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The Red Pyramid, by Rick Riordan

red pyramidReview by Reid Dye

When Carter and Sadie Kane’s mom died in an explosion at Cleopatra’s Needle, in London, the two twins were separated.  Sadie lived with her grandparents in England and Carter lived with his dad, who was an egyptologist whose job made him be constantly moving around.  That is, until Carter’s dad blew up the Rosetta Stone.  The twins were then both taken by their Uncle Amos to a mansion in Brooklyn, where they learn that they combine the blood of two ancient pharaohs, making them the most powerful people in the world.  They also learn that they are hosting Ancient Egyptian gods, which basically means that they have part of the god’s spirit in them.  They also learn that Set is rising, and will destroy the world on his birthday, the height of his powers, with a huge storm.  Amos leaves to investigate, and the mansion is attacked by monsters sent by Set.  Sadie and Carter are suddenly thrown head-first into a fascinating and frightful adventure where they must save their father, defeat Set, and regain order in the Universe: all without dying.  Will the two twins be able to save the world and their father? Or will chaos overcome order and the universe end?
As I was thrown through the course of this fascinating book, I absolutely marveled at the story, mostly in the description and relation to true things.  However, the way that the book is narrated, although cool and creative, was also a bit confusing at times.  The chapters would alternate from being from Carter’s point of view, to Sadie’s point of view, and back again for the whole book.  Sometimes things that the characters would do did not make sense because I thought that the other character was narrating.  Other than that, I thought the story was great.
One of the things  that I thought was really amazing about this book was the description of things.  The book describes everything so perfectly that I can imagine exactly what the book is describing, without having to make up any of it.  An example of this is on page 50, when Carter is describing the feeling of traveling through the Duat, or land of spirits and magic.  The book says, “You know that tingle in the pit of your stomach when you’re on a roller coaster and it goes into free fall?  It was kind of like that, except we weren’t falling, and the feeling didn’t go away.  The boat moved with astounding speed.  The lights of the city blurred, then we were swallowed by a thick fog.  Strange sounds echoed through the dark: slithering and hissing, distant screams, voices whispering in languages I don’t understand.”  this expertly describes the feelings, sights, and sounds that the characters noticed.
Another thing that I loved about this book was how much of it was based on fact.  You would think that in a book based on mythology, there would be a lot of things that were made up, but magic boxes, staffs, and boomerang-shaped wands (that’s the shape of them in the story) have all been dug out of the ground.  Also, The house of life, or per-ankh was also a real thing but no one knows if it is still real (probably not), and the spells that the ancient Egyptian magicians could supposedly cast were exactly as described in the book.  Also, all of the monuments that are mentioned in the story are real, except for set’s red pyramid.  The gods and goddesses and their roles are correct, too.
After seeing the great description and relation to true facts, we can clearly see what makes this book as great of a novel as it is.  So aside from the narration being a bit confusing, this book is definitely a worthwhile read for anyone.

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