The Throne of Fire
The Throne of Fire.
New York, NY: Hyperion Books for Children, 2011. $18.99,
ISBN 9781423140566 / 1423140567.
Note: In this second installment of the three-book series, Carter and Sadie, offspring of the brilliant Egyptologist Dr. Julius Kane, embark on a worldwide search for the Book of Ra, but the House of Life and the gods of chaos are determined to stop them.
In this the second part of his Kane Chronicles, Riordan continues the adventures of the brother and sister team of Carter and Sadie Kane in their quest to become magician/adepts in the House of Life. Having survived the initial trials in the first installment, Carter and Sadie establish a school to gather other young budding magicians/adepts for proper training in the ancient Egyptian ways. Harkening back to their ancient African roots, the pair gather together and take charge of a group of precocious but determined students.
To assist in their mission of resurrecting the sun god Ra and getting him to resume sailing in his solar bark, Carter and Sadie must confront a series of new trials. The first is retrieving an object from the Brooklyn Museum. This does cause a bit of a fuss and results in parts of the museum being damaged in an ensuing fire (used as cover for their escape). Carter and Sadie are not alone in their adventures. We meet and become endeared to the god Bes, the dwarf god, who saves them from a group of demons on a London bridge while wearing only a Speedo swim suit. Besides bringing a smile to my face, the scene captures some of the good and not so good in this volume.
Riordan is to be commended for his understanding of the nuances of ancient Egyptian religion and his ability to use this knowledge to create a reasonably believable modern story line. Thus Bes wearing a Speedo is a most amusing depiction, but the frequent action scenes in major metropolitan cities such as London, New York and St. Petersburg do stretch ones believability quotient. On the one hand Riordan creatively shows how the Egyptian gods and goddesses and their priests have gone underground throughout the world, and that is a positive factor for the intended audience. On the other, the manner in which he writes his novels plays too much along the line of I have a series and in each I will give X amount of action. These first two books are good, but do not have a literary position beyond the series and thus fall short as individual pieces of literature. However now that I have read the first two novels of the Kane series, I do wish to find out what happens after Ra does now resume sailing across the firmament each day in his solar bark and will Seth be brought back into his proper place as the beacon at the front of the solar bark.
Published in Africa Access Review (June 5, 2012)
Copyright 2012 Africa Access
||Grade: E / M
Reviewed by: Eugene Cruz-Uribe, Professor of Global History California State University - Monterey Bay
Subject: North Africa / Egypt / Fiction