Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Red Pyramid

Not that long ago, Caren was raving about The Lightning Thief and I remembered how much I had enjoyed reading it as well.  I need to finish reading the series, but it's a bit of a project when there's seventy kazillion people on the wait list for it at the library.  Anyway, one day at the library I bumped into my friend Katie and her kids.  I love talking with her because our conversations usually include book swapping ideas and author comparisons.  I love to talk me some book talk.  She grabbed my oldest daughter and marched her over to where there was a copy of the newest Rick Riordan book, The Red Pyramid.  It's the beginning of a new series based on Egyptian myths and looked like a lot of fun.  Sure enough, my daughter devoured it and rushed it to me with the command to read immediately.  I usually do as I'm told, so I gave it a read.

Riordan is tackling Egyptian gods and myths in this new series and instead of our heroes, siblings Carter and Sadie, being descended from gods, like in The Lightning Thief, they are descended from pharaohs.  In ancient times, the gods would inhabit certain people with noble enough blood to accomplish their desires and plans in the world.  The gods inhabit the Duat, sort of a parallel existence.  There's some good guys and bad guys and through an accident involving the Rosetta Stone, both good and bad are on the loose.  Honestly, there was a whole lot to this that I had no idea about, having never studied ancient Egypt.  My whole database of knowledge comes from watching The Mummy.  Sad.  After reading this book, it made me want to check out some books on Egyptian mythology and history to see what else I'm missing out on.  Or I'll just read the series and get a hefty fictional dose.  That sounds good too.

I had an epiphany while reading this book.  The reason why Rick Riordan is making enough money to use it as toilet paper is because he speaks to the most innate desire of any child: to wake up one day and discover that you're actually a superhero/princess/supernatural being.  Who didn't pretend to be able to fly or fight off powerful enemies or rule a nation or be wicked smart when you were a kid?  Riordan's books are about kids who discover that they are so much more than they seem.  Children of gods or descended from royalty who are given tremendous power and abilities is a pretty appealing story.  Wish I had thought of it.

The Red Pyramid was a fun ride and it kept me turning pages.  My only complaint would be that Riordan sure knows how to write a boy, but he could use some lessons on how to write a girl's thoughts, feelings and actions.  I'm sure he wanted Sadie to come across as sassy, but I mostly thought she was a caricature of a sassy girl.  Like he was thinking, "I bet a sassy girl would say this!  Oh yeah!"  Oh well, Carter is a delight to read about so I got over Sadie's issues.  Now that my husband has read it as well, we can return it to the library and let some other kid escape into a world where evil must be vanquished and only preteens are capable of doing it.


  1. When we were young, superheroes weren't fantasies; they were options! - Dennis Miller

  2. That plot of discovering you're special really does speak to adolescents, doesn't it? And why not? It's way better to nurse the emotional wounds of that troubling time of life by consoling yourself with ideas that you don't fit in because you are better than everyone else and have some special destiny!

    I only have "The Lightning Thief" to refer to, but I think Riordan's humor, creativity, and juxtaposition of the fantastic and the familiar also contribute to his success. Lots of people have done the "I'm different because I'm special" theme, but not everyone can make it so much stinking fun at the same time! I will have to add this one to my list, along with the rest of the Percy Jackson series!