Page count: 544 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Date begun: June 25th, 2011
Date finished: June 29th, 2011
In the course of last year, I read the entirety of Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, where young Percy Jackson finds out that he is a demi-god and son of the Greek god Poseidon. He and several of his friends, who are either demi-gods or other mythological beings, go on many adventures and quests, usually to save the world from destruction.
Rick Riordan has clearly found a winning formula, and if it ain't broke, he ain't gonna fix nothing. Having successfully sold millions in a series based on Greek mythology, he gleefully takes on Egyptian myth in his new series, this time with two new, young protagonists, siblings Carter and Sadie Kane. Carter has travelled the world with his father, famous archeologist Dr. Julius Kane, while after a very bitter custody hearing after Mrs. Kane's death, Sadie has been raised in London by her grandparents. She only sees her father and brother twice a year, for a day at a time. The kids are mixed race, with Sadie apparently taking after her blonde, English mother (i.e looking Caucasian), while Carter looks like his African American dad.
It's just before Christmas, Carter and his dad are in London to see Sadie, and Dr. Kane drags both his children to the British Museum, acting very shifty all the while. Once in there, he proceeds to blow up the Rosetta Stone with magic, releasing all sorts of trouble in the process. Suddenly everything Sadie and Carter thought they knew is turned on its head. They find out that both their parents are from ancient bloodlines with strong magical abilities, that in trying to right a great wrong, their father accidentally released five Egyptian gods, including Set, god of Chaos, and that they have approximately six days to set everything right, or the world might get destroyed.
So, new mythology, new protagonists, same old quest narrative. I read the Percy Jackson books over the course of a whole year, and didn't really feel that they became quite as repetetive as this book did. It was entertaining, and Riordan really does integrate some pretty complex mythological facts in his adventure books for teens. The Egyptian pantheon and mythology is, in my mind, quite a bit more complicated than the Greek, yet Riordan integrates it very well. The narration changes between Carter and Sadie, and over the course of the book we get to know both characters well. There's very few quiet moments, it jumps from dangerous situation to dangerous situation, in ever changing locations - London, New York, Cairo, Paris and so forth. There's a clear time limit, and the kids are under a lot of pressure. I would have liked some of the book to calm down from its breathless pace, but all in all, it wasn't bad, and I will look out for the next book in the series, especially to see if Sadie's crush on the hunky Anubis goes anywhere.