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The Serpent’s Shadow

The Serpent’s Shadow (Kane Chronicles, #3)
by Rick Riordan

Carter And Sadie Kane, descendants of the magical House of Life, are in pretty big trouble. Despite their bravest efforts, Apophis, the giant snake of Chaos, is still threatening to plunge the world into eternal darkness. Now the Kanes must do something no magician has ever managed – defeat Apophis himself. No pressure there then. Battling against the forces of Chaos, their only hope is an ancient spell – but the magic has been lost for a millennia. Will they find the serpent’s shadow, or will they be led to their deaths in the depths of the Underworld? (goodreads.com)

Somehow the release of the third book in the Kane Chronicles slipped past me. I only realized about a month later when I was walking the floor of BEA and was all, “Oh! I can’t wait for this to come out!” *grabs bookmarks* Monkey & Disney rep, “It came out a month ago.” Me, “Um…”

True story.

Anyhow, I quickly rectified my oversight and bought the book when I was placing a Book Depo order for a friend. Heh. What was one (or three) extra books, right?

I have said it before on this blog, and I’ll say it again – I love this series. Even moreso than the Percy Jackson series and I really enjoyed that one. (I have yet to read the Lost Hero ones though.) Even though I tend to like Greek mythology more than any other myths, it was really interesting to learn more about Egyptian myths through the Kane Chronicles. What I love most about this series though are the characters. The Kane Chronicles are the only books that I find really do dual-point of view well. I admit I was very nervous about the dual narration when I started with The Red Pyramid, but it was very quickly apparent that both Carter and Sadie Kane were going to be energetic and entertaining narrators. I am sure I have run across dual-PoV stories in the past that didn’t irritate me, but I was trying to call them to mind and nothing, absolutely nothing pops up.

** some possible spoilers, but I try not to be too spoily. Also, this is a third book in a series, so if you haven’t read the first two, pretty much anything that’s said in this post, including the official book summary, is like, spoilerific!**

Anyhoo… so I think this is the last book in the series, but I could be wrong. I can see potential for more, but to be honest, I want this to be the last. Although it sounds like maybe a cross-over with the Heroes of Olympus? Hmm. As far as story conclusions go, The Serpent’s Shadow was pretty good. I did think that the final battle with Apophis might have gone down a little too easily after all the build-up and I’m not entirely sure how I feel about the Walt situation (creeped out? ok? confused? So, like, is Sadie in a threesome now? HOW RISQUÉ, MIDDLE GRADE BOOK!) But I liked the pace of the story and the action & adventure. I do wish Sadie and Carter could do more stuff together, though I see how that would sort of make the whole dual PoV aspect rather moot.

And even though I am on a fantasy kick right now, this book felt just right. It’s not fantasy-fantasy but it’s magical enough that it filled that need I have right now to get lost in a magical place. Somewhere far, far away from work and house chores and work and.. well, you get the idea. Humour and magic. It’s all I need, baby.

My question to you, happy blog readers, is this: Have you read any of Rick Riordan’s MG books? Do you like the Percy Jackson, Heroes of Olympus or the Kane Chronicles the best? I think I’ll tackle the Heros of Olympus (is that the title of the series? I should look that up, but I’m too lazy at the moment) books next. I’ll start those when there are more in paperback. It’s a testament to how much I love this series that I buy them in hard cover. (Ok, not completely true – I buy them in hard cover because I was lucky enough to score a signed copy of The Red Pyramid at BEA in 2010. I was then obliged to get the rest in hard cover so all books matched! However, had I not loved TRP I would not have continued to buy them in HC. Ex-cetera, ex-cetera.)

Kane Chronicles

  1. The Red Pyramid
  2. The Throne of Fire
  3. The Serpent’s Shadow

The Throne of Fire

The Throne of Fire (Kane Chronicles, #2)
by Rick Riordan

Ever since the gods of Ancient Egypt were unleashed in the modern world, Carter Kane and his sister Sadie have been in trouble. As descendants of the House of Life, the Kanes have some powers at their command, but the devious gods haven’t given them much time to master their skills at Brooklyn House, which has become a training ground for young magicians.

And now their most threatening enemy yet – the chaos snake Apophis – is rising. If they don’t prevent him from breaking free in a few days’ time, the world will come to an end. In other words, it’s a typical week for the Kane family.

To have any chance of battling the Forces of Chaos, the Kanes must revive the sun god Ra. But that would be a feat more powerful than any magician has ever accomplished.

First they have to search the world for the three sections of the Book of Ra, then they have to learn how to chant its spells. Oh, and did we mention that no one knows where Ra is exactly?

Narrated in two different wisecracking voices, featuring a large cast of new and unforgettable characters, and with adventures spanning the globe, this second installment in the Kane Chronicles is nothing short of a thrill ride. (goodreads.com)

Hmm, this summary makes up for the last two lame ones. Need to make sure my review is at least as long as this. Good grief. (Yes, I could very well write my own but I suck at that immensely.)

I was super excited to read this book, which is why when I was finally able to go out and buy books last weekend it was the first one I picked up. (I might have left the store with seven books in total, which was actually me being very reserved with my buying…) Unfortunately I just can’t get into anything I read this month (which is why I have only read a total of 6 books so far, when last year I read 12 in June!) I struggled through Throne of Fire because I knew that I was enjoying it, I just didn’t feel like reading it. But I WANTED to read! I just didn’t want to. Does that make sense?

As is the norm with Rick Riordan novels, there were a ton of laugh out loud moments. I even contemplated taking notes while reading to remind myself what pages the best lines were on so I could share them with you. However, I was having enough time trying to focus on reading the book that I didn’t think adding some steps to the process would be the smartest thing I could do. You’ll have to trust me on this one – I cracked up a LOT while reading the book.

I am still holding to the fact that I like this series better than Percy Jackson. I think it’s better written (I think) and I find the humour a lot funnier. There is something about the plot and action that hooks me a little better as well. I have yet to read The Lost Hero which is set in the same world as PJ and I have heard great things about it so I will read it at some point. That series I think I will collect in paperback. The only reason I am going hard cover with the Kane Chronicles is because I got the first book in HC at BEA last year. My book OCD will not allow me to change the other books lest the series look out of sorts on my shelf. (I say this as if the books are actually on a shelf and not in a pile on the floor since I have no shelves and need some desperately.)

Look at me saying a whole lot of nothing about the book just to fill some space. Heh.

My one problem with the series is that I keep forgetting how young Carter and Sadie are supposed to be. Sadie only turns 13 in this story and I have  hard time thinking she’s that young. Especially since she’s all gaga for Walt who is sixteen. Am I that old and crotchety already that a relationship between a 12-year-old (now 13) and a sixteen-year old is creepy? I know three years is no big when you get older, but for some reason that just made my skin crawl. Plus I didn’t really get Walt’s deal. (Or even get his name right since I have called him Will all this time and only noticed I got his name wrong when I was proof reading.) Carter and Zia also bugged me. I guess I just enjoy these books as adventure stories and I don’t need the added love story to muck it up. Now is it there because publishers and authors feel that every story now needs some sort of romantic angle like Twilight? Is it there because at the ages of 13 and 14 these crushes and obsessions happen normally (because they do seem like normal every day teen activity). Is it there to try to grab more girl readers? I don’t know. There could be many reasons, I just don’t like it. I am apparently old and crotchety. Sigh. (In my defence I wouldn’t have liked that aspect of the story when I was a teen either, so maybe I was just born old and crotchety.)

Based on the ending of this installment of the series I am extra curious and excited to read the next book (which I believe should be the final book). Some interesting things happened that I can’t wait to see where they go.

Maybe this summer I’ll see if I can find myself a copy of The Lost Hero so I can get another Riordan fix. His books always seem to make me laugh and I need that more and more these days!

Kane Chronicles

 

 

 

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Last Olympian

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Last Olympian (Book 5)
by Rick Riordan

Well, it feels like forever ago that I read books 1 – 4 of this series! It’s actually just over a year since I read the first books in January 2010. I waited this long to complete the story because I was (im)patiently waiting for the fifth book to come out in paperback. The pb release kept getting pushed back and it was driving me crazy!  When we went to the bookstore this week so I could pick up their one copy of Outside In by Maria V. Snyder I happened to see a display of The Last Olympian on my way to the shelf. I grabbed a copy after I picked up the book I came for and headed to the cash. Like heck if I was going to wait longer to finish this series!

Although I had trouble remembering what had happened in the first four books (because I am old and can’t even remember things from yesterday, let alone an entire year ago) I quickly feel into the groove of the story and bit by bit the plot came back to me. I was soon chuckling as I read about Mrs. O’Leary’s antics and at Percy’s sarcastic humour as much as I was in the earlier books.

As my husband pointed out (he finished it the same day I did) this book is just one big battle. It’s not as adventure oriented as the first ones. There is no quest, there is just this war to save the world from Kronos and the Titans. I think for both of us it made the book a little less exciting than the first four. We liked the quests (ok, not so much the Labyrinth because it really turned out to be rather anticlimactic) and we liked the adventure aspect of the series. I understand fully that this last book had to be pretty much BATTLE RAH!!!! but I still missed the quests.

Things that surprised me in this book – I liked Grover for once. He’d annoyed me from book 1 and yet I didn’t think twice about that while I was reading the story. I actually thought he was toned down enough and a different enough character that if he’d started out the way he ends I’d have liked him much more. I used to like Rachel Elizabeth Dare but I didn’t care much for her in this book. The ending. I’m not going to spoil it in case there’s someone out there in the world who is even slower at finishing this series than I am. But I was surprised and I liked what happened.

What I didn’t like about the book – I wish that Luke’s mother had been fixed. I think that once the curse was broken she should  have gone back to normal and not be the exceptionally sad, crazy woman that she’d become. The scenes with her made me feel sick and just broke my heart. I really wish that the one aspect of the story that could have resulted in a happy ending could have been her and not anything else. I would have been ok with the death of Percy if she’d just been healed.

And I can now say that I am much more interested in reading the spin-off series – The Lost Hero now that I know there will be many more new demi-gods and houses at Camp Half-Blood. Up until I had read this final book I had no desire to continue in the world of the Olympians, but Percy’s request of the Gods really interested me and now I think I must procure a copy of this first book in the new series! It helps that I really like Rick Riordan’s writing and humour. I truly did enjoy his other new series The Kane Chronicles and that pretty much sold me on how much I like him as an author.

The Percy Jackson series reminded me of how much I loved Greek mythology when I was younger even if I found a lot of it confusing to keep track of. These books are a nice, easy way of introducing people to that mythology and perhaps cultivating an interest that will last for a long time in children (and adults!).

Thanks for taking me on an exceptionally entertaining ride, Mr. Riordan. This was a great series and it just made me so happy!

Percy Jackson & the Olympians series

  1. The Lightning Thief
  2. The Sea of Monsters
  3. The Titan’s Curse
  4. The Battle of the Labyrinth
  5. The Last Olympian

Buy the Book: AmazonCA | Amazon | Book DepositoryUK

The Red Pyramid

The Red Pyramid (Kane Chronicles, #1)
by Rick Riordan

Since their mother’s death, Carter and Sadie have become near strangers. While Sadie has lived with her grandparents in London, her brother has traveled the world with their father, the brilliant Egyptologist, Dr. Julius Kane.

One night, Dr. Kane brings the siblings together for a “research experiment” at the British Museum, where he hopes to set things right for his family. Instead, he unleashes the Egyptian god Set, who banishes him to oblivion and forces the children to flee for their lives.

Soon, Sadie and Carter discover that the gods of Egypt are waking, and the worst of them–Set–has his sights on the Kanes. To stop him, the siblings embark on a dangerous journey across the globe–a quest that brings them ever closer to the truth about their family, and their links to a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs. (goodreads.com)

This is one of my ultimate grabs from BEA. Thanks to a new blog buddy’s generosity I was able to get a ticket to get a signed book by Rick Riordan. Had that not happened I know I would not have discovered the awesome that is this book until next summer when it came out in paperback.

I tell you honestly that I loved this book more than any of the Percy Jackson books. I laughed out loud almost every second page and although I find Egyptian mythology more confusing that Greek (only because I never learned about it) I found the Gods in this book much more fun than in Percy Jackson.

The story is told from the alternating voices of brother and sister, Carter (who grew up traveling the world with his father) and Sadie (who lived with her grandparents in London, England). When I first realized the story was to be told in this manner I cringed. I don’t particularly like when the chapters switch characters, however I found that the story was well told in this manner and I can totally see why it was written this way. My opinions of a few things changed with the progression of the book. First, I was sure I was not going to be able to stand 12-year old Sadie, and then suddenly I was looking forward to her chapters the most because I was sure to laugh the loudest. Due to her 6 years in London with her grandparents she has a very British manner of speaking and for some reason that always makes me laugh more than boring ol’ North American speak. I also changed opinions of a few of the secondary characters like Zia and Bast.

I am certainly looking forward to the rest of this series, which I am now stuck buying in hard cover so the books match. But I won’t feel SO guilty as this series was fantastic and I can’t wait to read the next book! I wish I knew what it was called and when it was coming out though!!

Kane Chronicles

  1. The Red Pyramid
  2. The Throne of Fire
  3. The Serpent’s Shadow

 

 

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Battle of the Labyrinth

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Battle of the Labyrinth (Book 4)
by Rick Riordan

Good lords, I started this post a week ago today and never got past the title, image and series info (below). It feels like it has been forever since I have finished this book. When it really has only been a week.

My thoughts on this fourth instalment of the Percy Jackson series: rushed and had problems with continuity. I was exited to read the book because I love stories about labyrinths and puzzles, but it was almost as though the labyrinth wasn’t even there. For all the fear they tried to instill into the reader and characters about how dangerous and scary this maze was, it really didn’t seem like they had any trouble with it at all. Every turn they ended up somewhere else and although they might have had a challenge to get back to the maze, it went very smoothly for the most part.

One of my biggest frustrations was the fact that time in the labyrinth was supposed to be off from that of the mortal world. For instance when Percy and Annabeth fall into it the first time they are told they were gone for an hour when really it was only 5 or so minutes to them. So all this time they are spending in the labyrinth for the rest of the book? Shouldn’t days have gone by on the “outside”? When this is all over and done with they still have July and August to spend at the camp. I honestly thought that they would have returned to camp at the end of summer based on the way time was supposed to go. But no. I didn’t like that at all. Why even bother with all the warnings and make a big deal of mentioning the time thing only to just forget about it for the next 2/3s of the story?

Although I did enjoy reading this book I did not like it nearly as much as I liked the first three in the series. Part of me wants to rush out and get that final book while it is still in hard cover to have some sort of closure, but the other part wasn’t nearly as desperate for the next book once this one was over and might just be able to wait until August. My husband was going to get Book 5 with his gift card from Christmas only he forgot. Which is what I discovered when we came home one night to a parcel at the front door with a shiny new DnD encyclopedia thing and a book from Jim Burke. When I asked him about the fifth book he replied, “Oh, crap! I forgot!” So you know what? I’m very happy waiting until August because not only will the book not match the rest of my series, it’s also $18. I don’t feel like spending that  right now.

My husband and I have differing opinions on characters, too. He dislikes Tyson and Rachel Elizabeth Dare but loves Annabeth. I however love Tyson and Rachel Elizabeth Dare and do not care much for Annabeth. We both hate Grover and are of varying opinions about Percy. It’s been fun reading this series with him and then finding out what we did and did not like. Normally we’re very similar in our tastes, but these books are proving us wrong!

Percy Jackson & the Olympians series

  1. The Lightning Thief
  2. The Sea of Monsters
  3. The Titan’s Curse
  4. The Battle of the Labyrinth
  5. The Last Olympian