Sadie and Carter Kane only see each other a couple times a year since their mom died. On one such visit their dad Julian brings them together in the dead of night for a mysterious purpose, but in a horrible twist of fate ends up raising the Egyptian god Set, who promptly banishes Julian to the underworld for all time. Now the siblings are on the adventure of their lives as they race against time to save their dad and the world.
Ever since their mother died six years ago Sadie and Carter Kane have lived apart. Sadie lives with their grandparents in London and Carter travels the world with their dad, Egyptologist Julian Kane. The book begins with Julian taking the siblings to British Museum, supposedly to study the Rosetta Stone, but actually with the hope of mending the tear in the family that occurred with the death of their mom, Ruby. In a bad twist of fate, Julians attempt at making things right goes terribly wrong and he ends up raising Set, the Egyptian god of chaos, who banishes Julian for all eternity.
Now Carter and Sadie are on the run, hiding first at the Uncle Amos’s house in Brooklyn where the discover that they are descended from a long line of power magicians. Unfortunately no place is safe for the Kane’s and after an attack on the Brooklyn mansion leads to Sadie’s cat Muffin revealing herself as the goddess Bast, the siblings are off again to try to find their way into the Duat, a magical world that lies parallel to this one. The action doesn’t stop here as Sadie and Carter meet another magician, Zia, who takes them to the granddaddy of all schools of magic, the First Nome.
Just when it seems like the Kane’s might catch a lucky break and learn how to control their powers the head of the Nome, Chief Lector Iskandar, dies and the Kane’s are on the run from his evil second in command who wants to see their heads on pikes. In whirlwind of activity that is hard to keep track of the Kane’s end up having to venture down into the underworld to get the feather of truth and learn the true name of the god Set so that they can destroy him. The book ends with an epic battle in Arizona, America’s closest resemblance to Egypt I guess, where Sadie and Carter have to face down true evil. This is the kind of book that jumps from climax to climax, so take notes between chapters!
This is not a very satisfying read for grown ups. It’s a little bit on the juvenile side of YA, I think, and that really doesn’t make it the best choice for adults. Sadie and Carter are pretty decent characters, but they lack a certain amount of depth that usually comes along with good YA fiction. The most remarkable thing about them is their back and forth banter, which although is certainly typical of a brother and sister, is kind of cutesy and patronizing to read as a grown up. I don’t know if it reads that way to teens also, but I sure hope not. Otherwise the story is pretty blah, I felt like Riordan just wrote Percy Jackson again with Egyptian Gods instead of Greek. I guess if you’ve got a money maker of an idea you’d better reap it for all it’s worth!
Rick Riordan was born in 1954 in San Antonio, Texas. He attended university at North Texas State, but graduated from University of Texas at Austin with a BA in english and history and went on to cert certified to teach English and history. Riordan grew up in an artistic family and has been writing from a young age. When he was 13 he tried to have his first story published, but it was rejected.
Riordan has published a number of novels inspired by mythology an ancient gods. In addition to the Kane Chronicles, which concern the gods of ancient Egypt, Riordan had published two separate series on the Greek gods of Mount Olympus, Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief and The Heroes of Olympus. All told Riordan has published around 28 novels, including one adult title The Last King of Texas.
Young Adult Fiction, Juvenile Fiction, Mythology, Siblings, Egypt
history, ancient cultures
How do the representations of Egyptian Gods in this book differ or agree with what you already know about them?
How do you think life would have been different for the siblings if they had stayed together after their mom died? What if Sadie went with Julian and Carter stayed with their grandparents?
Reading Level/Interest Age
Some parents may object to this book because of its use of magic and representation of Egyptian gods. While the library encourages discourse on all topics, it does not support censorship, as in accordance with the ALA Library Bill of Rights. That said, reconsideration requests are available and each complaint is taken very seriously. The library reserves the right to make all final decisions after review by the board and strongly encourages parents and children to have open and clear discussion on what kind of material is appropriate for them.
Reason for Inclusion
This book borders on juvenile fiction, I think, but I included it anyway because I think it is a fast past exciting read for kids who don’t particularly enjoy reading.
Riordan, R. (n.d.) Biography. About Rick. Retrieved from: http://www.rickriordan.com/
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