Thursday, May 17, 2012

Word of Mouth - The Serpent`s Shadow

I have a suspicion that y`all are saying to yourselves, ‘Oh boy, she`s going to review a Rick Riordan book. This will be an automatic five stars since she`s such a Riordan groupie.’

Well, y`all are wrong. I`m only giving ‘The Serpent`s Shadow’ four stars. Taken aback, are you? Don`t be. The book is super, a great read, filled with action, Egyptian mythology and a touch of romance, all the things that made me fall for Mr. Riordan in the first place. It is a good read for all ages, just not quite up to the five star novels I`ve been reading. But that`s okay! These books aren`t written to try to compete with such masterpieces as the ‘Song of Fire and Ice’ books, these three books were written for young adults to introduce them to mythology. For that, I bow down and kiss Mr. Riordan`s sandals. (Since we`re in Egypt this time around, sandals is the footwear of choice although the Greeks wore sandals too but I digress…)

Anything that pulls people in to read about the Greek, Egyptian and rumor has it soon to be Norse pantheons is great with me. (Excuse me while I do a happy dance about the Norse gods in Rick Riordan`s skilled hands.) Okay, I`m done dancing now. My mythology geek is appeased.

In this third and final book of ‘The Kane Chronicles’ we once again are told the story of Sadie and Carter Kane, two teens who are magicians and working to bring down Apophis, the Egyptian god of Chaos. Carter still is linked with Horus, the war god while his sister Sadie has Isis, the goddess of magic and mother of Horus keeping in touch with her. There are so many gods mentioned in the book I nearly wept with glee. Babi a baboon god, Hapi god of the Nile, Neith a hunting goddess, Osiris the god of the underworld, Ra the sun god, Set the god of evil….I could go on and on but I`ll control myself and stop there. Each god and goddess is treated to a new make-over, the mark of a Riordan book, and is hip and cool and appealing to new readers be they twelve or seventy-two!

Bes, the dwarf god from the previous book returns much to my delight! As does Anubis, the god of funerals and death that Sadie Kane has a sort-of romance with. She also is quite taken with a young mage named Walt, but Walt is a descendant of Tutankhamen and carries a curse of dying young. Carter is attracted to a lovely young lady named Zia who has a special tie to Ra. Can you feel the god love flowing from me?? So much mythology all neatly packaged to entice and entertain! This is what makes each book penned by Rick Riordan so darn much fun and so darn educational. This is what I try to emulate in my own books - Entertainment with a dash of education. I doubt I meet the level of Mr. Riordan though, but I do try to follow in his large footprints.

The Serpent`s Shadow is a quick read, the pace is tight, the action plentiful and filled with harrowing moments and humor and the characters are so, so well written it is a joy to read them. Every one of us can identify with either Carter or Sadie, and I bet your young readers can too!

The two leads have grown over the trilogy, showing us tons of development, the plot is clear and the sub-plots are neat and fun. Everything wraps up perfectly at the end. I`m glad this series ended with just three books because it didn`t need any more. That is a sign of a writer who knows his craft. Mr. Riordan could have strung this out but he didn`t. Admit it; we have all read series that should have stopped with two or three books, or even less sometimes. This story only needed three books to complete. Sure, he could have raked in more royalties but that would have been a disservice to his fans.

Now he can move onto that Norse series I am breathlessly agog about, and give us another in the on-going Greek/Roman wonderfest of a series that has my favorite son of Poseidon, Percy Jackson! Woo and hoo Percy! Please, don`t let the YA moniker turn you away, grown-ups. If you like action, laughs, tender moments, magic, mythology and irreverence then grab this book. Better yet, pick up the entire series, read them then pass them to your kids. Entertainment and education. Yeah, it don`t get any better than that my friends.

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