I’ve been thinking long and hard about how I really felt about this book. I ended up giving it four stars on GoodReads because I felt the ending redeemed the book. A week later, I cannot tell you what about the ending I loved so much.
First, I have one particularly big problem with this book: it’s too long. Too much going on, too much drawn out. Riordan has officially caught Rowling disease; at least a hundred pages were unnecessary, if not more. If some things had been simplified, I think the story would have been better and eased the read.
There were some strange characterization problems here for me. We have Sadie and Carter, siblings who don’t really know each other that well. Carter has spent his life traveling the world with their archeologically inclined dad; Sadie has grown up in a London suburb with their grandparents. They are forced together when they dad breaks open the Rosetta Stone and releases the most powerful of the Egyptian gods, leaving them to save him from imprisonment while saving the world from the chaos Set wants to create. Carter is the older sibling, yet Sadie acts it. Sadie has been raised British, but I had to be reminded of that because it wasn’t inherent in her character. They alternated telling the story from the first person (as if talking into a recorder) and I found myself not particularly caring who was talking when.
Part of the charm of this book was its use of the Egyptian gods. However, part of the frustration of this book was also the use of the Egyptian gods. Egyptian mythology is complicated, and changed from dynasty to dynasty, sometimes just to suit what the Pharaoh wanted. Riordan wanted to demonstrate that aspect of the mythology here, but it just overcomplicated. Gods needed to be explained more, since they aren’t as well known as the Greek and Roman gods over on the Camp Half-blood side. The best of the gods were Bast and Anubis, both of whom I hope will get more air time in the second book. Anubis especially.
Overall, if you’re looking for a playful take on modernized mythology, read the Percy Jackson books. This book wasn’t bad, and had its moments, but it lacks the same charm that makes Percy Jackson so likable. If you’re interested in the Egyptian mythology, you might want to give it a try. Otherwise read the superior series. Maybe Throne of Fire will change my mind.
Rating: 3 stars