Friday, May 6, 2011

The Red Pyramid

The Red Pyramid is the first book in Rick Riordan's Kane Chronicles series. While the Percy Jackson series have focused on Greek and now Roman mythology, the Kane chronicles introduce readers to Egyptian mythology.

The format for this series is also a departure from the Percy Jackson series. The story starts with a warning to the reader that reminds me a bit of Alcatraz . Riordan draws the reader in by having the characters leave a message for some mysterious person who will be coming for what they are leaving in a locker, indicating that the reader is in danger just by picking up the novel to follow their journey.

This novel also departs from the previous novels by using the first person instead of the traditional third person voice. Sadie and Carter tell the story trading off chapters.

Sadie and Carter are brother and sister raised apart. Her grandparents raise Sadie and Carter travels constantly with his father. While this might seem like a bad custody story, there is a reason for the children's separation, which the reader soon learns.

While Riordan invited readers to learn more about Greek myths in his Olympian series, this series seems like it requires more background knowledge. He spent a significant amount of time in the Percy Jackson series helping readers less familiar with Greek mythology. This novel seems to expect readers to become educated or have more of a background in Egyptian history. I wish this novel had been available when I was teaching Egyptian history and mythology to fourth graders. There would have been a chance to apply what they knew.

Sadie's character is the reader's voice in the novel, as she was not raised with Carter and his father's knowledge of Egyptian history. However, as we discover more about Sadie's heritage, she loses some of that voice for a reader who may not be familiar with the stories of Isis, Osiris, Horus, and Set.

I am enjoying the series and looking forward to the The Throne of Fire due out May 3. If your child is not as familiar with Egyptian history there are some great resources. Mary Pope Osborne's non-fiction series includes one on Egypt, Mummies & Pyramids (Magic Tree House Research Guide). Eyewitness has long been one of my favorite non-fiction resources and they have two books in their series that would be useful Ancient Egypt and Eyewitness Pyramid .

Riordan has given Carter and Sadie choices that Percy did not have. Readers of the Percy Jackson series will notice the author has managed to avoid contradictions when presenting two opposing religious theories. It will be interesting to see where he proceeds with the characters and the plot as the series continues.

1 comment:

  1. An interesting element to this story is that Carter and Sadie are mixed-raced. Their father is black and their deceased mother was white. Sadie looks more white and so the few times she does get to see her brother and father, people give them all odd looks. So you get to see what life is like for children who look so different but are siblings at the same time.