The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan – Review

Book Jacket:

Since their mother’s death, Carter and Sadie have become near strangers. While Sadie has lived with her grandparents in London, her brother has traveled the world with their father, the brilliant Egyptologist, Dr. Julius Kane. One night, Dr. Kane brings the siblings together for a “research experiment” at the British Museum, where he hopes to set things right for his family. Instead, he unleashes the Egyptian god Set, who banishes him to oblivion and forces the children to flee for their lives. Soon, Sadie and Carter discover that the gods of Egypt are waking, and the worst of them–Set–has his sights on the Kanes. To stop him, the siblings embark on a dangerous journey across the globe–a quest that brings them ever closer to the truth about their family, and their links to a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs.

You can read an excerpt here.


My first thought after reading this book was that we have a new David Eddings and his name is Rick Riordan. And that’s not a good thing in my book.

Let me explain – for those who haven’t read David Eddings, he’s a hugely popular fantasy author known for several major series: The Belgariad, The Malloreon, The Elenium, etc. The first time you read one of his cycles, you’re blown away. Amazing stuff. Then you read a second, and you can’t help but notice it’s strikingly similar in practically every way. But you kind of shrug and try not to mind all that much, because it’s still a fun ride. But about the time the third cycle comes along, and it’s the exact same thing AGAIN, you start to feel disappointed and a little bitter.

The Red Pyramid, by the numbers, is exactly the same as the Percy Jackson series – and I  am a raving fan of that series and own all of them, so please don’t think I don’t appreciate what Rick Riordan does well.  I love his feel for action and snark. But in the Red Pyramid, we have two kids, who lose a parent, find out they have god-endowed powers, are promptly chased by god-embued bad guys, pick up a kick ass girl who is both love interest and guide, are betrayed by someone they trust, and save the day but learn that the big bad they are fighting is actually a pawn in service of a bigger bad, and a bigger fight is still to come. Sound familiar?

On top of which, Egyptian mythology doesn’t have quite the same hold on the western psyche that Greek mythology does, which doesn’t help. I’ll probably still read the next book, but I won’t re-read them and I’m not going to buy them.  Here’s hoping the next series in the Percy Jackson world brings us something fresh and exciting, because I’ll be really sad if there’s nothing more new to come from Rick Riordan, no matter how many books he writes. But feel free to disagree vehemently with me and love every page of the book. I’ll be completely jealous of you if you can.

Byrt Grade: B+

As Levar Burton used to say – you don’t have to take my word for it…

Bookkids says:

From the first chapter, the adventure draws you in and doesn’t let you go.  I know I resented it every time I had to put down the book…I enjoyed the Red Pyramid even more than the Lightning Thief.  I found the tale to be more complex, the characters better fleshed out, and the quest less meandering than the one in the first Percy book.  In fact, if I didn’t already know that he had started working on one, I would have to advocate for a Kane Chronicles camp.

A Book Dork says:

I have to admit that the book took me a while to get into and that the switching between characters was a bit jarring, but once the pace picked up the book just got harder and harder to put down. Sadie and Carter are great characters. They drive each other crazy like all siblings, but they of course love each other even if there is tension between them…Even though the book was a bit slow, it definitely set up the rest of the series to be action packed. I wasn’t sure if “The Kane Chronicles” would feel like “Percy Jackson” all over again, but Rick was able to do some really cool things with Egyptian mythology that sets the series apart. Yes it does have the same action, adventure, and hilarity that “Percy Jackson” has, but the Egyptian mythology is so rich that it somehow feels completely different. I could say a lot about the book, but I’d end up giving away some fantastic plot twists or something. If you liked “Percy Jackson”, then you will also enjoy the first installment of “The Kane Chronicles”.

Susan Carpenter at the LA Times says:

The similarities between Percy Jackson& the Olympians and The Red Pyramid are numerous, but if The Red Pyramid comes off as derivative, at least Riordan is deriving from himself. Regardless, his new story is inventive and well told and has the added benefit of making history interesting again.