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
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.
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).