Book: The Throne of Fire

"The Throne of Fire" by Rick RiordanEver 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.

Last year, I read through the first Kane Chronicles book in a day. And while, technically, I was also able to finish the second book in a day–that day was split into two parts because of work and other responsibilities. Also, I didn’t enjoy the second book as much as I did the first one.

The Throne of Fire doesn’t immediately pick off after the events of The Red Pyramid. Weeks have passed since then, and our two protagonists are now joined by a few same-age colleagues. And while this development doesn’t detract from the story (the main adventure still mostly comprises of Carter and Sadie, the two protagonists), I’m not sure if I like what had happened. I get that the story is building up to an epic battle and they will need warriors, something akin to what happened in Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian, but does the training of new heroes have to be so similar to Camp Half Blood?

With the first book, I thought it was separate enough from the Camp Half Blood series of books that it didn’t feel like a cheap knock-off. I’m starting to reconsider that stand after reading The Throne of Fire. Because aside from the teens-as-gods formula that made it similar to the Percy Jackson series, the Kane Chronicles now also have semi-ambivalent gods, a dwarf god, a ‘school’ for teen magicians, and a sort-of prophecy that will propel the stories for the rest of the series. Now, I’m thinking The Kane Chronicles is just an Egyptian version of the Percy Jackson series–except this one’s a bit annoying.

I mentioned in my blog post about the first book that I really didn’t like the one-sided conversations that pepper the book as asides by the characters. I mean, I’m fine with the book-as-transcript conceit it is trying to pull off–but do we really need the barbs that Carter and Sadie lobby at each other throughout the book? We get that they are brothers and sisters that like to riff on each other–it’s evident in their characterization whenever they are together. So why do we need the asides?

Overall, The Throne of Fire is just as easy to read as the other mythology-based Rick Riordan books. But if you make me choose, I’d say that the books from the Camp Half Blood series are more interesting than this one–also, they are more fun to read. I’ll probably pick up the next book from this series, but if I have the same feelings as I did with this book, I’ll probably just stick with Camp Half Blood from then on.

As I always say though, this is just my opinion. You can read other people’s thoughts about the book online, like these ones:
The Book Zone
Roof Beam Reader
Good Reads

the red pyramid

"the red pyramid" by rick riordanto be honest, i wasn’t completely sold on buying THE RED PYRAMID yet. i held off from buying the PERCY JACKSON series until my mom bought the whole set (and then, i borrowed it from her) so i was thinking of doing the same thing with this release. after all, the wait would be shorter as this is supposedly part of a trilogy, not a series.

but in the end, curiosity won out. bought the book, and i finished it within the day.

what THE RED PYRAMID has working for it is that the PERCY JACKSON series was highly successful. which means people would be curious with rick riordan‘s other work. and that’s a good thing, because contrary to what the author says, egyptian mythology is not as popular as greek or roman mythology. it does okay, don’t get me wrong. but aside from the few popular ones, and the ankh, people don’t go around invoking egyptian gods and goddesses in daily conversations. unlike their greek or roman counterparts.

that aside, THE RED PYRAMID was an enjoyable read. it stars two heroes, and we follow two different perspectives, but only one journey. i was initially worried that it would come off as confusing, what with following two different narrators–but that fear was quickly put to rest within the first few chapters. you see, the book is presented as a transcript of a series of recorded messages. a very good way of making the characters, and the fantastical events, easy to relate to. because it feels like you’re reading a friend’s or a colleague’s accounts of their very interesting christmas vacation.

what i didn’t like so much was the small interruptions the “narrators” put in. i know that we’re to believe the conceit that it is just a transcript–but the interruptions actually derailed me while reading. i get it that their siblings, and siblings tease each other while the other is talking (i have sisters, i know what i’m saying), but in THE RED PYRAMID, it doesn’t add anything to the story. it actually distracts.

but aside from this one complaint, THE RED PYRAMID as a whole was very enjoyable. it’s certainly different enough from the PERCY JACKSON series that it doesn’t feel like a retread of the teenagers-as-gods storyline, but it doesn’t deviate so much from the successful formula that this feels like a cheap knock-off.

what i like about the book most is this one moment when a character tells our protagonists that she’s not very fond of manhattan because there are other gods there. i see this as an establishing moment wherein the characters in this series are affirming that it’s in the same universe as the other series. and i for one am looking forward to a crossover event–or even just a moment. wouldn’t it be funny for the kane siblings to suddenly bump into percy jackson in one of their journeys? the kanes are in brooklyn and camp half-blood is just over at long island. it’s impossible that they don’t bump into each other sooner or later.

do i recommend the book? definitely. especially since by book’s end,  there are no immediate mysteries that one must quickly have the answer for. i mean, there are hanging story threads–but not like the ones in THE DREAMHOUSE KINGS series by robert liparulo that would keep you sleepless for a few days while you wonder what happens in the next book. but they’re intriguing enough that you definitely know that you’ll be buying the next book in the trilogy as soon as it’s released.