Saturday, June 11, 2011

Baby, Your Throne is on FIRE

The Kane Chronicles, Book Two: The Throne of Fire
"I named my camel Katrina. She was a natural disaster. She slobbered everywhere and seemed to think the purple streak in my hair was some kind of exotic fruit. She was obsessed with trying to eat my head. I named Walt's camel Hindenburg. He was almost as large as a zeppelin and definitely full of gas." When I read Kane Chronicles: The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan, I found myself giggle with each page. The spunky and sassy Kane kids, Sadie and Carter, bring more fun adventure with this second installment to the Egyptian mythology-laced story.

Carter and Sadie barely made it through the last scuffle where the Red Pyramid was almost constructed. Instead, they bartered with evil God Set, their dad agreed to host the god of the underworld, Osiris, and they put a call out to all magical children. The Brooklyn house became a training ground for young magicians and godlings, but they had barely recovered from their last heroic adventure. They certainly weren't ready for the next one to start so quickly. Carter was still obsessing about Zia, the girl he fell in love with until he realized she was a shabti of the real Zia- a clay figurine transformed to look and act like a real person (most aren't as lifelike as Zia's was). Sadie was still crushing on Anubis, the dog headed god of the dead who looked a lot hotter in person (and much less dog headed).

When the Kane's learn the world is going to end (again), they only have five days to awake an elderly god, Ra, who has been asleep for thousands of years. Hopefully he can restore Ma'at (peace) and keep Chaos from overtaking the world, particularly in the form of a serpentine god named Apophis, who has been imprisoned since Ra retired. To do this, they must find all three scrolls of the Book of Ra, travel to the Duat (limbo/underworld), find Ra, and convince him to take his throne again. All this combined with cackling vulture Gods and angry, dumb ape gods taking over their grandparents, a leader of the House of Life who wants to take the Kanes down, a crazy Russian consorting with Set, a loony Dwarf God who squeezes into a speedo and a Hawaiian shirt, and no adults to help them makes for a very crazy few days for Sadie and Carter Kane. But will rising Ra be the answer? Can they save the world?

One thing that I realized about this series was how Riordan writes Sadie's character. She is a 13 year old girl, and a sassy and spunky young woman. You wouldn't want to cross Sadie Kane! I remember reading James Patterson's Witch and Wizard and being thoroughly annoyed how he portrayed Whisty, his young female character. I thought it was a clear example of how a middle aged man shouldn't try to write as though he was a 13 year old female narrator, but that isn't the case with Riordan. He writes Sadie like many of the 13 year old girls I know. Perhaps Mr. Patterson should contact Mr. Riordan for a little help in understanding his characters!

This was such a fun follow-up to to the first book in Riordan's Egyptian series. I am not as familiar with Egyptian mythology as I am Greek or Roman mythology, so I was exciting to have this series to learn a little more. Some of the names and terms can be difficult to pronounce or understand, but there is a glossary at the end of the book of terms and hieroglyphs. It is really helpful if you have trouble with these strange names (I know I did!). Other than the Egyptian terms, this is a very clean, wholesome story. There is plenty of adventure, but the content is appropriate for any age group. I would give this to any high skilled elementary student to a high school student. It has enough excitement and adventure to keep anyone intrigued.

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