Monday 17 August 2015

Clare Reviews: The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan

The Red Pyramid (Kane Chronicles, #1)Title: The Red Pyramid
Author: Rick Riordan
Series: The Kane Chronicles (1)
Rating: 4/5
Blurb: Ever since their mother's death, siblings Carter and Sadie have been near-strangers. While Sadie's lived with their grandparents in London, Carter has traveled the world with their father, the brilliant Egyptologist Dr. Julius Kane.
Then one night they are reunited when their father takes them to the British Museum, hoping at last to set things right. Instead, he unleashes the Egyptian god Set, who banishes him to oblivion and forces the children to flee for their lives.
Soon, Carter and Sadie discover that the gods of Ancient Egypt are waking, and the worst of them - Set - is after the Kanes. To stop him, the siblings must embark on a dangerous journey across the globe - a quest that brings them ever closer to the truth about their family and its link to a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharoahs....

“Oh no." I said panic rising in my chest. "No, no, no, Somebody get a can opener. I've got a god in my head!!”

The Good:
I really love mythology, and Egyptian mythology was a huge draw for me because I know next to nothing about it. I knew the names of the main gods and some of the myths but nothing else. Which made this a lot of fun to read and I felt like I was learning something. I mentioned the first sentence of The Red Pyramid in one of our Tuesday Intros and it was one of my favourite things about this series. Not the first sentence itself necessarily; but the way it was written as though it were a recording. I think this book would have been great to listen to as an audio book, maybe one day I will re-read it as an audio book and see!

Carter and Sadie were great characters to read from, although I think they suffered a little from not being Percy and Annabeth. Which I know is really not their fault! But coming into this as someone who had absolutely loved the Percy Jackson series - I guess I had expected something more similar, and although there were some parts that were reminiscent of Percy, they also annoyed me more than he did. But overall they were funny and determined and reasonably mature for their age.

The Bad: 
Not so much bad as mildly irksome for me personally. A love triangle. I hate those unless they are really well done and this one annoyed me more than usual. I don't want to get into spoilers so all I will say is that firstly; any love triangle involving a 13 year old is a little weird for me because I can't take it all that seriously from a long term perspective. I mean, I knew a lot of couples in school who swore they had found the one - and I also know for a fact (thank you facebook) that not one of those couples is still going strong. But this is a middle grade book, so maybe if I was reading this aged 13 I would be thinking "yes of course you want to be talking about love with two separate guys you barely know. This makes sense." The other thing that annoyed me about the love triangle was the way it resolved. Which I really, really can't get into without spoilers. I saw it coming towards the end of book 2 - I really hoped it wouldn't happen. And it did. 

Also, and this seems to be a common theme in most children/young adult books - the Adults. I mean really. The complete lack of responsibility shown by most of the adults towards the children - it baffles me. I don't know many adults who would be totally and completely fine with leaving children alone for an unspecified amount of time with a cat, a baboon and a crocodile as protection. Or many adults who would say "well its not ideal but I'm sure those very small children will be fine in a full scale battle". 

And The Weird:
This kind of falls under The Good again because boy do I love weird. The great thing about any Rick Riordan book is the humour - which is definitely veering on the weird side. Which really works for me since that seems to be my thing. Each chapter has a chapter heading that is weird and descriptive for example:
I Drop a Little Man on His Head
Muffin Plays With Knives
I Face the Killer Turkey
and so, so many more. These were honestly one of my favourite things. And I know saying chapter headings were your favourite sounds bad but it's not a reflection on the books - it's just me really, really loving the weirdness. 

Who doesn't love a heroine who can talk her way out of being shot using jelly babies? Or a god who scares away monsters by literally shouting Boo at them. And it works.

So yeah, if you're new to Rick Riordan I highly suggest starting with Percy Jackson and The Heroes of Olympus. But if you enjoyed those two series, then definitely read The Kane Chronicles. Although I didn't enjoy them as much, they were definitely a lot of fun - and I would really like more in the series. 

As a bonus the third book had a short story, The Son of Sobek in which Carter met Percy and it seemed to leave the way open for a crossover? So fingers crossed because I can just imagine the havoc these characters could wreak together!

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