Wow, people! Over the holiday weekend, Ink Spells sneaked past 100 followers!! Very cool. I will have to ponder some way to celebrate this. Possibly another book giveaway? Or a true contest this time? Hmm … I’ll get back to you on that.
The Red Pyramid!! This is the first book of a new series by the crazy-popular Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. Now if you’re a Percy fan like me, you may have some trouble with this book. It is both similar to Percy (
boy and friends brother and sister, on a quest, beset with Greek Egyptian gods, where they discover they are half-god-bloods possessed-by-gods), and maddeningly NOT Percy (hilarious fly-by-your-seat madness vs. down-to-earth magical realism). Although I kept waiting for the sarcastic half-blood to make an appearance (he does not), humor was dispensed in ample doses by a sarcastic Sadie (“Just because you cannot discern my wit, doesn’t make me sarcastic.” Thank you, Sadie.) I suppose this is the price to be paid for having already written a fantastic book with a compelling hero.
RL: 4.5 CSM: 10+ Rating: PG Content: comic-book violence, peril of characters
However, Book One of The Kane Chronicles does not disappoint, and is the wonderfully rich story of Carter and Sadie Kane and their adventures around the world, trying to save their father from Egyptian gods, and possibly bring back their mother from the Land of the Dead. An amazing amount of Egyptian mythology is crammed into this hefty book, and a few times I felt like I needed a scorecard to keep track of all the players. “Another lot of daft, arrogant gods. Brilliant!” as Sadie Kane would say, in her fantastic British voice, which Riordan captures so well.
The violence in The Red Pyramid is on par with the comic-book variety in The Lightning Thief – a lot of hacking and slicing of demons and gods, turning them into sand or mist. There is some peril (“Some peril. Did you even read the book?” Yes, Sadie, I read the book. Please stop interrupting.). Ok, a lot of peril, but our young protagonists come through unharmed. Did I mention that this book has alternating, first-person, point-of-view? Riordan breaks the rules successfully with his distinctive voices for Carter and Sadie.
Fourteen-year-old Carter and twelve-year-old Sadie both have mild love interests in this book, which I’m sure will grow as the series continues. But it is barely touched upon, with no kissing or even serious puppy love. Riordan also touches on racial experience in this novel, with Carter and Sadie being biracial (their mother is white and their father is black). Because of the differences in the kids’ skin tone, they have very different experiences of the world, and I thought Riordan handled this extraordinarily well.
Overall, fans of Percy Jackson will love this book. While advanced readers will not be challenged by the reading level, they might be by the length (516 pages!), but more importantly, they will be fascinated by the depth and detail of the Egyptian gods and magic that Riordan brings to life. I heartily recommend The Red Pyramid for readers ages 8+.
I decided I needed to follow Rick on Twitter, and found that he’s launching a new series The Lost Heroes (more Olympians) and that The Kane Chronicles has a rockin’ website, with an awesome amount of information about Egyptian lore and games for the kiddos. There’s also a link on his blog to the Theoi Project, an effort to catalogue all kinds of information about Greek Mythology in literature and art.
Ok, I’m insanely jealous of Rick as a writer – not only does he entertain, he educates and enthralls legions of children with his bestseller books. Time to get back to work on that middle grade manuscript … *clackity clack clack*