I’ve finished Rick Riordan’s newest book, The Red Pyramid, which uses Egyptian mythology in much the same way as his extremely popular Percy Jackson series used Greek mythology. It’s a big book, both in publishing terms and in page count. Here’s what I have to say about it: Eh.
I really enjoyed the Percy Jackson books. And there was a lot that I liked about this one. Riorden managed to use his formula in a new way. The Greek gods had half-mortal children in Greek mythology, but not the Egyptian gods, so Riordan cleverly changes his concept to talk about possession by the gods instead. In some ways, I think the story is better integrated into the mythological world of the Egyptians than the Percy Jackson books. It unfolds well at the beginning so that I was immediately hooked by the mystery. Also, it doesn’t hurt my opinion at all that one of the main characters, Carter, is homeschooled.
However, somewhere around page 300, I realized that what should have been a fun bit of brain candy had become something I was slogging through. Even a trip to Graceland (and I adore Graceland) or the Land of the Dead didn’t help the feeling that the book was just one thing after another in the middle, without a strong enough sense of building action. Where are the editors these days to tell authors to cut these things down a little? As well, the two characters’ voices weren’t strongly differentiated. We’re told the ways in which they’re different, but I never felt it reading their different sections. They had the exact same snarky, humorous attitude as Percy Jackson, which made me feel a little like Riordan is a bit of a one note author. Sadie Kane was an especially difficult narrator for me to believe. The feminine voice just wasn’t there for me.
By the end, the book came back around and the action became exciting again. I liked the ending enough that I may read the sequel, at least assuming the page count doesn’t multiply too much. However, I’m disappointed. I thought this one would be fun.