The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Gosh, reading this was very strange. I’ve spoken on my blog about how much it felt like I’d read this before. And now that I’ve finished it, I can’t say that that feeling has dissipated at all.
The Red Pyramid is, to be blunt, Percy Jackson with Egyptian gods. I won’t fault Riordan on his use of mythology; strong, competent and solid. He weaves in a hell of a lot of stuff in there and it very rarely slips into dry didacticism. It’s also thrilling stuff. Myth and legend is exciting and crazy stuff and he shares the madness of it well. And because I’ve had some amazing moments with Riordan, you kind of believe that he’ll pay you off and give you a fun ride along the way. He’s got an excellent ability to instill faith in the reader; you go along for the ride because you very genuinely want to know what happens.
What I didn’t get on with was the shift in narrators. It’s a conceit which involves a shift between Carter and Sadie Kane every two chapters. Initially I was quite intrigued by this but the further I got into the book, the more I found the two voices were becoming very generic and similar. What I love about Percy Jackson is that you know him – you know him instantly through how he speaks and how he stands. It may be the fact that it’s the start of what I presume is a new series and Carter and Sadie still haven’t found their voices yet but I don’t have the intimate awareness of them yet that being a reader of the PJ series can provide.
I’ll check out the next Kane chronicles but I won’t do it with the same feverish excitement I had with the PJ shelves. Unfortunately this was just a little too standard adventure story for me. The Red Pyramid just never quite came together.
View all my reviews
I’m reading Rick Riordan’s “The Red Pyramid” at the moment, and it’s a very curious sensation. It feels sort of like I’ve read it before. And then I realised I sort of have read it before.
It’s a Percy Jackson novel. Effortlessly transposed, but it’s a Percy Jackson novel. Mythology. Gods. Worlds beyond worlds. Brave kids. “Absent” parents. And, as I’m sure you know, Rick Riordan (w)rote both series.
The weird thing is that with “The Red Pyramid” is that Riordan’s essentially written an echo of something he’s already done. I can’t describe it any other way. I’m about half way through and I expect a few more gods, plus a few more adventures, plus a few more wry side-cracks and side-kicks to pop up along the way. It’s a very specialist form of intertextuality. Like intra-inter-textuality. So narrow, but the tropes of both series (as far as I can tell so far) are pretty much the same. And sadly it’s proving quite an empty reading experience so far. All I can think of is how much I enjoyed it when I discovered the Percy Jackson novels. Right now, I’m incredibly diffident about reading any further.
I suppose issues like this throw up the old question of are there only seven basic plots in literature? Has every book essentially already been written? Are we merely re-treading boards that have already been trod before?
It’s taken me a while to get near a copy of this (sidebar : I love my university library at times) and finally I got my hot hands on a copy yesterday morning. And I’ve already finished it.
First word: Wow. Second word: Wow. Third word: Cor (aka. wow).
This book is brilliant. I genuinely loved it. I couldn’t put it down. I love Percy and I love the fact that his ADHD is a power. He’s an incredibly believable character whom you just root and will towards his goal. I love (gosh, how repetitive!) how the classic mythological references are woven in and reinvented for a modern generation. I was brought up on myths and legends. The richness in these stories is delicious and pack a fair punch in this story. Particularly love Mr D ..
Can’t wait to get my hands on the next one!