by Rick Riordan
Hyperion, 2010. 514 pgs. Fiction.
Carter and Sadie Kane's adventures with Egyptian gods, goddesses, and magicians employs the same formula as his wildly engaging and successful Percy Jackson series, and what a terrific recipe it is. Carter has spent most of his young life traveling with his archaeologist father, while his younger sister Sadie lives with their grandparents in London. When their father takes the two children together for a private tour of the British Museum, locks the curator in his office, and starts chanting over the Rosetta Stone, all Perdition and a fiery god-like character with lots of attitude break loose. Julius Kane is imprisoned in a golden coffin, and Carter and Sadie are rescued from the police by their Uncle Amos who whisks them away in a magic Egyptian boat to his mansion in Brooklyn (as opposed to Manhattan where other forces are at work). A breakneck series of adventures follow as brother and sister make their way to Phoenix to try to redeem their father and, coincidentally, save the world. Along the way they ride a Mississippi riverboat to the Underworld, battle nearly to the death with Godzilla-sized crocodiles, become unwilling hosts to the spirits of Horus and Isis, and hang out with a basketball-playing baboon in a Lakers' jersey (some justice and comfort in that image, eh?). Carter and Sadie take turns narrating their adventures on a digital recording which the author "transcribes," and the action and wisecracks pile up like chili peppers in a salsa factory (this is neither a strained metaphor nor a random reference, as you will see in Chapter 33). Along the way, Riordan's delighted readers will inhale a Great Pyramid-full of information on Egyptian mythology and a lovely side-effect of his popularity with young readers is that they often Want to Know More. Kids are going to eat this up with a pitchfork, or a crook and flail, as the case may be.