Welcome book-seekers and Egyptology nerds alike to The Red Pyramid, by Rick Riordan.
Before I picked up this book, I had read Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, Book 1: The Sword of Summer, and fell in love with Riordan’s witty writing and ability to weave mythology into his stories in a way that you can actually pick out the original myths and remember them. It’s a great learning tool for anyone who loves mythology (yes that includes me). It let’s us live in the world that ancient civilizations considered real, but in a way to which we can relate.
The Red Pyramid concerns two siblings, Sadie and Carter Kane, who have been separated most of their lives, and their quest to save their father and save the world (cliche, but true). They make friends with gods and goddesses, as well as sorcerers and even a baboon. They go to one place, fight some creatures, take a portal to another and wash rinse and repeat (you can tell I’m excited about that part), all in an effort to stop the god Set from taking over the world and releasing Chaos.
Riordan’s stories are famous for a reason, I’m aware. I’m also aware that I am not the age of most middle grade readers. However, when I say Riordan’s writing is not my favorite, I am taking those that into account. He uses some of my pet peeves in writing. For instance, the word seemed. Seemed just needs to go die in a hole. Also adverbs. So. Many. Adverbs. His writing also felt quite choppy, but that is something I will let go as the intended audience is middle grade readers. My last bone to pick with him is that his stories seem to drag on during the middle, even in Magnus Chase (though I liked that one better). It felt like they got swept to one place, and then the next, and then the next, etc., until Riordan felt like he’d made his book long enough to wrap it up.
On a positive note, he took care in planting important features of the plot throughout the book so that they all tied in nicely at the end, which was cool to see come together.
The character themselves are great, save the fact that at times, Sadie and Carter are too similar in both their manner of thought and their actions. I understand (because I’ve struggled with it myself) that changing your writing voice when switching between characters is challenging, but it is doable, and his lack of differentiation stands out due to the first person point of view that he uses.
Otherwise, Sadie and Carter are funny, mostly realistic to real kids (like when they make fun of each other in a sibling I-love-you-but-you’re-being-stupid kind of way) and their relationship with the goddess Bast is heartwarming. With the aid of Bast, the Kane siblings grow and mature with each other and become formidable forces, but humble ones. This is where I feel like they are maybe a touch too mature for their age, but who knows maybe there are two kids out there who wouldn’t get taken up by having so much power at all? Eh, I don’t even believe it when I say it.
Overall, these things, particularly the plot dragging on, dragged my rating for it down to a 3.5/5 star. Despite my mediocre rating (for me, that’s pretty mediocre), I am going to keep reading the series because CLIFFHANGERS.
(Image Source: http://vignette1.wikia.nocookie.net/olympians/images/8/8c/The_Red_Pyramid.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20150625112515)