Review: The Kane Chronicles Surivival Guide

April 26th, 2012 by

Aphosis. Horus. Isis. Anubis. Set. Zia. Muffin. Ra. There are so many people and gods and half-cat-humans in The Kane Chronicles series… how can one keep up?!

Well, lucky for us, Rick Riordan has released The Kane Chronicles Surivival Guide — an all-inclusive guide on the Kanes, their friends, their enemies, and their frenemies. In addition to descriptions of the Kane family, there are also explanations of how each god and goddess came to be. I love reading about Sadie’s crush on Anubis in the series, but it’s nice to have an encyclopedia of information about Anubis all in one place… for instance, here’s a little excerpt:

“Anubis is the son of Nephthys and Osiris. He helped to preserve Osiris’s body after Set had killed him, and helped Osiris live again. This process created the first mummy and led to the practice of embalming, so it’s no surprise that Anubis is also known as the god of embalming and mummificiation.”

Oh, but back to Sadie’s crush on Anubis? Apparently he is kind of cute:

Is it just me, or does he look a wee bit like Percy Jackson?

I felt short, but that's nothing new.

Cute guys aside, my favorite section of the guide is Section Eight: Guide to Magical Places, which is now basically a checklist of “Places Nancy Wants to Visit.” I’ve already seen Cleopatra’s Needle in NYC, so that’s one down, about 30 more to go.

In Section Four: Heiroglyphs, Symbols and Commands, there’s an easy-to-follow guide on reading heirogylphs (for those of us who lack Sadie’s natural gift for reading ancient Egyptian languages). If only I’d had the guide when I visited Cleopatra’s Needle…

I also got a chance to review the interactive digital versions of the guide (there’s one for the NOOK and another for the iPad). There are a bunch more features, like audio interviews with Sadie and Carter, interactive quizzes, and animations. (You haven’t really seen the brooding Anubis unless you’ve seen him actually lit by moonlight with stirring storm clouds behind him).

Full disclosure: I work on NOOK digital books, but I’m not pressuring you to get this one! There are cool interactive elements like what I just described, but if you pick up the physical version, you get to put together the pyramid trading card:

Left: Pieces of the pyramid. Right, top: One side, combined. Right, bottom: The flip side of the combined pieces -- with the Egyptian gods!

Finished Product! A little creepy knowing their godly incarnations are hidden inside...

Also in the physical version: a very cool cover with a lenticular — where the image changes when you hold the book cover a certain way:

My only irk about the Survival Guide is… well… there aren’t that many survival tips. Like, uh, what happens when I actually encounter Aphosis or Desjardins? Obviously I would whip out my Kane Chronicles Survival Guide in this very-realistic-totally-would-happen-tomorrow scenario… and be able to inform my enemy all about the process of mummifying pets in ancient Egypt.

— Nancy

Nancy didn’t realize that Rick Riordan also released The Percy Jackson and the Olympians Ultimate Guide until she was doing research on the Kane Chronicles Survival Guide. Rick Riordan is truly a curse on her bank account (but a blessing on her bookshelf).

The Throne of Fire (Kane Chronicles Book 2)

May 15th, 2011 by

I saw posters for it in bookstores, and notifications on websites. There were announcements on blogs, and trailers before movies. I was told that the hottest thing thing to read right now is Rick Riordan’s Throne of Fire (Book Two of The Kane Chronicles)… and everyone and everything was right!

Picking up the book several months after The Red Pyramid was a breeze — if the breeze were a giant gust of wind that causes tsunami-sized waves of action. To give you an idea: the first chapter is titled, “Fun with Spontaneous Combustion,” and it’s immediately followed by Chapter Two: “We Tame a Seven-Thousand-Pound Hummingbird.”

There are also new characters that immediately intrigued me — the book is still narrated by Carter and Sadie Kane (underage Egyptian magicians who were once possessed by reawakened Egyptian gods Horus and Isis), but we’re now introduced to Bes, a dwarf god, and Walt and Jaz, who are Carter and Sadie’s new trainees. That’s right — Carter and Sadie are training other teenagers of Egyptian magician descent to practice ancient magic. Definitely not a run-of-the-mill teenager story! (Unless you count Sadie’s crush on Walt and Anubis, a 5000-year old god of death… actually, nope, definitely not run-of-the-mill!)

This time around, Carter and Sadie have to find a way to reawaken Ra, the sun god, so that he can battle Apophis, the god of chaos. Apophis is breaking free of the cage that Ra put him in many, many centuries ago. Just a few of the problems Carter and Sadie encounter: an evil Russian magician with horrifically scarred eyes who dresses like an ice cream man (yes, an ice cream man), who wants Apophis to take over. Sadie’s grandparents being possessed by a giant baboon and a vulture. And the possibility that Ra is actually a creaky, tired god who would have preferred to be left in retirement.

Have I said too much? I hope not. Because everything I’ve mentioned is only about the FIRST HALF of the book. So pick it up already, and join the adventure!

— Nancy

To be honest, if Nancy were to choose a book to “live” in, she wouldn’t pick The Kane Chronicles. As cute as Anubis sounds, giant snakes are just too scary.

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