Title: The Red Pyramid
Author: Rick Riordan
Pub. Date: May 2010
Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children
Age Range: Middle Grade
Synopsis/Teaser: 14-year-old Carter travels the world with his father, the famous Egyptologist Julius Kane. He is homeschooled and has been taught to look and act “impeccable.” Sadie, on the other hand, is a rebellious and outspoken 12-year-old schoolgirl. She lives with her grandparents in London. One would never guess that the two are related– let alone brother and sister. The siblings may be opposites, but they are forced to work together when their father releases an extremely powerful and dangerous being from the Rosetta Stone: the ancient Egyptian god Set. Sadie and Carter must learn to harness their own powers in time to stop Set’s wicked scheme to once again unleash chaos on the world.
Review: Rick Riordan proved with the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series that he is the master of reinvigorating dusty mythology to interest young audiences. Percy Jackson’s sequel series, Heroes of Olympus, is off to a great start with The Lost Hero. What a good idea, I thought when I heard of The Red Pyramid. Egyptian mythology is just as interesting as the classics, and truthfully, a lot less accessible.
From that angle, The Red Pyramid is excellent. It is humourous while still managing to be respectful of the ancient storylines. It blends in historical facts that should leave readers wanting to know more. The plight of the young heroes makes these facts more meaningful than if they were read out of a textbook. I could easily see The Red Pyramid being used in a 6th or 7th grade classroom. It also, of course, can be read for pure pleasure.
However, The Red Pyramid is hugely repetitive of Percy Jackson. It isn’t a continuation of the series, like The Lost Hero (though there are a few hints that it takes place in the same world!), but it uses a nearly identical formula. I sometimes felt like I was reading Percy Jackson again, but injected with Egyptian deities. For anyone who’s read Rick Riordan’s previous works, The Red Pyramid will prove tiring.
It’s still a good book, of course. The characters, action, suspense, and humor are great; it’s just the repetitive plot that leaves rather a lot to be desired.
Recommended for: Middle schoolers needing a boost in interest in Ancient Egypt, or those who can’t get enough of it. Any fans of Isis, Osiris, and the gang should read this book.
Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.