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This fun, if formulaic, start to the Kane Chronicles series opens with a signature Riordan move: an explosion. Siblings Carter and Sadie have been living apart since their mother's mysterious death. On Christmas Eve, archeologist Julius Kane and son Carter, 14, show up in England for one of their two days a year with Sadie. Julius ushers his children to the British Museum, where he blows up the Rosetta Stone, unleashing five Egyptian gods and causing his own disappearance. The kids' Uncle Amos whisks them to a Brooklyn mansion, where he reveals that the Kanes descend from powerful Egyptian magicians. Swap Egyptian mythology for Percy Jackson's Greek gods and you've got the best part of this-an ancient history lesson seamlessly unfurled in a rip-roaring adventure. Told in alternating chapters by Carter and Sadie, the novel begins with a warning that the book is a "transcript of a digital recording," a distracting gimmick, and the attempts to make Sadie sound English by dropping in British slang are intermittent. Despite those flaws, Riordan delivers another funny yarn with kids in the lead and animal sidekicks that nearly steal the show. Ages 9-12. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
*Starred Review* Since their mother's death, six years ago, 12-year-old Sadie Kane has lived in London with her maternal grandparents while her older brother, 14-year-old Carter, has traveled the world with their father, a renowned African American Egyptologist. In London on Christmas Eve for a rare evening together, Carter and Sadie accompany their dad to the British Museum, where he blows up the Rosetta Stone in summoning an Egyptian god. Unleashed, the vengeful god overpowers and entombs him, but Sadie and Carter escape. Initially determined to rescue their father, their mission expands to include understanding their hidden magical powers as the descendants of the pharaohs and taking on the ancient forces bent on destroying mankind. The first-person narrative shifts between Carter and Sadie, giving the novel an intriguing dual perspective made more complex by their biracial heritage and the tension between the siblings, who barely know each other at the story's beginning. The first volume in the Kane Chronicles, this fantasy adventure delivers what fans loved about the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series: young protagonists with previously unsuspected magical powers, a riveting story marked by headlong adventure, a complex background rooted in ancient mythology, and wry, witty twenty-first-century narration. The last pages contain a clever twist that will leave readers secretly longing to open their lockers at the start of school.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2010 Booklist
School Library Journal
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Gr 4-9-Riordan takes the elements that made the "Percy Jackson" books (Hyperion) so popular and ratchets them up a notch. Carter, 14, and Sadie, 12, have grown up apart. He has traveled all over the world with his Egyptologist father, Dr. Julius Kane, while Sadie has lived in London with her grandparents. Their mother passed away under mysterious circumstances, so when their father arrives in London and wants to take them both on a private tour of the British Museum, all is not necessarily what it seems. The evening ends with the apparent destruction of the Rosetta Stone, the disappearance of Dr. Kane, and the kidnapping of Carter and Sadie. More insidiously, it leads to the release of five Egyptian gods, including Set, who is their mortal enemy. Carter and Sadie discover the secrets of their family heritage and their ability to work magic as they realize that their task will be to save humanity from Set, who is building a destructive red pyramid inside Camelback Mountain in Phoenix. The text is presented as the transcript of an audio recording done by both children. Riordan creates two distinct and realistic voices for the siblings. He has a winning formula, but this book goes beyond the formulaic to present a truly original take on Egyptian mythology. His trademark humor is here in abundance, and there are numerous passages that will cause readers to double over with laughter. The humor never takes away from the story or from the overall tone. A must-have book, and in multiple copies.-Tim Wadham, St. Louis County Library, MO (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.