the red pyramid
book and graphic novel review
by rick riordan
Synopsis: The story centers around Carter and Sadie Kane. They are two normal kids with a less than normal upbringing. After their mother passed away, Sadie was sent to live with her grandparents in London while Carter travels the world with their father, Julius. On what seemed like a typical visit, the kids witness their father accidently summon an evil Egyptian god who then imprisons him and vows to return the world to darkness. The kids are swooped away by their estranged uncle and are told that their parents were actually incredibly gifted magicians. (Uncle) Amos also tells them that they are the only ones who can save Julius and stop the evil God Set from taking over the world. In order to do so they must accept their heritage and become great mages like their parents. Carter and Sadie are forced to race through time and around the world to save everything they love.
review by jay
The Red Pyramid is the first book of Rick Riordan’s The Kane Chronicles. Like the Percy Jackson series The Red Pyramid carries a mythological story, this time featuring Egyptian mythos.
The story is appropriately epic, but even with incredible things happening right from the beginning, the book has an unusual feeling of being slow and almost boring for the nearly the first quarter. This is partly due to much required exposition but also to the fact that Carter and Sadie are really not doing anything themselves. Like the reader they are being pulled along for the ride and that's a problem, as the
reader's perspective is limited to these two characters. As the story
becomes more involved with Sadie and Carter’s actual actions, it starts to pick up and a sense of thrill and adventure finally reaches the reader; a connection is made. After the first hundred odd pages the story becomes great fun and keeps you interested until the last page.
The way the story progresses actually creates an interesting dichotomy between the two available mediums, the novel and the graphic novel. The novel is my preferred choice as it provides more vivid detail in the different scenes and allows you to see the story from the characters’ actual perspectives. The story is told as an audio log from Carter and Sadie which lets you see how different the two actually are, something I grew to appreciate as more secondary characters are
introduced. These individuals give you more insight into what kind of people Sadie and Carter are and in my opinion a stronger connection to the story. The book's pacing is however a serious problem. I cannot stand books that use excessive exposition at the beginning and The Red Pyramid strays daringly close to the line of be being unbearable. It's very odd as Riordan has written many other books that do not really make this same mistake. But besides the beginning this is a fun adventure that mythology nuts will find enjoyable and deep characters you can root for.
The graphic novel is the alternative and I think it is a good way to experience the story. The beginning, for one, is much less boring as you have exposition but also beautifully drawn pictures that add much needed excitement. The artwork overall is excellent, with nice contrast and great detail. Occasional we experience a panel with more hasty completion and lack of detail, but none so bad that it distracts from the story. The problem I have with the graphic novel, however, is that it is not from the perspectives of Carter and Sadie. The graphic novel basically adds an extra third person perspective to the story, yet one of the things I most appreciate in Riordan’s works are the main characters' opinions, emotions and views. But this perspective still has its charms as the graphic novel feels similar to an animated feature; fantasy stories like this adapt well to colorful imagery and flowing action scenes.
Overall I really liked The Red Pyramid and will definitely continue to delve into the Kanes’ story as well Riordan’s other works. For fun adventure with mythical beasts and world saving, get reading.