Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Book Review: The Red Pyramid

Thanks to Amazon Prime, I got Rick Riordan's new book "The Red Pyramid" a day early, and finished it up Thursday night.

This is the first in a proposed 3-book series. Whereas Riordan's Percy Jackson books asked the question What if the Greek gods were still around? The Red Pyramid changes the Greek gods to Egyptian ones.

Oddly, though, this book didn't remind me of the Olympians books so much as it did Riordan's other project: The 39 Clues. In the 39 Clues, a brother and sister discover that they are part of an amazing and important family as they travel the world to complete a difficult quest. (Riordan only wrote the first of the 39 Clues books, but wrote the overall arc for the 10-book series on behalf of Disney publishing.)

The Red Pyramid has a brother and sister team traveling the world on a difficult quest while learning they are part of an amazing and important family.

The kids in the 39 Clues are escorted by an intriguing au pair. The kids in the Red Pyramid are escorted by an intriguing cat/goddess, Bast.

The kids in the 39 Clues pick up...well...clues, as they work to piece together a bigger puzzle. The kids in The Red Pyramid pick up clues as they work to piece together a bigger puzzle.

So, other than the fact that the overall pattern of the book is familiar, what does this book bring to the table?

The cool part of the book is finding out how Egyptian mythology worked and the relationship between Egyptian magicians and the gods. It is a very different relationship than the more-familiar Greek mythology. The Egyptian gods can be controlled by magicians and magicians can draw on the power of the gods, giving humans much more power in Egyptian mythology.

Other than that, though, I found the book pretty flat. And, though I saw parts of the ending coming, I still found it convoluted and anticlimactic. Throughout the book we are told of the evils of one god, and his quest to destroy North America. But when the final battle concluded, that god was basically told to shape up and allowed to go on his way (because a bigger threat was looming). After hearing about this guy's evilness for so long, not having him really vanquished came as a bit of a let down. Nor was it explained why a good talking to would be sufficient to keep this god quiet until he was needed again. Either I missed something, or it wasn't explained very well.

I would say there are plenty of better books out there to read. If you're interested in Egyptian mythology, you'd probably like it, but I wouldn't go out of the way to read it. Wait for the soft-cover.

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