The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan is the first book in Riordan’s trilogy, The Kane Chronicles. In these books Riordan mines the rich seam of Egyptian mythology in much the same way he did with Greek and Roman mythology in the Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus series.
Regular readers will know that we have read and reviewed all the books in the Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus series on this blog. They have provided us with months and months of bed time stories as we became totally hooked on the books. We were very sad when they were finished, and it seemed an awfully long wait until November 2015 when the new series, based on Norse mythology is due to be released.
Then we realised we hadn’t read the Kane Chronicles. I did a bit of research and found that some of the characters from each series overlap in the new series, and that was enough to convince the children (who are not mad keen on Egyptian mythology) that we should at least give them a try.
To begin with we were unsure. There are ten books about Percy Jackson, and the children love them so much that they were not feeling the love for Carter and Sadie Kane, the brother and sister duo who are the heroes of this series. The first couple of chapters, although enough to grip me, were not really working for them.
It was only with the introduction of the animal characters, Khufu, the baboon, Bast the cat goddess and the albino crocodile, Philip of Macedonia, that the children became really interested and started requesting that I read more every evening. In the end we finished the entire five hundred pages plus in just over a fortnight, much to the detriment of my voice, which is now a mere husk.
The story has a lot of the same elements that make the Percy Jackson series so readable. It merges ancient myths and the modern world seamlessly, making the old stories seem fresh and relevant to the modern reader without losing any of the magic or mystery of their original counterparts. It is fast moving, full of fantastic magical episodes or fight scenes or moments of dilemma that mean there is never too much down time between exciting moments. The narrators, both Carter and Sadie, have unique story telling styles which livens up the text and makes for some excellent comical moments which add a lightness of touch to the sad or violent elements of the book. There is a good balance of characters in terms of boys and girls, gods and mortals, and in this case also animals, that mean that there is something to please every reader.
If you like Egyptian mythology this is definitely the series for you. If you’re interested in fantasy fiction it works just as well. If you like a great yarn and lots of adrenalin fuelled adventure, it also works. It ticks all the boxes for older readers. I’d recommend it for boys and girls aged 8 upwards. You could easily do what I have done and read it to younger readers as a bed time story if you know that your child/ren would be interested but are not quite up to the Egyptian names and terms. Having said that there is a small glossary at the back of the book which is helpful.
We really enjoyed the book in the end and sped through the last two hundred pages in about three nights of intensive reading. We’re having a break for something completely different for a little while, and then it’s straight onto the next in the series, The Throne of Fire. Luckily for my voice’s sake, this seems a little shorter.