Author: Rick Riordan, author of the enormously popular Percy Jackson and the Olympians series and The Heroes of Olympus series. In addition, Riordan wrote the story arc for The 39 Clues series, as well as the first book, The Maze of Bones. Riordan is also the author of the award-winning Tres Navarre mystery series for adults.
With extensive experience as a middle school teacher, Riordan captures the "voice" of middle schoolers, both male and female. He also knows what they want: books full of fantasy and adventure, conflict and intrigue that also teach them something, whether it's mythology or getting along with others.
Main Characters: Carter Kane is 14 and his sister, Sadie, is 12. After their mother died, Sadie went to live with their mother’s parents in London and Carter has been living with their father, Dr. Julius Kane, traveling around the world with the brilliant Egyptologist. Carter and Sadie’s father is African American and their mother is white. Carter looks like his father and is subject to prejudice that his sister, who looks like their mother, hasn’t experienced. When the brother and sister are together, their differing looks attract unwelcome attention.
After living apart for several years, the siblings are very jealous of one another. Carter envies Sadie’s living in one place and having a “normal” life; Sadie resents Carter’s getting to stay with their father and travel. Their personalities are also very different, and Sadie's resentment, gives her quite an attitude. All of these issues influence the sibling’s responses and their ability to work together, particularly at first, as they deal with their father’s disappearance and angry gods.
Story: Dr. Julius Kane, who blames himself for his wife's death, vows to make things right. One night several years after her death, after picking up Sadie, Dr. Kane takes Carter and Sadie to the British Museum where he hopes for a successful "research experiment."
Instead, there's a disaster. The Egyptian god Set is set loose, Dr. Kane disappears and Carter and Sadie are on their own. Thus begins a dangerous journey as the siblings seek to get away from Set and the other Egyptian gods and find out what happened to their father.
Like his Percy Jackson series, much of the action has its roots in mythology but in this case, it’s not Greek mythology but Egyptian mythology, much of which middle school readers may be unfamiliar with. The series works on two levels: as the story of siblings getting to know and appreciate one another and as a story full of fantasy, adventure, mystery and conflict. The action is fast-paced and, at times, confusing. However, the reader’s confusion is matched by Carter and Sadie’s and it’s a roller coaster ride full of drama as readers and characters alike cope with the break-neck speed of the action. Categories: Adventure, fantasy, Egyptian mythology, families/siblings
Length of Books: 464-528 pages
Recommended for: Ages 10-15, grades 5-9; some younger readers with a particular interest in Egyptian mythology
Available Formats: Hardcover, large print paperback (publisher: Gale Group) and downloadable e-book applications, plus audio versions
Books in The Kane Chronicles Series:
The Red Pyramid (The Kane Chronicles, Book One)
Hardcover: 528 pages (Disney-Hyperion, 2010. ISBN: 9781423113386) Compare prices.
The Throne of Fire (The Kane Chronicles, Book 2)
Hardcover: 464 pages (Disney-Hyperion, 2011. ISBN: 9781423140566) Compare prices.
The Serpent's Shadow (The Kane Chronicles, Book 3)
Hardcover: 416 pages (Disney-Hyperion, 2012. ISBN: 9781423140573) Compare prices.