Tag Archives: Riordan

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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The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan Book Review

1 May

After having been burnt out on editorial and work-related reading–I haven’t been picking up as many novels as I usually do. Slammed under the pressure of a deadline, the Office having suddenly picked up from a grazing in the pasture pace to a canter down the track, and digging into the small crevices of my brain for my own novel has kept me fairly preoccupied. So, I even surprised myself where somewhere amongst all the chaos I managed to pick up Rick Riordan’s The Red Pyramid.

Mr Riordan’s name may sound familiar–mainly because of his last series that included The Lightning Thief, and followed the story of a young man who discovers himself to be a demi-God. Of course, the main character is not just any demi-god–he is son of Poseidon, the great god of the sea according to Greek mythology. That series kept with the Greek Gods and I found it to be a quick and decently satisfying read.

Rick Riordan's First Book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympian's series

You may also remember the title from Disney’s adaption of the book, also dubbed the Lightning Thief. But the movie, in my opinion, threw the whimsey and wonder that was contained within the pages of the novel–and threw them in the toilet in hopes of attracting an older age bracket to the film. (But that’s an entirely different review all together.)

His newest series, dubbed The Kane Chronicles, now features a whole new set of characters and a whole new range of mythology: Egyptian Gods.  The story is narrated by siblings, Sadie and Carter Kane, as if it has been translated from a tape recorder that they take turns with. The story opens with the reader being introduced to the elder brother, Carter and his father. The children’s father is an Egyptologist that travels around the world to further his studies–though his living habits seem more than a bit…odd. Carter describes his father as having being extra cautious throughout their travels together. The children’s mother, however, has passed away–for reasons you are told later. Sadie, the younger sister, is introduced secondly in the city of London. An odd arrangement between their father and grandparents has made it so Sadie can only see her father twice a year–once in the summer and once in the winter. Sadie has been essentially raised by her grandparents and she and Carter couldn’t possibly be more opposite. Sadie–blonde, blue-eyed and fair-skinned with a british accent rocking the punky look, and Carter the dark-skinned, dark-haired dressed to his best do not exactly mesh. And they’re very aware of it.

Their whole world gets turned upside down on this Christmas eve when their father takes them on a trip to the British museum. Suddenly, it seems their father is about to rob the museum. He enlists his children to stalk the curator (who has been nice enough to give them a private viewing of the ancient Egyptian artifact, the Rosetta stone.) and lock him in his office with a bike chain–which they do. But upon returning back to where their father is causing mischief (which they were expressly told not to do of course.) they discover it’s far more than a robbery. This story is woven with the careful pen of a magician–because it’s simply coated in magic and Egyptian fun facts. They quickly discover that their Father is actually an ancient Egyptian Magician, just in time to witness him trapped in a coffin by a demon-headed God, escaped from the now blown to smithereens, Rosetta stone. (Along with his four sibling Gods.)

Skipping ahead, the kids soon discover that their world isn’t as ordinary as it first seems. Magic is real–and so are the Ancient Egyptian Gods. In fact, one of them is their pet cat, Muffin. The kids embark on a journey to save their now entombed Father from the evil god, Set. Meanwhile, Set sends all sorts of baddies to stop them. And if that wasn’t enough, other magicians want to beat them up too. Why? Well, because they’re hosting ancient Gods of course!  Now if you’re saying, whoa, back up–it’s because this story can get a little kooky on the literary rules. Not just one baddie–multiple! Not just one god–Many! So, to sum it up–the Magicians in this story–or as they call themselves, The House of Life–think that the Gods are evil. As such, hosting them, would also be bad. So naturally, even though the kids didn’t exactly invite the Gods inside, so to speak–the only option must be to kill the kids.(right?)

Carter finds the god Horus has attached to him, while Sadie meets her inner Isis. Due to their extra strong pharaoh’s bloodline, the kids are literally tiny powerhouses for the Host-hungry Gods. Meanwhile, they are starting to follow an all too familiar pattern (for the Gods that is) as they go on the hunt for a way to stop Set from destroying the world as they know it. I’ll spare you the entire story–in the hopes that you may go out and (-gaspita!-) read  it. But I will assume you know that good things must happen, as book two of the Kane Chronicles is already out.

All and all, this was a quick read–and despite having been written for younger minds, it is anything but easy. The plot is complex (though if you have read his Percy Jackson series, it’s not too unpredictable.) the characters are lovable and humorous and the research is well done. I was actually impressed with the amount of knowledge about the Egyptian mythology this novel must have taken to write. So many Gods, so many rules, and all jam-packed into one page-turning adventure.

(Post script: I am not ashamed to admit that I have already started Book two of the Kane Chronicles, and within the week will probably have yet another review. 🙂 )

Until next time my lovely literates!

A must read for those who love their Mummies! XD