BOOK REVIEW: Rick Riordan “The Red Pyramid”

51iXg+CcMcLTitle: The Red Pyramid

Author: Rick Riordan

Genre: Fantasy/Mythology

My Rating: 3/5 stars

 

Carter and Sadie are siblings, but you wouldn’t know it. They don’t look or speak alike, and they hardly even know each other. In fact, for the past several years, they haven’t even lived with each other. Carter travels with his father, the famous Egyptologist Julius Kane, and Sadie lives in London with their grandparents. It’s a system that’s been in place since their mother died.

When Julius Kane releases some Egyptian gods by accident and is banished, Carter and Sadie must learn to band together and save him. While setting out on their quest, they learn things about themselves, each other, and the Kane family that causes them to pause and question everything that’s ever happened in their lives. They’re thrust into a world of magic and monsters with little knowledge or training and one goal: saving their father.

My thoughts:

Percy Jackson is one of my favorite characters, and his are some of my favorite books. He’s a timeless character that I think anyone of any age can relate to, so even though I no longer read other middle grade books, I would reread Percy Jackson & the Olympians in a heartbeat because it’s so near and dear to my heart.

So maybe I just waited too long to read the Kane Chronicles, but I’m just not as eager to jump into this world. I felt that The Red Pyramid was too long and I struggled to understand the mythology and the magic. The thing that Percy Jackson had going for it is that many people are already at least partly familiar with Greek mythology. Egyptian mythology, not so much.

It was incredibly interesting, don’t get me wrong. You’ve never met a bigger fan of archeology and the discovery of new and mysterious things than me. I love reading about and seeing pictures of old tombs uncovered and information come to light. It was just hard to grasp all the magical concepts and to be honest, I was kind of bored for the entire book. A book about Egyptian mythology and all the other cool stuff included here shouldn’t bore me, but there I was, struggling to turn every page, wishing for it to be over already.

I didn’t hate everything about this, obviously. It’s a Rick Riordan book, of course I’m here for the silly, corny humor. If you can’t handle the cheese, stay away. The books are full of short quips, teasing, stupid jokes, etc. Many reviews I’ve read have mentioned this and considered it a negative, but I think they forget that these books are geared toward 12 year olds. Come on, it has to include jokes about poop and other childish things. And honestly, the kid in me finds enjoyment in the banter between the siblings.

The relationship between Carter and Sadie started off rocky, as to be expected, but I love the way that it develops and they grow closer. It’s very sweet, and it makes me want to call up my own little brother and tell him what a butt he is. Lovingly, of course.

The sequel, The Throne of Fire, is also on my TBR for this month, but I dread picking it up. I hope that it improves on the mistakes that The Red Pyramid made and that I enjoy it much more, but let’s say my expectations are low. I’ll stick around for more corny jokes and the sibling love, but I’m hoping that Riordan comes through and delivers a better sequel.

 

Rick Riordan: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

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GROWING PAINS BOOKLIST: Devyn Guerra

About two years ago, I worked briefly with a music company where I wrote single, album, and music video reviews, and occasionally other fun articles. One such article was called “Growing Pains Playlist”, where I noted some songs and artists that truly shaped me and made me who I am. It was a really introspective article and allowed me to really look back and examine the music that formed me.

A few days ago, I saw someone write an article about the books that had shaped them, and it made me think of the Growing Pains Playlist that I wrote a few years back. I suddenly felt inspired to write one of my own here, and I hope that you all might do the same if you haven’t already!

1.) The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner

I owe this series for stoking my love for reading at such a young age. My first grade teacher read this book to our class, and I remember being so invested in the lives of Henry, Jessie, Violet and Benny. Seeing how smart and resourceful they were in the eve of their parent’s deaths really inspired me as a child, and I longed for a boxcar of my own to live and cook and sleep and hide away in. I read these books well into my middle school years, and even though I don’t read them anymore, my love and admiration for these mystery-solving kids has never died.

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2.) Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

In 2009, I watched the Inkheart film and fell in love. Watching the movie caused me to want to read the book, which I loved even more. For about three years, Inkheart was my favorite book, sporting a beautiful fantastical world, likable, interesting characters and two more books full of the same. It was such an enjoyable series, and it was possibly my first time reading something besides children’s and middle grade novels. This book was sort of my graduation into YA, which makes it so much more important to me.

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3.) Percy Jackson & the Olympians by Rick Riordan

These books are so much fun, and certainly¬†not meant for just middle grade readers. Percy Jackson can be enjoyed by all ages in my opinion, with it’s lovable, hilarious characters, action-packed plot, and even some learning moments, teaching about Greek mythology and giving it an interesting twist. I consider Percy Jackson to be a hallmark of my middle school reading days, which is why these books earn a place in my Growing Pains Booklist.

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4.) Christy Miller series by Robin Jones Gunn

This series came at a perfect time in my life. I was about 13-14, going through puberty and struggling in my faith in God. The Christy Miller series is about a girl much like many other teenage girls. She faces the same problems with boys, school, family, etc, but the series also has a special focus on Christianity and faith, and it’s always been such an encouraging and inspiring read for me. I’ve never related to a character like I have with dear Christy Miller, and I almost feel as if I’ve grown up with her: she was in high school while I was, making decisions about life after graduation when I was, and she was getting married around the same time as myself. Robin Jones Gunn is still releasing Christy Miller books, her most recent about Christy and her husband’s struggles with pregnancy and children. These books have had a huge impact on my life and I’m thankful for each new adventure I get to experience with Christy.

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5.) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

This is my favorite book of all time. I have loved this book with all my heart ever since I read it in my freshman year of high school. I care for the characters in this story like they’re my own family; a book has never moved me in the same way that this one has. In fact, this is the first book I ever read to make me feel such intense feelings. I can’t speak highly enough about this book, and every time I read it, I feel like it makes me a more insightful, fuller person.

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6.) Divergent by Veronica Roth

This may come as a surprise to you. Divergent isn’t particularly profound or moving, although I must say that Tris is incredibly inspiring as a woman and just as a person in general: so good and pure and beautiful. However, the reason this book makes it onto this particular booklist is because it spurred on my love for reading when I was stuck reading the same things over and over. There’s not necessarily anything wrong with this; rereading beloved books is no problem. However, I was in some sort of loop for about 3 years where I wasn’t reading anything except the same 10 books on my shelves. A friend recommended Divergent to me, and I bought it on a whim. I have never read a book the way I devoured that one. I stayed up all night, eyes wide with surprise and intrigue and suspense. At the time, this book was one of my favorites, and it began my unhealthy book-buying habit which I am still trying to break to this day. Now, there are definitely things that I find problematic about this story and the logistics of it, but I still have nothing but admiration and adoration for Tris, one of my favorite female characters of all time. (PS – I will never forgive Veronica Roth for Allegiant. That is all.)

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This concludes my Growing Pains Booklist! Let me know what you think in the comments: whether you share any of my childhood favorites or if any of these titles were important to you and your personal growth. Message or email me if you’d like to be featured on my blog with your own Growing Pains Booklist. Mahalo!