« Search again     |     Back to AfricaAccessReview.org
The Red Pyramid : The Graphic Novel
Riordan, Rick ; Orpheus Collar (illus.) The Red Pyramid : The Graphic Novel. : Hyperion / Disney, 2012. $21.99, .

Note: "Adapted from the novel The Kane Chronicles, Book One: The Red Pyramid"--Colophon. A graphic novel adaptation of "The Red Pyramid" in which brilliant Egyptologist Dr. Julius Kane accidentally unleashes the Egyptian god Set, who banishes the doctor to oblivion and forces his two children to embark on a dangerous journey, bringing them closer to the truth about their family and its links to a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs.


The Kane Chronicles, Book One: The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan has been adapted into a graphic novel by the storyboard artist and illustrator Orpheus Collar. Based on the original book this is a graphic novel version of the full text version and as such concentrates on both the images and text of the story with slightly more emphasis on the images as is to be expected with graphic books.

The Red Pyramid is the story of a brilliant Egyptologist, Dr. Julius Kane. Dr. Julius accidentally unleashes the Egyptian god Set who angrily banishes the doctor into oblivion and forces both his children to undertake a dangerous journey, one that will reveal to them the hidden truth about their family and links that it has to a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs.

Opening six years in the past, at Cleopatra's Needle in London we meet Ruby and Julius and are thrown directly into the action, reading and seeing that the pair have some links with ancient Egypt -- notice the figure in Ruby's hand -- and that they have some special, awesome powers that are about to be unleashed...

As the story continues, readers will be torn between reading the text, the pictures or both together! There are the usual speech bubbles for the character's speech as well as the boxes with text that set the scene, then there are the pictures that add plenty of additional detail and really bring the story to life.

To read this book the reader needs to ensure that they are not a purist about language and staying exactly truthful to the original, whilst the story has not changed the language has in order to situate the story as a graphic novel  a format which is very different from the traditional novel. The language is perhaps more realized, there is a great amount of conversation, it is more direct and the action is certainly fast-paced. It is no mean feat to adapt a novel of any genre into a graphic novel and to do so whilst retaining the excitement of the original is what Orpheus Collar has done in The Red Pyramid. The balance of prose, speech and image is stunning, it works seamlessly to deliver a story with action, adventure, history and more besides. Anyone who thinks that graphic novels are an easy read will be surprised at the complexity of this story and how much there is to take in on each and every page. Keep your eyes open as you read this story for you never know what will be coming in the next box, strip, or page!

The Red Pyramid is a must read for fans of Rick Riordan who want to see the story from a different angle. It is a must read for graphic novel fans and it is a must read for anyone whose opinion about the importance of books in this format needs to be altered. An important book for readers of all levels, an exciting book, an excellent book.

Published in Africa Access Review (September 12, 2013)

Copyright 2013 Africa Access

Rating: HR Grade: E / M Type: Book

Reviewed by: Louise Ellis-Barrett

Subject: North Africa / Egypt / Fiction