24
Aug
12

Thoughts on a Book: Kane Chronicles: The Serpent’s Shadow

When young magicians Carter and Sadie Kane learned how to follow the path of the Ancient Egyptian gods, they knew they would have to play an important role in restoring Ma’at – order to the world. What they didn’t know is how chaotic the world would become. The Chaos snake Apophis is loose and threatening to destroy the earth in three day’s time. The magicians are divided. The gods are disappearing, and those who remain are weak. Walt, one of Carter and Sadie’s most gifted initiates, is doomed and can already feel his life force ebbing. Zia is too busy babysitting the senile sun god Ra to be much of help. What are a couple of teenagers and a handful of young trainees to do?

With hilarious asides, memorable monsters, and an ever-changing crew of friends and foes, the excitement never lets up in The Serpent’s Shadow, a thoroughly entertaining and satisfying conclusion to the Kane Chronicles.

AUTHOR: RICK RIORDAN

Rick Riordan is the author of the New York Times #1 best-selling The Lost Hero and The Son of Neptune, the first two books in the Heroes of Olympus series. He also penned the New York Times #1 best-selling Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. The first two books in his Kane Chronicles, based on Egyptian mythology, The Red Pyramid and Throne of Fire, were New York Times #1 best-sellers as well. Rick lives in San Antonio, Texas, with his wife and two sons. To learn more about him, visit his Web site at www.rickriordan.com.

  1. Riordan posited a delightful what-if, “what if the Greek gods still practice their prodigious talent for knocking-off female mortals and fathered a number of demigods in the present time era.” The result is a best-selling series that almost had me requesting an office leave just so I can finish his thrilling tales in peace. Treading a different premise but similar procedure, he turned his attention to group of much older deities. Instead of sowing wild oats, the Horus and his gang were presented as sort of cult figures whose powerful paths some high-skilled magicians can follow. In this case, the daring Kanes. It is not as exciting as his other books, but Riordan managed to make good of his premise. The appeal lies in the main characters.
  2. Siblings Carter and Sophie cannot be more different from one another but once the tough gets going, the brother-sister magicians get tough. I like Sophie more because she is – surprise, surprise – a bigger as*-kicker than her brother. She has Isis on speed dial whenever she needs a hand but most of the time, she relies on herself and ancient incantations to defend against monsters. (Carter got Horus’ number but Isis is better. The girl had to locate all the missing parts of his husband Osiris then raise him from the dead. You think Rubik’s cube is hard. Do some anatomical puzzle resurrection some time.) To top it all, Sophie has a problem most girls will kill for – a gorgeous budding magician and a good-looking god is competing for her attention. The resolution to this dilemma had me screaming, “You are a good man Rick. You are a good man.”
  3. Like most quests, there are a number of supporting characters that make the ride more entertaining. At once, I think of three special characters in the Kane Chronicles. I leave it at that so others could discover them for themselves.
  4. The children-taking-charge-to-prevent-widespread-catastrophe is a derivative idea but it never gets old. I guess the appeal lies in the fact most of us feel helpless as a child in the face of difficulties and that reading stories about innocent children thrust in profound responsibilities (and succeeding in the process) is both cathartic and compelling.
  5. There is a “possible sequel element” in the last instalment of the Kane Chronicles. Is prolonging the affair a good idea? I do not think so. The possible sequel element I refer to has recurrent properties that might pose a no end in sight situation. All good series, like all things, must come to an end. Let this be the final chronicle because it is just fair for us fans.

RATING: B-

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