Review Blog

Jul 30 2010

The red pyramid by Rick Riordan

cover image

Penguin, 2010. ISBN 978-0141384955.
(Age 10+) The Red Pyramid is action filled, morish and addictive.
The Kane siblings have recorded a series of initially puzzling events that forced them to face problems together. The book is the transcript of the recordings.
The Red Pyramid can feel sinister at times. What has happened to their father? Is he really dead? Who is the man in the coat who seems to be watching them? Is their Uncle a friend or foe? The edginess of the events is balanced by the engaging, totally believable characters of rebellious Sadie Kane, and seemingly goodie-goodie Carter Kane (named after the Egyptian archaeologist.)
Sadie, raised by her maternal grandparents in a London suburb, has had normal school experiences, friends and predictable, maybe boring stability. Carter has spent his life accompanying his world-hopping father on his various archaeological exploits. No School. No friends. No stability. The Kanes are poles apart in likes and sense of purpose not only because they were raised apart, or because of the differing experiences they face. The reader only discovers the reasons for this as their journey deepens.
Encountering numerous obstacles, and strange characters, they gradually begin to understand the complex nature of life entwined with a magical ancient past that has a life of its own, threatening the modern world. Maybe even the universe if left unchecked. A scary plausible alternative life force seems to be at work in our world and it doesn't seem to have good intentions. Is there more to life than just what we seem to deal with day by day? Is there something stronger shaping events? Could the ancient Egyptian gods still be among us? Why can't the average person in the street see it happening around them?
As a reader, I haven't enjoyed a tale of this ilk since I read the first Harry Potter. The Red Pyramid might turn out to be as complex as J.K. Rowling's series, but probably appeals to an older readership. I am waiting in great anticipation for subsequent episodes of Rick Riordan's Kane Chronicles.
Many middle and upper school readers would enjoy this riveting tale even if they haven't an inclination for things Egyptian.
S. Whittaker

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