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I love Rick Riordan's writing. I love this series. And I really enjoyed this book. It just wasn't my favorite of the trilogy. I'm not even sure I can pinpoint the exact reasons why.
For starters, when I read #1 and #2, I couldn't put the books down. I was engrossed almost immediately. The finale, however, took me a bit longer to feel invested. For the first third of the book, I found myself consuming much smaller chunks.... a chapter or two at a time. Of course, by the midway point, I was moving full steam ahead. I was just surprised it took me that long.
Maybe the plot was a bit too similar to the Throne of Fire? The Red Pyramid was about Apophis, but we didn't really know that until the end. We were all focused on Set. Throne of Fire continued with Apophis in a naturally progressive way. Serpent gave us some new faces and obstacles... and character growth...but the outcomes felt more predictable this time around.
That said, I understand that Throne was used to foreshadow much of Serpent ...and I was still very engrossed in this plot, especially in the 2nd half.
I was also pleased with the ending. Riordan tied up the series nicely but left enough question marks that he could easily write additional books down the road without being redundant. I, for one, would LOVE to revisit the Kanes and the Egyptian gods and goddesses.
I also liked the Carter/Zia and Sadie/Walt/Anubis storylines - although I do wish he had made Sadie a year older. I am far from a prude but I kept reminding myself I was reading about the love interests of a 13 year old. Fourteen (i.e. high school age) would have made this a bit more comfortable. LOL - maybe I have just been out of the loop too long. I did say I was well beyond his intended age group.
Overall - another great book and series from an equally talented author. I'd probably give this 4.5 stars!
Ever since I was 10 years old I've been reading Rick Riordan books and although this book was good, it wasn't my favorite installment of his ancient god franchise. I do must say that although these characters are my age, they defiantly don't act like my age. Part of that being that this can be read by a 5th grader. But one thing that I don't get is that the characters repeat their adventures to a tape recorder like they're reciting something read to them by their grandmother. I mean try to put some emotion into their dialogue because they talk about dead people like theyre alive and they aren't
Other than that, this book is full of action and Riordan's humor that he has been putting into his books for the past 7 or so years and a perfect fun read that readers of all ages will enjoy. (Hint, my favorite Riordan series is still Percy Jackson)
Six months have passed since the events of The Throne of Fire, Ra has not improved and Apophis has returned to rise again. The House of Life is truly divided between the magicians who battled against the initiates in Brooklyn and those followers and friends of the Kane family. Amos is the Chief Lector, but his followers are few and those loyal to him find themselves under attack by rival magicians and forces of chaos. Apophis and his minions have destroyed all copies of the scroll describing how to defeat him and Sadie and Carter are at a loss of how to save the world from destruction. They have only a matter of days to figure it out or the world will be plunged into eternal darkness and destroyed forever. Will the discover a way to unite the House and the Gods to defeat Apophis in time? And even if they do will it be enough to win against the powerful chaos snake?
So I really did enjoy the series conclusion to the Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan. I considered giving it a perfect stars and then I was looking at some of my Goodreads statuses and thinking back to when I started the book a few hours before and I realized I did have some issues with the novel and it just wasn't perfect rating quality. My issues aren't many and most of them occur at the beginning of the novel but I think they're notable enough to warrant a less than perfect rating. First of all a lot of my complaints about the last novel are also true for this novel. For one Riordan sort of jumps right in to the story which begins six months after the last novel left off. Again Carter and Sadie's lives have changed rather dramatically and even though at the end of the last novel Desjardins had bought them time in the battle with Apophis when we return the time is used up. Riordan jumps right in not completely explaining the changes just putting these characters in an all new scenario and basically telling readers this is how it is now, deal with it. I still prefer the descriptive lead in of the first book rather than the culture shock in the second and third books. Yes you get into how things are now within a few chapters but you don't understand it and feel it in the same way you did with the lead in he gives in The Red Pyramid. The openings of the second two books in this series have kind of a sink or swim sort of feel to them which I don't like. The beginning of the book is also heavily dominated by Sadie's point of view. Don't get me wrong I like Sadie as a character, but I'm more of a Carter fan, and this is for more than his personality. Scenes from Carter's point of view are more descriptive and better set the scene. Sadie is more internally focused while Carter is more externally focused which is I know is a little odd since Sadie is the outgoing one while Carter is more awkward and I guess you'd say shy. But it make sense actually think about the person who is the life of every party, it's not because they're focused on everyone else and making them happy it's because they're focused on themselves to the point that because they believe there is something special about them everyone else believes it too. Sadie's not that bad, no, but it's an example of what I mean. I like Sadie's scenes don't get me wrong, but they're not as rich as the ones told by Carter. This brings me back to another issue I had especially at the beginning of the novel, the story was a little over-light on description. This changes the further you delve into the story and gets much better but in the beginning when Sadie basically describes the setting as another Egyptian section of a museum and since they're all the same that's enough said, well um that's not enough said. She describes many scenes like this or gives loads of back story in a short sentence that list things series readers might recognize but doesn't explain at all for a new reader instead making comments like don't ask. That doesn't cut it with me if you're going to mention back story. If back story is included in a series book for potential new series readers it needs to be enough to actually understand what you're referring to, not just a laundry list of past events that wouldn't make sense to anyone who hasn't read previous series works. Additionally the opening where Sadie congratulates everyone for surviving the apocalypse and offers a quick description of things that the reader should have experienced kind of threw off the feel for me. I mean while the events she describes are apocalyptic in proportion, they're things that the general populace would remember had they actually happened. Before this Riordan has given the novels a sort of fantastic but also realistic sort of feel. He sets the tone with his authors notes then it opens with one of the two siblings talking. And while you could almost convince yourself their story really happened as you read it with the other novels with her speaking to the reader with things every person on earth should have noticed it takes the realistic sort of feel from the novel. I mean yeah this has always been fiction, but it's more of a feeling you had while reading the other two books that the opening of this book removes in a few sentences. Additionally Riordan continued with the dual narratives of the last novel with pausing storylines at important moments and switching to a different one. While every scene packed so much more punch that it worked better in this novel so things didn't drag like they did in the last, it's still frustrating to leave the storyline at a critical scene. My final issue with the book is again with Sadie, in that she's supposed to be thirteen and while the events of her life would obviously mature her, her relationship and the way she looks at them and addresses them feel more like an older teen would act and feel than a barely teen would. Her relationships are in my opinion a bit too mature to associate with a thirteen year old.
Now that I've given you the run down on what I didn't like, let's move on to what I did. First of all this book upped the ante in danger and excitement to the point it was the type of book you can't put down. It continued with the same dual first person narrative sandwiched between an authors' note format like the other series novels, but once you got past the opening of the rushed scenes it was so much more in action that the other novels. On top of that despite the dark feel Riordan has expertly woven in an element of humor through most scenes so that they aren't too dark for his middle grade audience. Many of his scenes are outright inspired. I kept stopping just because I had to shared quotes from the novel as I was reading. And honestly I stopped myself from sharing more because it seemed every few pages there was something I wanted to read aloud to my husband or mention online. I mean he has a hippo goddess going to battle with a hypodermic needle as a weapon and Sadie tricking a goddess of the hunt by a fearsome story of fighting Jelly babies. The goddess scene was excellent because she's describing normal every day events like they're some kind of dangerous war story or African safari. You'd have to read it to truly understand the hilarity of the scene. And those are just two of the scenes that I couldn't resist sharing on Goodreads. There were so many more quotable, memorable and truly inspired scenes in the novel that if I'd let myself I'd have quoted the book to people online every few minutes. As you get further into the novel getting past the abrupt opening and falling in to the changes in the characters' lives now this book truly tops the charts in not only it's fast paced storylines, but in humor and unforgettable scenes and I can't even truly find the words to explain what I mean. It was excellent. Riordan also resolves the two love stories that have slowly developed for our leading siblings over the course of the book. While I still maintain that Sadie's relationship is a bit too mature for her age, the way Riordan solved her love triangle was truly original and something I never would have guessed as a possible outcome of that plotline. I'd seriously like to know more about that in the future, exactly how that works and all. But I won't go into the why because it would be a definite plot spoiler that I think you as a reader should experience for yourself. The plotline between Zia and Carter was sweet and also inspired but in a different way. Watching these characters grow and come together was a nice I guess you'd say icing on the cake to the story. It left a reader feeling fulfilled at the end. Riordan did however mention that things weren't over for The House of Life and its members. He makes mention of other gods and unexplained magics that hint at a future combo Percy Jackson/Kane Chronicles novel that I'd definitely be interested in reading. In some ways that part of the ending frustrates me but I have to hope that he did that because he doesn't intend to lay Carter, Sadie, Walt and Zia to rest just yet. I am hoping though that if they return they bring Bes, Bast, Anubis, Horus, Isis and Ra with them. Heck I'd even welcome seeing more of Set in potential stories to come. Some parts of the plot were left a little open ended so I'm hoping that means even those this series is complete that there are spin off stories to come. Between the two series I'll admit I'm partial to Percy but that's probably because he has more stories and I've spent more time with him in his stories. However I feel that the Kane Chronicles and its characters are equally memorable and likeable characters even if I do like Percy more. There were also parts of the ending that made me feel a bit disappointed, but I'm hoping that if we do see future stories those parts will be made better in that. The hint Riordan left of possible future adventures with these characters have left me just as excited as the story itself and I'm sincerely hoping he follows through with those.
Characterization made an excellent come back in this novel. Yes there were indistinguishable background characters, but more of them became distinctive than in the last novel and the background characters weren't randomly named as they were in the second novel. I think that made all the difference for me. Yes there are tons of unnamed initiates but the fact that Carter and Sadie didn't bother to mention their names made it feel like it was okay for them not to be distinctive. The secondary characters with names were at minimum distinctive and many were extremely well developed. Riordan introduced a younger character who's I'm guessing four or five by the name of Shelby who was a particularly memorable secondary character. No she didn't play a big role in the novel but scenes featuring this young girl whose ages is not actually given that I noticed, were scenes that stick out in your head and definitely bring a smile to your lips. For example she runs through the middle of a battle smacking enemy magicians on the butt yelling "Die, Die, Die!" Sadie refers to her as adorable in this scene and you can't help but laugh at the image of a kindergartener spanking people in battle. Granted I wouldn't want my child to behave that way at her age, but this girl leads a very different life than my children do. She's interesting because of the way she melds childish immaturity and views of the world with a life of magic, danger and war. She's clearly powerful, but she's got this sort of personality that makes her stand out the way many of the secondary initiate characters don't. Yes Jaz, Julian, Alyssa and Cleo are distinguishable now, they don't blend together anymore but neither do they stand out in the way Shelby does. She is definitely one of my favorite characters in this series. Carter and Sadie continue to be well developed character in this series who also continue to grow and mature as characters. Zia and Walt gain a whole new level of development and character growth in this book as well. I could continue to list characters and mention how well developed they are but that would make for a very long review so let me just say I found the character development, both secondary and primary, in this novel to be excellent.
Overall I'd definitely recommend this truly inspired finale to the Kane Chronicles series. While middle grade readers might still be daunted by the length I hope they'll find their way past that to enjoy the excellent story within. I also think many adults will be thrilled to take this journey with or without their children. It's a story and a series not to missed.
Nothing more to say except _ This is an excellent series with hints of future books AND I WANT THEM NOW! I want to know what happens to Shelby and Julian and who the Egyptian god of ice is,and definitely more penguins. I like penguins. Thank you, Mr. Riordan. You have done an excellent job.
Definitely a good combo. An adventures book whose main characters are Egyptian gods, you learn about Egyptian life and beliefs while enjoying a good read. Next time you visit a museum you will look at the relics paying much more attention!! Ingenious style of narration which manages to be quite funny while instructive, somehow. Recommended!