The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

Friday, December 31, 2010

author’s website: Rick Riordan
series website: The Kane Chronicles
release date: May 4, 2010
appeals to: YA or MG
genre: Adventure/Urban Fantasy
length: 528 pages
publisher: Hyperion
overall rating: 5 stars

*the inside flap*
Since his mother’s death six years ago, Carter Kane has been living out of a suitcase, traveling the globe with his father, the brilliant Egyptologist Dr. Julius Kane. But while Carter’s been homeschooled, his younger sister, Sadie, has been living with their grandparents in London. Sadie has just what Carter wants – school friends and a chance at a “normal” life. But Carter has just what Sadie longs for – time with their father. After six years of living apart, the siblings have almost nothing in common. Until now.

On Christmas Eve, Sadie and Carter are reunited when their father brings them to the British Museum, with a promise that he’s going to “make things right.” But all does not go according to plan: Carter and Sadie watch as Julius summons a mysterious figure, who quickly banishes their father and causes a fiery explosion.

Soon, Carter and Sadie discover that the gods of Ancient Egypt are waking, and the worst of them – Set – has a frightening scheme. To save their father, they must embark on a dangerous journey – a quest that brings them ever closer to the truth about their family and its links to the House of Life, a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs.

*my review*
Wow! I absolutely loved this book. It is long, but it reads easily and has an action packed plot that could appeal to even middle grade readers!

“The Red Pyramid” has a great opening that draws you right in and makes you a part of the story. A “Warning” (kind of a forward) explains that the book is a transcript of a recording, and as you read, it feels like a story that is being told to you. The narration switches between Carter and Sadie and occasionally, they will talk to each other in a kind of brother-sister bickering that makes it even more realistic.

Even more interesting is the difference in personality and voice between the two characters. When Sadie is telling the story, she uses British sayings and words (she was raised in London), and she has a more no-nonsense approach to things than Carter. When Carter is narrating, the thoughts and words reflect his (mostly) American style of speaking, but also show that he has had an incredible upbringing while traveling worldwide with his father. Sometimes, it is easy to forget that Sadie and Carter are 12 and 14 because they are pretty sophisticated in their speaking and actions, and because they stay quite calm in extremely stressful situations.

This book has a lot of attention to detail and includes a lot of Egyptian mythology, much of which I’d never heard. However, Sadie wasn’t raised to know much about the Egyptian history or mythology, so there is a lot of explaining to her that also helps the reader understand the details. Many of the hieroglyphics that are mentioned in the story are actually printed into the book, which adds a lot for those of us who aren’t fluent in our hieroglyphic studies, but which also make for a fun way of tying details into the story. It is obvious that a TON of research went into this book, but it never gets dry from reading the details.

Overall, this story is action packed with a complex, twisty plot that is woven into an incredible story. I can’t wait for the next installment of the Kane Chronicles!

*short and snappy*
writing: conversational and funny – there is a complex plot, but the words are easy to read and the character’s personalities come through in a fun and entertaining way
plot: complex but still easy to follow – there are a LOT of twists and elements in this plot, but it is written in a way that is never overwhelming.
characters: fantastic – Sadie and Carter are obviously well developed, but the detail in the “minor” characters (like Lord Iskandar, Zia, and Bast) really comes through as well.
memorable line: “Fairness does not mean everyone gets the same,” Dad said. “Fairness means everyone gets what they need. And the only way to get what you need is to make it happen yourself.” (p. 67)
judging by the cover: I love the cover – I think it captures a lot of the important elements of the story without giving too much away
miscellaneous: There is a slight reference to the Percy Jackson series (on page 52) if you read carefully!
more miscellaneous info: (1) On the series website (The Kane Chronicles) there is an excerpt from the book, as well as information about Carter, Sadie, and a few other major characters. It’s a very cool site! (2) On his blog, Riordan wrote that the next installment of the Kane Chronicles should be out in May of 2011. He also shared information about the new Heroes of Olympus series in the same post (here).

The End of 2010

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Jamie at The Perpetual Page-Turner has put together an end of 2010 Survey, and since I have had fun reading a few of them, I decided to put together a post of my own. You can find Jamie's post and links to other survey posts here.

1. Best book of 2010?
This is a really hard question, because I’ve read several fabulous books this year! I think that my favorites are probably The Hunger Games trilogy (Suzanne Collins), Before I Fall (Lauren Oliver), Willow (Julia Hoban), and If I Stay (Gayle Forman).

2. Worst book of 2010?
I hate to classify anything as the “worst” book, but my least favorite read this year was Skinny (Ibi Kaslik). My review is here but basically, I just wasn’t drawn to the story.

3. Most Disappointing Book of 2010?
I think that It’s Not Summer Without You (Jenny Han) would take this category. I loved the first book in the series (The Summer I Turned Pretty) and was expecting a continuation that would be just as good. While the story was ok, it just wasn’t as good as I had hoped it would be.
4. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2010?
The Forest of Hands and Teeth and The Dead-Tossed Waves (both by Carrie Ryan) are an easy choice for this category! I had never read zombie books before and didn’t think that I would like that genre, but as soon as I started The Forest of Hands and Teeth, I couldn’t put it down! I also liked the way The Dead-Tossed Waves continued the story, but several years later and from a different perspective (which I usually don’t like).
Another book that really surprised me was Shark Girl (Kelly Bingham). I read the book as a part of Body Image and Self Perception month, and absolutely loved it. The book is written in free verse (which I usually hate), so I wouldn’t have picked it up if Jo (of Once Upon a Bookcase) hadn’t mentioned that it was one of the books that would suit the month, but I’m certainly glad I did! It’s a quick read, but well worth it!

5. Book you recommended to people most in 2010?
I recommended The Hunger Games trilogy (Suzanne Collins) and the Uglies, Pretties, Specials series (Scott Westerfeld) to quite a few people, but technically I read both (except for Mockingjay) in 2009. The 2010 reads that I recommended frequently were Willow (Julia Hoban), Living Dead Girl (Elizabeth Scott), and Before I Fall (Lauren Oliver) more than any other books.

6. Best series you discovered in 2010?
I really liked The Hunger Games trilogy (obviously), but I also flew through the Vampire Kisses series (Ellen Schreiber), and enjoyed the Evernight series (Claudia Gray) as well.

7. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2010?
SOOO many! Elizabeth Scott, Alex Flinn, Lauren Oliver, Lauren Henderson, Patrick Jones, Carrie Ryan, Stacey Jay, Deborah Lytton, Allen Zadoff, and Liz Rettig (in no preferential order)
8. Most hilarious read of 2010?
Stacey Jay’s books (You Are So Undead to Me, Undead Much, and My So Called Death) were all hilarious! I love her style of writing, because it is light and easy to read, but with plenty of snarky comments!

9. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2010?
If I Stay (Gayle Forman), Willow (Julia Hoban), Living Dead Girl (Elizabeth Scott), Dirty Little Secrets (C.J. Omololu), and Before I Fall (Lauren Oliver) are all books that were just incredibly breathtaking. There were moments while reading each one, when a train could have driven through my living room and I wouldn’t have noticed because they were so captivating. All of the books dealt with difficult topics, but were just incredible to read!

10. Book you most anticipated in 2010?
I was super excited for Linger (Maggie Stiefvater) and Mockingjay (Suzanne Collins) before 2010 even started. As the year went on, I read Fallen (Lauren Kate) and looked forward to Torment, and I heard about and looked forward to Tell Me A Secret (Holly Cupola) and Paranormalcy (Kiersten White).

11. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2010?
I loved the covers of Willow (Julia Hoban), If I Stay (Gayle Forman), Before I Fall (Lauren Oliver), and The Tear Collector (Patrick Jones) for the way they capture the essence of the story, I loved the covers of Fallen and Torment (Lauren Kate) because of their gothic looks, and I liked the cover of Jumping to Confusions (Liz Rettig) because it’s fun, whimsical, and (though it doesn’t show in this picture) the blue is actually shiny!

12. Most memorable character in 2010?
I’m actually not sure. Megan Berry (You Are So Undead to Me by Stacey Jay) was my favorite fun character, James (Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater) and Miles (Torment by Lauren Kate) were probably my literary crushes, and Peeta really grew on me in Mockingjay (Suzanne Collins).
13. Most beautifully written book in 2010?
If I Stay (Gayle Forman) and Before I Fall (Lauren Oliver)

14. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2010?
If I Stay (Gayle Forman) My review is here

15. Book you can't believe you waited UNTIL 2010 to finally read?
This is more an author for me than a specific book, but I can’t believe that I didn’t read anything by Elizabeth Scott until this year. Once I read one of her books, I grabbed several more, and haven’t read one yet that I didn’t like!
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