expected them to, my heartstrings remained firmly un-tugged. (Perhaps that’s because I still find thirteen-year-old Sadie’s relationships with sixteen-pushing-seventeen-year-old Walt – not to mention several-thousand-year-old Anubis – kind of creepy.) There’s also an element of “the world is ending tomorrow and you’re concerned about this now??”, but at least the characters call each other out on that front. But despite that, I stayed interested, stayed engaged, kept listening, and had fun with it. 4 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: Definitely don’t start here, but the series as a whole is good fun for fans of fast-paced and funny YA fantasy adventure, particularly if they also like ancient Egypt.

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

Other Reviews: Beyond Books, The Geek Girl Project, One Librarian’s Book Reviews and more at the Book Blogs Search Engine.
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First Line: Sadie Kane here.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 25, 2013 8:09 pm

    “Reliably enjoyable” is a good way to put it! And I completely agree re: Sadie’s romance. Little bit weird all around and I got thoroughly annoyed by her tendency to prioritize her romantic travails equally with The End of the World. But–still reliably enjoyable.

    • July 30, 2013 7:43 pm

      Cheryl – I’m glad I’m not the only one that is a little skeeved out by Sadie and the boys! Most of the time she acts older than she is, so it wasn’t quite so noticeable, but whenever it came to mind… eesh.

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