Thursday, July 19, 2012
Perfect Egyptian Conclusion
I have always been interested in "things Egypt" so I don't know how I have so little knowledge about Egyptian mythology. And when you want a heavy dose of mythology on a hilarious platter, who do you come to? Why Rick Riordan, of course! The master of repurposed mythological tales has done it again as he wrapped up the Kane Chronicles with The Serpent's Shadow.
Sadie and Carter know they must stop Apophis, the God of Chaos, from destroying the world. But how could two teenagers stop the apocalypse? When, when you are a Kane, you always have friends in strange places. With Bast, a cat goddess, to watch over their initiates in the house, they embark on a journey to find the way to stop Apophs, but each day he grows stronger. Add to that the fact that the senile sun god, Ra, who was supposed to help them dances around and has to be babysat, that their best friend Walt is slowly dying from a generations-old curse, and Carter was crushing on a magical clay figurine he thought was a girl. Once the figurine was destroyed and they rescued the real Zia, she had no memory of Carter's time with her shabti. And Bas, the dwarf god, has sacrificed his soul to save them and is now sitting like a shell of himself in the retirement home for the Gods.
So how are they going to stop this unstoppable God of Chaos now that they have freed him and allowed him to gain more power than any one god or goddess can control, you ask? Well, it might involve a spell that is so powerful, it will destroy the Kanes for good, but when you have the weight and fate of the world resting on your shoulders, you really don't have much of a choice. Sadie and Carter will do anything to save the world, even if it means tough choices and big sacrifices. And with the Kanes against them, even giant serpent gods who thrive on chaos can stop them!
It is no secret that I think Rick Riordan is a god. God of literary brilliance! His Percy Jackson series and the spinoff series are brilliant uses of Greek and Roman Gods, and this series is just as phenomenal. His ability to repurpose mythology brings it into the mainstream and gets our kids involved in stories that might have been too old, too, boring, and too distant for them before. And let's face it, mythology is interesting, but those stories are intricate and dense and those names get seriously confusing. Let's not even mention how ridiculous those tangled webs of relationships can be! But Riordan makes mythology accessible AND more important, absolutely HILARIOUS! The things that come out of these gods and godesses' mouths will leave you in a fit of giggles. And for my students who have read these stories, those gods and goddesses are interesting and the source of future research and reading. I find kids who read these books want to go on and read more about their favorite gods and goddesses, and since Egyptian mythology isn't as well known as Greek mythology, this series is a great way to strike a balance between the two!
The conclusion of the series was whole-heartedly satisfying. I promise you won't think it is going to be until the very end, but it really is. I have to say, I thought this was another 5 book series, so at the very end, when things started winding down, I had to rush to do some research as to whether or not this was the final book in the series. Sadly, because I love this series and wanted it to continue, this is indeed the final book, but it ends beautifully. If there was a perfect way to end everything, The Serpent's Shadow was it. So, I know Riordan is working on the Percy Jackson spin-off, but I really hope he has another series up his sleeve!