The Red Pyramid (The Kane Chronicles, #1)
by Rick Riordan
by Rick Riordan
My rating: B
Since their mother’s death, Carter and Sadie have become near strangers. While Sadie has lived with her grandparents in London, her brother has traveled the world with their father, the brilliant Egyptologist, Dr. Julius Kane. One night, Dr. Kane brings the siblings together for a “research experiment” at the British Museum, where he hopes to set things right for his family. Instead, he unleashes the Egyptian god Set, who banishes him to oblivion and forces the children to flee for their lives. From the creator of the hit Percy Jackson series.
Carter and Sadie Kane have endured many challenges in their lives, including the death of their mother and the separation from one another. Sadie lives life as an average 12 year-old girl in London with her maternal grandparents. Carter travels the world with their famous archaeologist father, exploring the ruins of ancient civilizations. Carter and Sadie only see each other twice a year, on the days when their grandparents allow visitation. Their latest visit brings new surprises and challenges for Carter and Sadie, beginning with the explosion of the Rosetta Stone by their father. The explosion releases unimaginable and unknown forces that are out to destroy the known world. It will be up to Carter and Sadie to avenge the death of their mother and save the planet. Oh yeah…and deal with a secret family history that they know nothing about.
I’ve read quite a few of Rick Riordan’s books for children, and so far, I’ve really enjoyed them all. The Red Pyramid is the first in the Kane Chronicles. I liked it and thought it was a fun read, but I really think that I should have waited a little longer between the Percy Jackson series and this one to enjoy it. There were definite similarities between the two, but Riordan did a good job of giving the characters their individual voices. This book was written in alternating POV. I usually don’t enjoy novels that switch POV, but it really worked for this one. Riordan did a great job of differentiating between 16 year old Carter and 12 year old Sadie. The male and female voices and the age differences were apparent, without being annoying. The other thing that this novel really has going for it is the relationship between brother and sister. I felt like Riordan was telling the story of two real people instead of just characters. The relationship dynamic was a nice addition to the mystery and mythology in the novel.
A few things I didn’t care for so much: The novel is LONG. We’re talking 500 pages here. While that isn’t a big deal for me, I can definitely see it being daunting to many students. I teach 4th graders, and I think I would only recommend this to my very advanced students. I think that since it is the first in the series, students will hesitate to pick up a 500+ page book, when they aren’t sure if they will like it. Save the big ones for #2 and #3 once you have them hooked.
While I love that Riordan is incorporating Egyptian mythology into his novels, I think that it is another thing that might be lost on students, his primary audience. I’ve studied Egypt at various times in my life and am at least somewhat familiar with the history and mythology. I won’t be running away to steal Zahi Hawass‘ job any time soon (how cool would that be???), but I can hold my own. I think that there was ALOT in this novel that could have been left out. It felt like he was trying to introduce EVERY character from Egyptian history and that there won’t be much left for the following novels in the series. He did a much better job in the Percy Jackson series, leaving characters for us to meet in the later novels.
Overall, I think this was a fun read that you’ll most likely enjoy. I would recommend that if you just finished the Percy Jackson series, you might want to wait awhile before this one. If you are a teacher of middle schoolers, this would be a perfect book to recommend to your students and possibly even use as a read-aloud or a literature study unit. On his website, Riordan gives great information for teachers. He used to be one, after all. Man…someday maybe they’ll be saying that about me.