Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Red Pyramid

Rick Riordan's latest, the first of the new series the Kane Chronicles, was a fun read, but somehow I expected more. I loved the use of Egyptian mythology, and I thought the author did a good job using two narrators effectively (and excitingly). However, something about the magic felt too ad hoc for me. This is a big problem when I'm reading fantasy: I need to understand the rules of the world if I'm going to buy into it.

I understand that Carter and Sadie don't know the limits and possibilities of their powers or those of the gods/goddesses/magicians/godlings around them, but as a reader, I have to feel like the author knows. I wasn't quite convinced. Almost-sixth-grader Jack asked me early on, "But how do those shabti work?" I still don't know, and I don't know how pillars of fire or magical caskets or god-channeling pyramids (in Egypt or Phoenix or Paris) work.

This makes me sound very literal and persnickety, but I don't think I am. But the suspense doesn't build for me if I keep thinking, "Well, he'll just pull something out like an avatar hawk warrior. Or a crowd of scorpions. Or a giant sweating crocodile god. Or Elvis."

Did anyone else feel this way about the book? I don't remember the same feeling in The Lightning Thief. Am I just being jaded?

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