I was in the library yesterday, getting a book my husband wanted to read, The Lightning Thief (on which last year’s movie was based). I wasn’t planning on reading it myself – the idea of a boy discovering he was a demigod just didn’t appeal to me. I liked reading the myths about the gods of Olympus when I was in fourth and fifth grade, but they don’t interest me much now.
I wasn’t planning on getting a book for myself to read at all. (I have more than enough unread books here in the house.) But as I walked down the stacks, squinting in the dim light as I tried to make out authors’ names on the spines of books, one called The Red Pyramid caught my attention. It just happened to be by Rick Riordan, same as The Lightning Thief. It had to do with Egyptian mythology rather than Greek mythology. Why not, I thought – maybe I’ll like his writing and decide to read both.
Well, I do like it, enough that I already finished The Red Pyramid. Like the Percy Jackson books (the series starting with The Lightning Thief), it takes characters and themes from ancient mythology and puts them in a modern setting. It is fast-paced, full of memorable characters, humor, chase scenes and fight scenes, unusual uses of magic, and plain old human joys and sorrows.
There are powerful magicians, who may or may not be on the same side as the children at the center of the story. Sadie’s and Carter’s mother died six years ago under mysterious circumstances. Their father has now vanished – right before their eyes, in a blaze of magic. There are Egyptians gods loose in the world – though these are more like elemental forces of nature, and even they have limits to their powers.
It’s about the conflict between order and chaos. It’s also about family, trust, loyalty, and sacrifice. And it’s about two ordinary kids who turn out not to be so ordinary after all.
I’m looking forward to the next book in the series, which is coming out in May. And I think I just might read The Lightning Thief after all.