The Kane Chronicles follow the lives of Carter and Sadie Kane, brother and sister whose family are connected with the fate of the Egyptian Gods. As with Riordan’s Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus Series (both of which you can find reviewed here), he takes a mythological genre and updates it for the modern world. Just as Percy is a Greek Demigod in modern America, Carter and Sadie find that they can channel the Egyptian Gods and that the fate of the world is still tied to that of an ancient mythology.
In this book, Carter and Sadie have to use their powers and those of the teenage trainees that they have taken on to help them, to assist the Sun God Ra to rise again from several millennia of enforced retirement. They are still battling both the forces of evil in the form of Apophis, the immortal and eternal enemy of Ra, and the priests of the House of Life, who believe Carter and Sadie are renegades who will destroy the world.
Carter and Sadie take it in turns to narrate chapters, and the action swings from New York to London to Egypt itself and on into the realms of the Egyptian dead.
The story, as you would expect from Riordan, is fast paced and exciting with a great blend of tension and humour. Riordan walks a clever line between history and modernity and you find yourself learning a lot about ancient Egypt entirely without feeling you are.
The children and I have been reading this together at nights, and although they don’t love this series as much as the Percy Jackson books, they think this second volume is much better than the first one, and they are beginning to warm to the characters more. We are looking forward to reading the final part of the story in: ‘The Serpent’s Shadow.‘
I think this is a great book for children who love fantasy stories and who like fast paced, vividly written stories with a great and memorable cast of characters. In this book I particularly loved the dwarf God, Bes and Bast the cat goddess goes from strength to strength. It would suit confident readers aged 7 and up, both boys and girls.
It’s too long to read in class, but if you’re doing a project on the Egyptians, excerpts of this would make great lesson accompaniments, and might whet children’s appetites to both engage more with the subject matter, and read the book on their own time.
You really need to read these books in order to make sense of them. They don’t entirely work as standalone novels, although Riordan does recap the action in certain places in the book.