The Red Pyramid- Rick Riordan

Leah Courtney
The Red Pyramid (The Kane Chronicles, Book 1)

After reading the Percy Jackson books by Rick Riordan, I was as excited as the kids to read his new book, The Red Pyramid.  The Percy Jackson books are about the Greek gods and the adventures Percy Jackson has when he discovers that he is the son of a god, a half-blood.  There were lots of things I liked about the Percy Jackson books.  I thought they were exciting and really held my interest.  Fantasy is one of my favorite genres!  I liked that reading the books sparked an interest in reading Greek mythology for myself and for my kids (even my more reluctant reader.) I didn't like the ambiguity I detected in the worldview of the books.  There did not always seem to be a clear distinction between the good guys and the bad guys.  The bad guys were often justified in their bad behavior because of their past circumstances.

The Red Pyramid is the first in Riordan's new series, The Kane Chronicles.  This series is going to be about the Ancient Egyptian gods.  Carter and Sadie Kane are brother and sister that discover their own ties to the Ancient Egyptians and their gods.  They set out on a quest to save their parents who have disappeared, and, perhaps on their way, save the world.

This book was as exciting to read as the Percy Jackson books.  There was lots of action to keep things interesting and two very believable and interesting characters in the Kane siblings.  The story went back and forth between Carter and Sadie Kane in first person, not my favorite story-telling method but very effective for this book.  I did have some of the same issues with this book as with the previous series.  There is lots of ambiguity about who exactly is good and who is evil.  This book was somewhat darker also.  Apparently the Egyptian gods have even more relationship and family issues than the Greek gods.  My other complaint with this book was the use of "Oh, my G.." several times.  The Percy Jackson books would use the phrase "my gods" as if referring to the Greek gods, but this actually seemed to use the phrase as taking the Lord's name in vain.

I probably will let the kids read this series.  I have talked with them about some of my concerns, and we've spent a good deal of time talking about the ambiguity of right and wrong and what it means to have absolutes.  My approach is generally to read the book/watch the movie with them and discuss instead of banning it- especially if it is big in popular culture.  If I don't address it at home, someone is going to address it with them, and I would much rather it be me.

Overall, I think this is a good fantasy story, and I am looking forward to the series.  However, I have issues with the worldview at work here- especially since kids are the target audience.  Read with caution and read WITH your kids.

Leah Courtney / Author & Editor

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