Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Sadie Sasses in The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

OK Junkies, so I'm gonna let you in on a secret.  I love the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.  I know, I know, it's about a boy, but there are some tough chicks, and I'm a total sucker for both Greek mythology and the hero's journey archetype.  Don't worry, I won't blab about The Lightning Thief, other than to say, read it.

But I was pretty excited when my dad sent me Rick Riordan's The Red Pyramid.  Now, I don't know my Egyptian history like I know my Greek stuff, but my History-Channel-watching-hubby was happy to fill me in on tid-bits, like Khufu, the baboon, was named after a pharoah.

The Red Pyramid is doubly cool, because instead of one young hero, we get two.  Carter and Sadie Kane are brother and sister who have only seen each other once a year since their mom died six years ago.  Carter travels the world with his dad, Julius, an archaeologist/Egyptologist.  Sadie lives with their maternal grandparents in London.

At least, those are their living arrangements until their dad blows up the Rosetta Stone on Christmas Eve, releasing 5 Egyptian gods, imprisoning himself in a sarcophagus along with the spirit of Osiris, and leaving Carter and Sadie to save the world.

Carter and Sadie alternate telling the story from their perspective.  Although Carter is older and he starts and ends the novel, Sadie is the actual hero.  Sadie is the tough, brave one who sees past the adults' BS.

Carter has the knowledge of the Egypt stuff and arguably more to lose, because he's so close to the now-imprisoned dad, but Sadie follows more of the archetypal hero's arc.

Sadie's past and parentage are mysterious.  She has a mentor who teaches her how to use her power and is then killed.  And ultimately, Carter learns how to swing a sword, but it's Sadie who has all the real power.  In the end, Sadie must make all the difficult choices, and Sadie must determine the fate of the world and break a dangerous cycle.

Sadie feels abandoned by and resentment towards her absent parents, but she must move past that to tap her inner strength and save the world.  Sadie is the hero of this story, because it is Sadie who sacrifices so much to make the right decisions.

Like Riordan's other books, The Red Pyramid is a story about the battle of good and evil.  But what I love about this book is that the lines between the two sides aren't always clear.

The Red Pyramid is a long-ass middle grade book, but the story is worth every page.  I will definitely be reading the next installment of the Kane Chronicles.

Oh, and Junkies, P.S.:
This is my official entry into The People of Color Reading Challenge.  I'm going to say I'll go for level 2 and read at least 5 books this year about or by people of color, but I really hope to do more.

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