Book Review: The Red Pyramid
By: Rick Riordan
Published by Hyperion
Release Date: May 2010
Genre: Young Adult
G Rated: Suitable for ages 9 and up
Source: Public Library
The Red Pyramid is the first volume of the Kane Chronicles- the story of siblings who discover that they have special ties to ancient Egypt and the powers, both human and deity, of that civilization. The Kane children, Carter and Sadie, have essentially grown up apart, with Sadie living with their grandparents in London while Carter travels with his father, an Egyptologist. Though the children are accustomed to seeing each other only two days a year, they are quickly thrown together in situations where they find it necessary to trust each other. Through their adventures, they make up for lost time, and by the end of the book they are nearly inseparable.
I like that this universe seems to afford the human characters more power over their circumstances than those in the Percy Jackson series. The lore which serves as the source material is a little more formulaic, which affords the characters more opportunity to guess at the gods’ next move. In addition, the Egyptian mythology includes the idea that humans and gods must work together to triumph over chaos- the result is that the humans spend less time getting tossed around by the gods, and more time doing some pretty smart problem-solving.
In the Percy Jackson series, I grew to love Riordan’s witty way of reminding us that the characters are kids in unrealistic circumstances. That same humor is present in the Kane Chronicles, in more moderate doses. While I loved the Percy books, I remember wishing that the pacing wasn’t quite so frantic- details were seemingly sacrificed in an effort to make the books accessible to younger children. This is not the case with The Red Pyramid, which has a much more rich texture, while maintaining the same urgency to resolve the story’s arc.
Though I’ve made a lot of comparisons between the two series, they are completely independent; you need not have read one to understand and enjoy the other.
I am anxiously anticipating the publication of the next book in the series, which is tentatively set for early May, 2011.
From the author's website:
Since their mother’s death, Carter and Sadie have become near strangers. While Sadie has lived with her grandparents in London, her brother has traveled the world with their father, the brilliant Egyptologist, Dr. Julius Kane.
One night, Dr. Kane brings the siblings together for a "research experiment" at the British Museum, where he hopes to set things right for his family. Instead, he unleashes the Egyptian god Set, who banishes him to oblivion and forces the children to flee for their lives.
Soon, Sadie and Carter discover that the gods of Egypt are waking, and the worst of them--Set--has his sights on the Kanes. To stop him, the siblings embark on a dangerous journey across the globe--a quest that brings them ever closer to the truth about their family, and their links to a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs.