I finally got round to finishing The Serpent’s Shadow, the last in the Kane Chronicles trilogy by Rick Riordan. My son and I have been reading it together for months, but he finally decided I was too slow for him, and zipped ahead and finished it himself, which meant I got to read at my own pace, and I zipped off and finished it too.
It’s kind of sad that this really does herald the end of our reading time together. I just can’t keep up with him any more. It is brilliant that his hunger to finish books outpaces me, and he has had his head in a book for most of the summer holidays already, which is wonderful. I’ve offered to read stuff to him, but like his sisters before him, he is ready to go much faster than I can speak the lines, and fair play to him.
So, let’s leave my maudlin’ moment behind and focus on the book. I have to say that I didn’t love The Kane Chronicles: The Red Pyramid, The Throne of Fire and The Serpent’s Shadow, as much as the Percy Jackson series. I’m not quite sure what it was about them that didn’t quite gel. Perhaps it’s the turn and turn about narratives of Carter and Sadie and the whole premise that this is being read into a tape machine that I found a bit off putting. It might be that I just don’t warm to the Egyptian Gods as much. Whatever it was, the series didn’t grip me, or my children as much as his other work.
Having said that, it’s still good stuff. The same things that make the Jackson books good, work here too. You have fast paced adventure, snappy dialogue, humour and a dark edge to the story that keeps you reading on. Some of the characters are excellent. I particularly loved Bast the cat goddess, Bes the dwarf god, Khufu the baboon and the albino crocodile, Philip of Macedonia. If these characters made an appearance the chapter was made. Sadly they were bit players for the most part in this book. I really liked the character of Walt and it was good to see him come out strongly in this last book.
I am told, by my son, who is still outreading me, that the Kanes hook up with Percy in future books. I look forward to reading about them.
This book is suitable for boys and girls aged 10 and up. The Egyptian names and terms take a while to get used to, although there is a short glossary at the back of the book, and this book is not a standalone. You do need to have read the other two books in the series first for this to make any sense at all.