Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Kane Chronicles - The Throne of Fire

"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."

I am a huge Rick Riordan fan. I didn't get into his stuff until last year, but after reading Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief I rocketed through the rest of the series in time to read the first book in his new series The Kane Chronicles. Whereas the original Percy Jackson series and it's continuation The Heroes of Olympus are focused on the Ancient Greek gods and their Roman aspects, The Kane Chronicles is all about the gods of Ancient Egypt. When I was a little kid I LOVED Egyptology, and still do, which makes reading this series that much better.

To give a brief background of the story, the narration is broken up into the points of view of two kids, siblings Carter and Sadie Kane. What's interesting about Carter and Sadie is that they're not just regular kids: they're descended from the Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt. Besides having an interesting lineage, this means that they have magical abilities. In the first book, The Red Pyramid the Kanes first discovered their powers and the massive link that this magic has to their family and their past.

With the adventures of the first book behind them, Cater and Sadie have returned to sharpening their magical abilities and have also taken on the responsibility of training others. All of this is going along quite well when a vision from the god Horus lets them know that Apophis, the god of chaos is going to rise and destroy the world in less than a week. And guess what? The only chance of saving the world is for the Kanes to reawaken the original Pharaoh of the gods; the Sun God, Ra. Did I mention that no one has any idea where he is and the only way to properly restore him is reunite three spell scrolls that are almost as hard to find as the god himself? That's right, it's a tall order for a couple of teenage magicians who have only known about their powers for a few months. In order to find Ra and save the world, the Kanes come face to face with old and new enemies (including an evil Russian ice cream man) and team up with old and new friends (which even include some gods!)

There's not too much focus on costume along this action packed journey, although we do get some insight into what Ancient Egyptians and their gods are often pictured wearing, which is quite interesting. And, as with everything else, Riordan always makes sure to give the reader a good feel for the characters personality by including a description of their clothing. For example, Sadie's clothes clearly mark her as the rebellious type while Carter gives off the opposite impression based on his crisp wardrobe.

I really enjoyed this book. If you're a fan of Rick Riordan's other stuff, I think you'll like it too. It gives an interesting take on classic mythology, giving the gods entertaining personalities while still maintaining a solid and somewhat serious plot line. It's really quite charming! The Kane Chronicles: The Throne of Fire is a shining example of middle grade literature.

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