On the one hand, The Red Pyramid is everything we’ve come to expect in a Rick Riordan book: fast-paced, witty, engaging, and an interesting overarching theme to tie a series together. He tackles Egyptian mythology this time, creating a world in which the gods exist, where there is magic, and the balance between chaos and order is failing.
We follow the adventures of the Kane siblings: 14-year-old Carter and 12-year-old (almost 13!) Sadie as they are thrust into this world of good and evil, gods and goddesses, magic and magicians. They’ve been living apart for the past six years, ever since their mother died. Carter’s been traveling the world with their archeologist father, and Sadie’s been parked in London with their grandparents. However, things are heating up, and on one Christmas Eve, their father decides to do the unthinkable: raise the gods in order to bring his wife back from the dead. Unfortunately, things don’t go as planned, and he releases all five of the major Egyptian gods: Osiris, Horus, Isis, Nephthys and the big bad guy Set, who plans to take over the world.
Of course it’s up to our heroes to figure out how to swim in this big, scary stream and figure out how to stop Set. And of course they manage it (with a few bumps and bruises along the way).
On the other hand, though, this book is just more of the same. I couldn’t help but compare this series to the Percy Jackson series, and while I enjoyed reading this, I felt that the Percy books were tighter, that the mythology was better used. The magic in this one almost seemed like cheating, instead of a natural outgrowth of the characters’ situation. And while I usually enjoy Riordan’s silly asides, this time — he had the characters trade off chapters and whenever they switched, there would be some sort of snide comment — it interrupted the flow of the story. Sure, they were funny at first, but after a while they grated.
Granted, those are only two quibbles in a more than 500-page book (well, there are three: Percy Jackson felt tighter because it was shorter; did we really need to go 500 pages to tell this story?). It really is a fun read. Not as good as Percy, but good.
Rated: Mild, mostly for many, many scenes of magical violence and quite a few uses of the Lord’s name in vain.