This series is really good. But it is the only series by Rick Riordan that I can’t fall over myself gushing about. The problem? It is good, and with Riordan, I expect GREAT. After writing the Percy Jackson series, everything else is held to that standard.
Brother and sister Carter and Sadie Kane are strangers to each other. After their mother’s death, Carter travelled the world and studied with their Egyptologist father Julius Kane, while Sadie lived with her grandparents in England. On a visit to that country, Dr Kane treats the teens to night research visit to the British Museum, to see the Rosetta Stone. Except he accidentally releases the Egyptian god Set, who in turn banishes him to oblivion, and forces the children to flee for their lives.
Just to add insult to injury, the gods of Egypt are ALL waking and Set has decided that Kanes have to be destroyed. As the siblings embark on a quest to save themselves and their family, they discover their association to a secret ancient order reaching back to the time of the pharaohs.
The good: Riordan has a fabulous talent for resurrecting the myths and gods of ancient lands, while sneakily educating the reader. While he does, on occasion, take liberties with the actual myths, these books should be required reading in the school system. They are a great introduction to the different mythologies, and encourage the reader to learn more.
Riordan’s mix of mythology and reality makes the magic believable. He is a rare storyteller.
His trademark humour is evident throughout the novels, with hilarious chapter titles, witty sarcasm and spot-on observations. “I mean, when someone says I forbid it, that’s a good sign it’s worth doing.” What teen doesn’t know that?! His sly references to the Percy Jackson universe are hilarious, with crossover characters popping up at the most unlikely times.
The not-as-good: the second and third books, The Throne of Fire and The Serpent’s Shadow, were not as solid as the first book of the series, The Red Pyramid. By far the strongest of the three, it carried the day with a gripping set up, detailed character description, action, and fascinating mythology. After that, however, the story slowed, and it seemed that the author was careless with it in places.
I didn’t find that the character development advanced as it usually does with Riordan’s other books, maybe due to the fact the story takes place over a much shorter period of time. Mind you, Riordan’s portrayals of the gods are hilarious. And I do think Sadie carries the story much more than Carter; she has the best lines and the more interesting story arc, and the more intriguing love interest. Carter is a bit of a snooze.
While I didn’t fall in love with this series as I did with Percy Jackson, it is still Riordan. Which means good storytelling, very enjoyable, and can be read by any age. If nothing else, you and your children will have an adventure, maybe spark an interest in Egyptian mythology, and have a good time doing so. And if you haven’t yet read any Riordan, start with this series, then move on to the Greeks.