Tag Archives: Kane

The Serpent’s Shadow by Rick Riordan (Now with Jelly Babies!)

21 Jun

I can hardly believe that the third book in the Kane Chronicle Series by Rick Riordan is already out on shelves. In fact, if I hadn’t been creeping on Mr. Riordan’s Facebook page–I probably wouldn’t have known for a long while.  But as luck or fate or by some blessing of Thoth (the Egyptian god of Knowledge–had a bird head–keep up people.) I managed to scoop up yet another tantalizing read.

If you’re extremely confused–please see my previous two reviews on The Red Pyramid and Throne of Fire, the first two novels in Riordan’s latest literary adventure.

Once again we join our favorite narrators, Sadie and Carter Kane as they take turns speaking into a tape recorder about their latest adventures and mishaps involving the Egyptian Gods. Once more our story starts with a less-than-pleasant battle within the walls of a museam, only this time the Kanes have no need to break in. After the last novel, we have been told that the House of Life (Sort of like the Egyptian Magicians Union) has been divided by the death of the former Head Lector, Dejardins, the appointment of the new Head Lector, the Kane’s uncle Amos, and the differing opinions in the Gods. As such, the Kanes have (a few) allies, including the group in Texas who runs the Dallas museum. What are they after this time–you wonder? Of course this novel’s goal is the absolutely necessary defeat of Apophis–a giant, sun-swallowing, chaos-loving snake that wants to destroy the world as we know it.

Apparently, Apophis has been immensely busy destroying one specific ancient artifact as of late, written by a former magician, Setne.(He literally comes back to haunt them later in the story.)  The Kanes and their initiates know that as this pattern continues, this scroll must hold some secret to beating the baddie–so they insist on trying to protect it. We see our fuzzy baboon friend, Jaz the healer/ rock-thrower and Walt the boy cursed to die young from magic use (See also King Tut.) are still part of the Kane’s gang, along with penguin-loving Felix for this round with chaos. Unfortunately, as seems to be the opening pattern in the Kane Chronicles, the mission goes horribly awry, ending in the deaths of party-going magicians gathered outside and the last scroll they needed destroyed.

Instead, Sadie has a vision of a pointy-nosed man she dubs “Uncle Vinnie” who materializes from the wall just before the battle and tells her to save the golden box. (Sadie almost dies in the process and has a chat with her favorite hottie-god Anubis who urgently tries to tell her something.) The group manages to do as much, and with no other survivors, they retreat back to Brooklyn House full of guilt and regret. Once home, the siblings figure out that the box they saved is also known as a Shadow box, for the Sheut,(Shadow) another important part of the Egyptian soul. Again, we see Riordan focus his novel on a major portion of the Egyptian soul using it as the primary weapon and theme throughout the novel. Bast–their pet cat-goddess–doesn’t seem very eager to help the children decipher much about the Sheut and instead directs them to Thoth.

It is then that Carter is called away for an important scrying message from Zia (aka the girl who was formally a shabti (a statue made to look and act alive.) ) Apparently, the news isn’t good and brings more threats from rebel magicians out for the Kane’s blood. Only highlighting the blatant fighting among the House of Life.

This message eventually leads to the splitting up of the Kane Siblings to accomplish two separate missions but not before a little scene at the children’s school–a dance. Here Sadie is confronted by Anubis, warning her just before they are separated by a very huffy God of the Wind, still attempting to tell her something urgent before he is swept away again. In his place is now a formerly evil Russian magician who has come to warn the Kanes of the imminent peril they face when facing the rebels.

With more bad news on their plates, Sadie and the Russian hurry to meet up with Amos while Carter and Walt head to ask Thoth for more advise. Both parties meet with difficulties which continue throughout the novel. ( Including various fights with the Gods, including one with a Goddess which Sadie convinces Jelly Babies are deadly creatures to hunt.)

The Deadly Jelly Babies (see also The 4th Doctor)

 

The biggest problem in this novel for the main characters (aside from the ever approaching threat of a giant snake eating the sun and how to destroy him.) is love troubles. Walt, the boy who Sadie falls for, is destined to die at a young age and there is a constant depressing threat of his imminent death overhanging their relationship. Meanwhile, Carter deals with at first unrequited feelings, then double what he had bargained for with Zia. Both Sadie and Carter must face the difficult probability of losing the person they have fallen for, along with each other.

This novel proves once more successful, in introducing a real connection to the characters as well as pulling off a fairly seamless storyline. Again, I found myself constantly pulled back into the pages of the story, wanting to know more, wanting to put the puzzle pieces of their newest problem together to see how Sadie and Carter would save the day (literally) in this one. Going along with the theme of Shadows, or Sheut, this novel seems to deal with a few more darker problems than in the last two novels: namely death and the soul. In the last novel, death was touched upon more than once, but it grows much more person in this novel. Walt’s character is developed through Sadie and Carter’s eyes, making you feel personally connected to him as they watch him slowly withering. Also, Sadie and Carter’s mother (who died prior to The Red Pyramid but now rules alongside their underworld dad, Osiris.) is also sucked into this concept of death, initiating the idea of total oblivion and losing those that we most love–a dark and difficult thought subject. Riordan manages to balance this darkness with his own, lighthearted narration from the eyes of Carter and Sadie.

I look forward to reading the next edition in this series (though it is hinted in the first and last chapters of the novel that Sadie and Carter won’t be making any more recordings due to the circumstances that arise in the end.) I am hoping this is just a ruse for the next novel.

Until the next time everypony!

 

Rick Riordan’s Third novel in the Kane Chronicles Series

 

Once more,

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Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan Book Review (with Ultra-speedo Powers!)

8 May

As promised my dear Readers, I have torn triumphantly through the pages of the latest novel in the Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan, Throne of Fire.

I was thrilled to find that as with The Red Pyramid, the story was hard to put down, constantly keeping me intrigued by the fascinating mix of Egyptian mythology and the plight of Sadie and Carter Kane. (If you haven’t yet read my previous entry in regards to The Red Pyramid–now would be an excellent time to do so. )

I was also pleasantly pleased to find that unlike his Percy Jackson books, the second novel was as well written and spellbinding as the first. The only real qualm I tended to have with Throne of Fire was with the sporadic  modern-day culture references and jokes throughout the novel. They felt forced most of the time, and tended to pull me out of the story momentarily while I tried to get back into the Egyptian groove.

Throne of Fire follows the same pattern as in The Red Pyramid, of being made to feel as if the two main characters were narrating to the reader via a tape recording that the author has discovered. The story takes place roughly three months after The Red Pyramid ends, and you are immediately thrust into the scene of Sadie and Carter, perched on the roof of the Brooklyn Museum, preparing to break in. This story focuses on the need to collect the book of Ra, which is most unfortunately in three pieces. The god of chaos, Apophis (as those of you who read the last book will recall) is stirring, threatening to destroy our world as we know it, and the only way to stop him is to awaken the god of Ma’at (good magic.) Ra. Also known as the Sun god.

Of course, this can’t be an easy task but it rests mainly on the shoulders of our beloved Kane siblings. I say mainly, because now we find that Sadie and Carter are no longer the only godlings–they have gathered more in order to train them in the old ways (the Godling way that makes the House of Life want to kill them.) and help them defeat Apophis. Two of their initiates are along with them for the break-in, Jaz and Walt. We are later introduced to a handful of others that range in age and aren’t much developed (probably to be done in the next novel.) other than to let the reader see that their magics are a work in process.

Anyway, they bust into the museum, in order to get the first part of what they need. (Of course, not knowing what it is yet.) Meanwhile, they have to avoid a wedding that is currently in place in the halls, as well as magical security devices. (Both of which do not work out in their favor.) Needless to say, they get what they need along with Jaz in a coma and a Griffon that only says “Frreeeaakk!” The whole thing is of course, botched, and off thy go back to their hideout, Brooklyn House. (A magical house that belongs to their uncle Amos. Please read the Red Pyramid if you haven’t yet.)  Bast, their cat turned cat-goddess, is awaiting them and is able to put Sadie out. (She’s on fire this whole time.) We don’t see much of Bast in this story, as she takes her own mission to investigate Apophis.

We discover that the next day will be Sadie’s 13th birthday, and that she has plans to travel back to London and see her friends and grandparents. Meanwhile, it has only recently been sprung on the Kanes that if they do not wake the god Ra in five days, the world will end. Sadie, refusing to let this doomsday prediction ruin her special day, decides to go on her trip anyway. When she arrives the next day to her grandparents house, she instead finds two gods have possessed them, and are eager to crush her to death to stop her from being able to awaken Ra.  As she runs in a panic, she stumbles across her two friends, and manages to pull them after her as they escape. Sadie doesn’t have much time to explain, but her friends are quick to realize things are not okay when a giant baboon wearing her grandfathers clothes tries to kill them. Somehow, she ends up in a graveyard long enough to talk to (and be kissed by) the hottie god of death, Anubis. (His help will be vital later, but at this moment it was almost frustrating.)

The group manages to escape with the help of a short and lovable limo-driver (who is actually the god of dwarfs) Bes. Using his..ultra…speedo…powers….he awkwardly scares the gods out of Sadie’s grandparents. Meanwhile, Carter and Walt appear to save her (a little late) and Walt, Carter and Sadie pile back into the limo to make their escape. Walt’s character is another of Sadie’s love interests in this story, and we learn he and his ancestor, King Tut share a common problem. (As to what–I will not spoil it.) Walt is eventually booted from the car for this reason back to Brooklyn house, and Bes takes Carter and Sadie to Russia to find their next half of the scroll. (Shown to them in a dream vision! Ba powers activate!) Unfortunately, here enters the major villain in this novel, who resembles a mutilated ice-cream man.

They sneak into his palace, and discover that not only is he the House of Life’s second in command, but he is also on a first name basis with the God, Set, from the last novel. Sadie and Carter learn he is hoping to free Apophis, not stop him just before their invisibility spell wears off. They manage to snag the scroll and after more than a bit of snake trouble, escape.

Unlike the first novel, which focuses mainly on the Ba, or a person’s chicken-bodied personality that escapes when they dream–this novel focuses on the Ren, their name which is what their whole being essentially is. It’s a constant theme in this novel, and is used in multiple occasions. We see Sadie and Carter, finally feeling like siblings again and with Walt and Bes’s help in multiple occasions they go around collecting the Book of Ra and attempting to awaken the old God back to power. Meanwhile, they face personal and divine obstacles along the way.

I find myself checking Rick Riordan’s Facebook page in hopes of gleaning more information about his next novel in the series–but know that I have a long (painful) time to wait before I can find out what will happen next to the Kane siblings.

An epic adventure, not for the feint of Ren.