Week 5: The Red Pyramid

Book summary: Carter and Sadie Kane aren’t really looking forward to the Christmas Eve trip to the British Museum with their father. Carter goes to far too many museums, as he lives with their Egyptologist dad; Sadie considers herself a city girl and feels more at home in the modern world of London, where she  had lived with their maternal grandparents since their mother’s death.

Then the museum blows up.

Finding that he has unleashed the ancient (and evil) god Set, Dr. Set is trapped in the underworld. It is up to Carter and Sadie to discover their ancient family secrets in a whirlwind journey from London, to New York, to Egypt, and to the Underworld. Carter and Sadie learn whom to trust – and even how to trust each other.

My impressions: Rick Riordan has definitely earned a place in my heart with J. K. Rowling (actually, the fact that he’s from Texas may earn him a larger seat). Fans of mystical, magical, epic series will likely fall in love with the Kanes as much as I did. Told from the point of view of both kids, The Red Pyramid manages to get across a pretty complete picture of the saga. Sadie’s sassiness is truly amusing; her typical-adolescent concerns (boys, lip gloss) are even funnier against the backdrop of running for their lives. That combination of humor and suspense, combined with the elements of an epic battle against evil, kept me interested all the way through. It also made me wistful for a sibling, seeing how much Carter and Sadie come to know and care about each other, despite their disparate personalities and separate upbringings. I can’t wait to finish the series!

Citation: Riordan, R. (2010). The red pyramid. New York, NY: Hyperion Books for Children.

Professional review:

“Since their mother’s death, six years ago, 12-year-old Sadie Kane has lived in London with her maternal grandparents while her older brother, 14-year-old Carter, has traveled the world with their father, a renowned African American Egyptologist. In London on Christmas Eve for a rare evening together, Carter and Sadie accompany their dad to the British Museum, where he blows up the Rosetta Stone in summoning an Egyptian god. Unleashed, the vengeful god overpowers and entombs him, but Sadie and Carter escape. Initially determined to rescue their father, their mission expands to include understanding their hidden magical powers as the descendants of the pharaohs and taking on the ancient forces bent on destroying mankind. The first-person narrative shifts between Carter and Sadie, giving the novel an intriguing dual perspective made more complex by their biracial heritage and the tension between the siblings, who barely know each other at the story’s beginning. The first volume in the Kane Chronicles, this fantasy adventure delivers what fans loved about the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series: young protagonists with previously unsuspected magical powers, a riveting story marked by headlong adventure, a complex background rooted in ancient mythology, and wry, witty twenty-first-century narration. The last pages contain a clever twist that will leave readers secretly longing to open their lockers at the start of school…”

Phelan, C. (May 15, 2010). [Review of The Red Pyramid]. Booklist. Retrieved from http://www.booklistonline.com.

Library uses: I would use this title for a tween/YA book club or reading list. Some fun activities related to the book could be making pyramids, writing names in heiroglyphics, and discussing what items they would want to be buried with – what’s really important that you would want to have (quite literally) forever?

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