TITLE: The Red Pyramid (#1), The Throne of Fire (#2), The Serpent’s Shadow (#3)
AUTHOR: Rick Riordan
AGE RANGE: Middle Grade
SOURCE: Gift (thanks, spouse! ♥)
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 brings the siblings together 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, Sadie and Carter 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 links to a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs…
“Fair means everyone gets what they need. And the only way to get what you need is to make it happen yourself.”
I grew up a huge fan of Egyptian mythology and history, plus I loved the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series when I (finally) picked it up a couple of years ago, so it was long overdue that I pick up the Kane Chronicles trilogy. I felt like I’d never heard of people raving about this series nearly as much as any of RR’s other series, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but within just a few chapters of the audiobook for this one, I was so impressed! Sadie and Carter had such distinct, entertaining voices, I loved the banter and bickering between the two of them, and more than anything, I absolutely adored how quickly the two of them fell into these protective, caring sibling feelings for each other despite having been apart so much in their childhoods.
While the plot itself felt rushed and convenient more than a few times, that’s something I generally expect from a lot of MG books, so it didn’t take away from my enjoyment too much. On the other hand, I really loved the casual representation with Sadie and Carter being biracial and the commentary on how Carter lived through so many different experiences than Sadie, with Carter being dark-skinned and Sadie being white-passing.
“The right choice is hardly ever the easy choice.”
Sadly, about halfway through the second book, I began to finally see why I never heard people rave about these much. My two main complaints about the series were the pacing (certain important pieces of plot feeling very rushed and under-explained) and the forced romances. On one hand, you have Carter’s weird obsession with Zia, a girl he barely knows and who knows him even less, or Sadie and her creepy love triangle with Walt and Anubis, who is not a teen reincarnation in a modern body, but the literal, several-thousand-year-old god. Sure, he’s in a 16-year-old boy’s body (which is still a bit off — Sadie turns 13 in the beginning of this book), but it doesn’t negate the fact that we have a 13-year-old trying to date this ancient, immortal entity. I honestly usually don’t point out age gaps in MG or YA books this much, but everything about this ship skeeved me out.
“A person’s shadow stood for his legacy, his impact on the world. Some people cast hardly any shadow at all. Some cast long, deep shadows that endured for centuries.”
That said, I should preface this by saying that The Serpent’s Shadow was slightly better for me than The Throne of Fire, so if you’ve read the first 2 books and are uncertain as to whether or not you want to finish the series, let me be the first to tell you that you absolutely should. Besides, you’ve already come this far, right? I might not have loved this series overall, but I’m glad I picked it up and I feel like any fan of Rick Riordan’s should give it a chance. If you’re feeling hesitant, I highly recommend the audiobooks, as the narrators did a fantastic job. That said, I 100% recommend that this is not your introduction to RR’s series, because the PJO series is frankly a million times better than this one, and I would warrant a guess that all of his other series are, too.
violence, murder/death, loss of family members, grief
Sadie and Carter are biracial, multiple side characters are Black
It shouldn’t be your intro to RR’s writing, but if you enjoy his books overall, give this series a chance — just brace yourself for weird, forced juvenile romances and some bizarre pacing.
WOULD I RECOMMEND IT? Only if you’re generally a big fan of Rick Riordan’s books.
— destiny ♥
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This is a Rick Riordan series I have yet to pick up despite the fact that I own all three books.
You’re sadly not missing out on THAT much, but it was worth picking up, I think!
Great review! I’ve only read one book by RR, and I need to read more!
Thank you! He’s so talented 😀
Amazing review! I have such nostalgia for this series, but there’s definitely more flaws that I missed haha!
Thank you! Haha awww, I can see how it’s probably one of those series that you would feel really nostalgic for, I have lots of those ?
[…] Destiny @ Howling Libraries reviewed the whole Kane Chronicles, which is the probably the only Riordan series I still need to start […]