Great Illustrated Books

The Red Pyramid (The Kane Chronicles series)

By Rick Riordan

Hyperion Book CH, 2010
Pages : 528
Suggested Ages: 10 and Up
ISBN: 1423113381

Rick Riordan’s plunge into ancient Egyptian mythology, twenty-first century-style, begins with a warning: “The following is a transcript of a digital recording. . . It seems impossible that the two young narrators are telling the truth, but you, the reader, must decide for yourself.” Fourteen-year-old Carter Kane and his twelve-year-old sister, Sadie Kane, take turns, two chapters at a time, in relating the earthshaking turn their lives have taken since last Christmas Eve. Carter is first, in “A Death at the Needle,” speaking directly to us:

“We only have a few hours, so listen carefully. If you’re hearing this story, you’re already in danger. Sadie and I might be your only chance. . . Okay, Sadie is telling me to stop stalling and get on with the story. Fine. I guess it started in London, the night our dad blew up the British Museum.”

As Carter and Sadie quickly discover, the blood of the pharaohs runs through their veins, and they are the most powerful royal children to be born in centuries. Can they summon enough magic to rescue their father and reconcile the gods with the Per Ankh, the House of Life, before Set—the Red Lord, the evil god of chaos—destroys North America and more? Their ensuing race takes them to their Uncle Amos’s invisible mansion in Brooklyn, New York; to the top of the Washington Monument; to Graceland, Elvis’s estate in Memphis; and to Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, Arizona, where Set is building a massive red pyramid. The Demon Days are here and Carter and Sadie have only five days to fend off or befriend a host of gods, demons, and other magical creatures that can’t wait to kill them, and bring back order to the universe.

Tremendously inventive, exhilarating, and just plain fun, this is nonetheless a challenging read, integrating a weighty dose of Egyptian mythology into the Kane kids’ sassy narratives.

TIPS & EXTRAS Go to and look for the Egyptian Event Kit. There you can print out a helpful chart describing each of the many gods and magicians you meet in The Red Pyramid, which is, well, a godsend if you’re having trouble keeping them all straight. (Guaranteed, Riordan’s tenacious fans will read the book more than once, which will help them decipher the arc of the Kane kids’ complicated quest.) On the Web site, you can also play the Red Pyramid Puzzle, and download and listen to chapter one of the audio book. Book Two of the trilogy won’t be out until 2011?! It’s going to be a long wait, so, in the meantime, why not brush up on all things ancient Egyptian at your library?

Reviewed by : JF.


If you love this book, then try:

Alexander, Lloyd. The Book of Three. Henry Holt, 1964.

Billingsley, Franny. The Folk Keeper. Simon & Schuster, 1999.

Collins, Suzanne. Gregor the Overlander. Scholastic, 2003.

Divakaruni, Chitra Banerjee. The Conch Bearer. Roaring Brook, 2003. (And others in the Brotherhood of the Conch series.)

Kerr, Philip. The Akhenaten Adventure. (Children of the Lamp series, Book 1) Orchard, 2004.

LaFevers, R. L. Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos. Houghton Mifflin, 2007. (And others in the Theodosia series.)

Langrish, Katherine. Troll Fell. HarperCollins, 2004.

L��Engle, Madeleine. A Wrinkle in Time. Farrar, 1962.

Moss, Marissa. The Pharaoh��s Secret. Amulet, 2009.

Pratchett, Terry. The Wee Free Men. HarperCollins, 2003.

Pullman, Philip. The Golden Compass. Knopf, 1996. (And others in the His Dark Materials series.)

Riordan, Rick. The Lightning Thief. Miramax/Hyperion, 2005. (And others in the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series)

Riordan, Rick. The Maze of Bones. Scholastic, 2008. (And others in the 39 Clues series.)

Rollins, James. Jake Ransom and the Skull King��s Shadow. HarperCollins, 2009.

Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer��s Stone. Scholastic, 1998. (And others in the Harry Potter series.)

Scott, Michael. The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel. Delacorte, 2007. (And others in the Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series.)

Stroud, Jonathan. The Amulet of Samarkand. Hyperion, 2003.

Critics have said

The first volume in the Kane Chronicles, this fantasy adventure delivers what fans loved about the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series: young protagonists with previously unsuspected magical powers, a riveting story marked by headlong adventure, a complex background rooted in ancient mythology, and wry, witty twenty-first-century narration. The last pages contain a clever twist that will leave readers secretly longing to open their lockers at the start of school.