Monday, May 14, 2012

Middle Grade Monday - Serpent's Shadow by Rick Riordan

Riordan, Rick. Serpent's Shadow, The. Hyperion Books for Children, 2012. 416p. $16.99. 978-1423140573.

Genre: MG Fantasy
Rating: 4/5

This is the final book in The Kane Chronicles trilogy. Sadie and Carter Kane need to save the world again.  This time from the God of Chaos, Apophis.  Apophis is determined to eat the Sun God, Ra and plunge Earth back into it's primordial days.  He's going to wait until the equinox to do that though.  Meanwhile, he's been destroying a particular scroll that the Kanes believe hold the secret to his destruction.

For most of the book, The Kanes are split up. Sadie travels with Walt as they try to figure out where the dwarf God, Bes', shadow is so they can reunite the two. Carter and Zia, on the other hand, are following Setne around so they can get the Book of Thoth to help them do an execration. This provides a great opportunity for L-O-V-E.

Now, in Throne of Fire (TofF), 12-year-old Sadie was obsessed Anubis and Walt Stone. So much so, that I found it unrealistic. She is this strong-willed, purple-haired, combat boot wearing destruction magician who becomes consumed by her attraction to a  5,000 year old god. It didn't fit the girl we met in The Red Pyramid. It actually made me not like TofF as much as I would have without the love triangle. It's one of the reasons I only gave this one four stars. Now we have 13-year-old Sadie obsessed with Anubis and Walt Stone. In a way that adds nothing to the story. Sadie's overbearing personality never lets up so you can't see either boy making any headway. You don't get to see a relationship being built between Sadie and the boys either. It appears to be more of a plot device that I leads to something I can't speak of here. This plot device will probably show up in a spin-off series involving those two and Setne.

Carter and Zia also found love in TofF. At least Carter did. Zia was pretty much entombed or a shabti. Now that she's a "real girl" she's busy taking care of Ra. Traveling with Carter gives her an opportunity to get to know him as they spend time talking. It's not a lot of time, as we are on a doomsday schedule, but the conversations seem heartfelt. I can't shake the feeling that Zia is much too mature for Carter though. She seems more like she's in her early twenties compared to Carter's 15 years.

I had a small beef with how EASY many of the challenges were. This book felt more like a setup than a final book. This pretty much was more of what we read in Red Pyramid and Throne of Fire. The series has been a nice introduction to Egyptian mythology, though. It reads slower than The Percy Jackson and The Olympian series but I found that enjoyable. I thought Riordan gave us more mythology than questing in these books, possibly because Egyptian mythology just hasn't been explored as much in children's books. Overall, I recommend this one to students who like mythology. Pair it with the Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series which I'll be talking about in two weeks.


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  1. I have, and will always be a Rick Riordan fan, which is something I'm going to say right away. I'm glad that you ended up liking this book, although the romance does sound iffy, and I absolutely abhor love triangles. The only well-written love triangle I've ever seen was in UNEARTLY. Other than that, I don't think there are really any good love triangle books out there. So I'm sad that the one in here isn't done well at all. =( I'm also surprised to hear that Carter and Sadie are separated throughout the book, I wasn't really expecting that!

    I also loved The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, and I actually get to meet the author at a signing the day after my birthday [!!!!!!!!], and so I'm super excited for that. I look forward to your review for that awesome series!

    Lovely review, Ms. B! I'm very excited to start this one, to see what I think of it.

    -Aneeqah @ My Not So Real Life

    1. Also, please overlook my lack of spelling ability. I'm a horrible speller in general, but usually spell-check catches all my mistakes, which it clearly didn't in this comment!

  2. I'm not nearly as fond of this series as I am of the Percy Jackson books; perhaps because I've never been that interested in Egyptian mythology. I'm looking forward lots, though, to seeing what Riordan does with the Norse gods and goddesses!


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