Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

Time for another confession: Mythology fascinates me. I have pretty early memories of reading the sections on Greek gods in my illustrated encyclopedia. (Yes, I spent many happy hours reading that encyclopedia. I doubt this surprises anyone) The Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters sparked my interest in Egyptian archaeology and mythology. So naturally when I discovered that the author of the delightful Percy Jackson series, which moves Greek gods and goddesses into modern America, had started a series involving the Egyptian pantheon, I just had to read it. I was not disappointed.

The Red Pyramid is written as a transcription of a recording by Carter and Sadie Kane, a brother/sister duo raised separately following their mother's tragic death when Sadie was six. While Carter followed his globe-trotting American archaeologist father on various research expeditions, Sadie lived in England with their mother's parents. Six years later, during their Christmas visitation time, their worlds are blown apart again - literally. During a visit to the British Museum, their father Julius performs some strange ancient magic and releases five imprisoned gods including the evil and powerful Set, Lord of Chaos. Set imprisons Julius in a magical sarcophagus, and it is up to Carter and Sadie to find and free him. There is quite a bit more to the story, of course, including a long-lost uncle, a mysterious guardian cat, and a host of enemies like ancient magicians and minor gods. Add some great unfolding destiny, off-beat humor, and the possibility of mass annihilation to the mix, and you have a really fun, action-packed thrill ride that spans the globe, stopping at several well-known landmarks across the way.

I really enjoy Riordan's style. He writes with fast-paced, slightly-sarcastic humor that I appreciate. I also like the way he describes places. Whether it's Central Park, the Cairo airport, or White Sands National Monument, you get the feeling that he's actually been there. Without wasting words on flowery language, he paints pictures of people and places in such a way that reading his books is almost like watching a movie. It's fun.

So if you think ancient mythological gods and goddesses make for good entertainment, check out The Kane Chronicles. I'm looking forward to reading The Throne of Fire, the next installment in the series.

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