Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Serpent's Shadow by Rick Riordan (Kane Chronicles book 3)

As a kid I would watch The Carol Burnett show and loved the skits by comedians Tim Conway and Harvey Korman. Conway was so funny that Korman would forget his lines and  laugh until he was gasping for air. They stole the show. I would sit with my parents bouncing on the couch anticipating their upcoming skits. Obviously they were having a blast and the humor was infectious. Riordan writes like he's having a blast, shooting off jokes, word puns and banter like a circus ringmaster. I can't wait to meet the gods he dreams up in his books. They are cartoonish and entertaining. Take the god of air, Shu. Sadie calls him "shoe" and "trash tornado" because he's surrounded by debris. As he scolds Sadie he puffs on an inhaler complaining, "'Brooklyn ozone levels - deplorable!"

Sadie and Carter are saving the world from Apophis, the god of Chaos, who wants to destroy all humans so he can roam the earth freely versus his current condition where the gods have restrained him. The story picks up where book 2 left off with Sadie, Carter, Khufu, Felix, Walt, and Alyssa trying to get the last scroll from the Dallas Museum of Art that holds the clue to stopping Apophis. When a battle between the Kane group and Apophis occurs at the King Tut exhibit, the Kanes find themselves on the losing side with no scroll and a gold box. With the help of Thoth, the god of Knowledge, they discover the box holds the key to destroying Apophis. However, there are so many obstacles to overcome the task seems impossible. Not only is Apophis out to get them but a group of magicians have assassins after them and they have to rely on a traitorous ghost to help them on their quest.

As always, Riordan has tons of action with battles and monsters galore. Egyptian mythology is more complex than Greek mythology and less familiar so this story might be harder for young readers to follow. Riordan does use repetition, provides a glossary in the back, and uses mnemonic devices to aid the reader. The females are strong characters and Sadie isn't going to take flack from anyone. There is more romance in this book and the characters think quite a bit about the people they are interested in. I think that this, coupled with the more complex mythology, makes the book more for middle grade students, although the reading level is beginning grade 5. Carter is interested in Zia and Sadie is interested in Walt and Anubis. I found this part of the plot predictable. I usually can't predict Riordan's plots, but I could with the romance storyline.

I didn't think there was as much internal changes in the characters as in book one and two. Sadie struggles with not letting Isis control her but that was covered in the previous books. She also tries to be "normal" and go to school. Carter is a reluctant leader. Most of the internal changes is Sadie and Carter thinking about the two people they want to be romantically involved with. Sadie has to find acceptance and Carter doesn't seem to know if Zia likes him as much as he likes her. This is the last in the trilogy but Riordan hints at the possibility of continuing it in the ending. Make sure you have a bundle of time when you read this book - it's a rip-roaring yarn that is hard to put down.

Reading Level 4.9
4 out of 5 Smileys

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