Page count: 451 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Date begun: August 6th, 2011
Date finished: August 7th, 2011
This is the second book in the Kane Chronicles, and this review may therefore contain some spoilers for the previous book, The Red Pyramid. You probably want to go read that one first, although it's by no means a requirement. You get the events of the previous novel neatly summarized in case this is your first meeting with the Kane siblings.
It's been a few months since their last adventure, and Sadie and Carter Kane now have a whole slew of students at their headquarters in Brooklyn, dedicating themselves to various Egyptian gods and slowly learning to control their own magical powers. Yet again, the siblings have to set out on a quest with a very tight deadline, as Apophis, the embodiment of chaos, is about to escape his prison in four days' time, and when he does, he will swallow the sun and cast the world into chaos. The only way to prevent this, is for the Kanes to locate the three parts of the Book of Ra, so they bring the old king of the Egyptian pantheon back to fight Apophis.
Cue another quest, with many exciting action sequences, multiple international locations, among them St. Petersburg. The Kane siblings split up more in this book, and as always, the narrative alternates between Carter and Sadie. While looking for the Book of Ra, Carter keeps receiving warnings that bad things will happen to Zia, the girl he fell in love with in the previous book. He's obsessed with finding her, and Sadie has her own troubles, with her thirteenth birthday ruined by a giant vulture and baboon chasing her and her friends through London, and her adolescent heart torn between one of the new trainees, Whit, and the immortal Anubis.
Like the last one, this book introduces its readers to a whole host of Egyptian gods, both minor and major and explains several rather difficult concepts while still being entertaining action romps. I suspect these books may appeal to a slightly older age group than the Percy Jackson series, as there is more ambiguity and more complex issues are adressed in them. I certainly enjoyed it, although it does drag and can get a bit repetitive at times with the "new location, danger, kids get out of danger". I also discovered, during my browsing of the Internets, that there is just one more volume in this series. Having assumed that it was going to run to five books, like the Percy Jackson books, I'm delighted that I'll be able to read the conclusion to the trilogy some time next year.