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 Serpent’s Shadow (Kane Chronicles Book 3) – Cover Release!

January 15th, 2012 by

What better way to ring in the New Year than to scrutinize the latest and final book cover of Rick Riordan’s Kane Chronicles series, for The Serpent’s Shadow? Check out the beautiful, newly released cover by illustrator John Rocco:

(Click to see the cover larger, so you can study each pixel individually!)

Based on previous posts, you know the drill. I’ll put out my guesses about the final installment, and you should leave YOUR thoughts on the cover in the comments below!

First, an official description of the book from the Kane Chronicles website:

He’s b-a-a-ack! Despite their best efforts, Carter and Sade Kane can’t seem to keep Apophis, the chaos snake, down. Now Apophis is threatening to plunge the world into eternal darkness, and the Kanes are faced with the impossible task of having to destroy him once and for all. Unfortunately, the magicians of the House of Life are on the brink of civil war, the gods are divided, and the young initiates of Brooklyn House stand almost alone against the forces of chaos.

Whoa. That is quite a lot to digest from one paragraph! Let me collect my thoughts…

  • First, I just love the color scheme of the whole series: It goes from dark rust red, to bright purple, to brilliant blue. It reminds me of different types of flames.
  • Apparently Rick Riordan himself claims that this is his favorite cover yet.
  • Carter stands on the left, ready to use the Crook and Flail of Ra, the weapon he used after he lost his khopesh.
  • So then that’s probably Sadie standing on the ledge, but I can’t really make out if she’s doing anything — is she ready to jump in or holding on for dear life?
  • What is this body of water Carter and Sadie are standing in front of? Does it look like to anyone else that the rocks and boulders are creating a path across the water?
  • A spiky serpent shadow (presumably the super duper evil Aphosis, God of Chaos) looms ominously in the distance.
  • Floating above and around the obelisk (is it the Washington Monument in D.C., or a different one?) are white birds, which look comforting to me for some reason. Perhaps some combat avatars? They don’t look like Carter’s falcon form…
  • I can’t make out any of the symbols on the obelisk, so I’m guessing they’re intentionally drawn to be vague.
  • Hey, what’s that shape above the obelisk? Let me take a closer — OMG IT’S A REALLY CREEPY GIANT EYE STARING RIGHT AT ME. Okay, it’s probably staring at Carter and Sadie. But still, really creepy.

So, Kidsmomo readers, what do you think of the newest (and sadly, last*) cover for The Kane Chronicles? I can’t wait to follow Carter and Sadie’s adventures once more on May 1, when The Serpent’s Shadow comes out!

Meanwhile, you can keep busy until then by reading a preview of The Serpent’s Shadow from the official website, maybe a couple (hundred) times…

— Nancy

As you can tell, Nancy is not a fan of creepy giant eyes.

More about Nancy »

 

 

*Unless Rick Riordan writes another book/series with Kane Chronicles characters. He IS a writing machine, after all!

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.

Meet Nancy »

The Throne of Fire (Kane Chronicles #2) Book Cover Released!

January 16th, 2011 by

Thank the gods, the world now has a sneak preview of The Throne of Fire (Book 2 of Rick Riordan’s The Kane Chronicles)! The first chapter has been released, along with the cover!

As you might have guessed from my obsessive — I mean, thorough coverage of the cover for The Red Pyramid when it was first released, and from my recommendation of the book in Kidsmomo theme Globe-Trotting Adventures, I really like this series so far.

As you’ll see from Chapter 1 of The Throne of Fire, posted exclusively on USA Today, Carter and Sadie are at it again with their baboon companion, Khufu, and the Egyptian gods that are semi-inhabiting their minds.

So, onto the new book cover!

  • Sadie and Carter are back, on what looks to be an Egyptian papyrus boat.
  • I like that they are facing us (more or less) this time, and don’t have their backs towards us. It’s like they’ve grown up since the first book and have a lot more confidence!
  • I spot Carter’s bag around his shoulder…
  • And Sadie’s carrying a scepter…
  • There’s a flaming throne represented on the sails (title alert!).
  • And is that a museum behind them?
  • What are those three sticks poking out on the left?
  • And last, but not least: OMG THERE ARE A BILLION COCKROACHES/BEETLES/SOME KIND CREEPY CRAWLY BUG ewwwwww

What are some things you notice from the beautiful cover?

— Nancy

Nancy is very much afraid of bugs, which is pretty obvious from the freak-out in the last bullet point.

Meet Nancy »

Kidsmomo Podcast #30: “Adventure Is Out There!”

July 27th, 2010 by

A perilous ocean voyage from Britain to America. A trip to Africa to cure monkeys. An around-the-world chase to battle a god. And a nightmare plane ride, sitting next to total strangers… Okay, that last one is just Nancy complaining. But in our latest podcast, all about globe-trotting adventures, we do feature books with some actually terrifying and dangerous exploits. And yet, we still whine about how freezing it is on an airplane. Hey, we get cold easily, okay?

      (12:43) 
    Download the MP3 (6.1 MB)

  • Nancy calls for MUTINY — aka our mystery book revealed
  • Our picks for globe-trotting adventures — including a review by YOU (The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle and Kane Chronicles Book 1: The Red Pyramid)
  • Planes, trains, and automobiles

Also, don’t forget: our new theme is summer camp. But instead of postcards, send us a review of your favorite summer camp book! And check out our picks for summer camp books.

— Karen and Nancy

Kidsmomo Podcast #25: “Royal Flush”

May 18th, 2010 by

It’s good to be queen! At least, that’s how Karen felt while recording our latest podcast — because Nancy was sick in bed and refused to participate! Excuses, excuses… No matter; Karen still had plenty to say, all about books involving royalty:

      (12:56) 
    Download the MP3 (6.2 MB)

  • A rat that loves soup and a mouse that loves a (princess) pea — aka our mystery book revealed
  • Princess power! — aka our royalty book picks (Once Upon a Marigold and Dealing with Dragons)
  • A review from YOU (The Red Pyramid) from Douglas, age 9!
  • There’s a new sheriff in town — aka our dream rules if we ran the world…

Also, don’t forget: our new theme is war stories, in honor of Memorial Day. So send us a review of your favorite book related to war and check out these books about war.

— Karen (and Nancy in absentia)

The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

May 17th, 2010 by

Submitted by Douglas, Age 9 from Louisiana

Rating: ★★★★★

Featured Review

Featured in "Royal Flush"

If you have read the Percy Jackson series or even Harry Potter, you would love this book. Even if you are looking for an adventure to read you should read this book.This book has all the good qualities of a good book. It has adventure,education and drama.

This book is the real deal.

Meet John Rocco, Rick Riordan’s Personal Illustrator

March 4th, 2010 by


John Rocco and The Lightning Thief Deluxe Edition

Children's book illustrator John Rocco, with The Lightning Thief Deluxe Edition.

It’s been Percy Jackson madness here on Kidsmomo (literal madness — have you heard our Kidsmomo Karaoke Tribute to PJ?) so I’m gonna write a serious blog post about some serious Percy Jackson stuff.

I GOT TO MEET THE BOOK COVER ILLUSTRATOR! HA HA! IN YO FACES!

And now that I’m done gloating (yes, very immature of me), I’ll get to the good stuff — at the event (which was held at a bookstore in Manhattan), Percy Jackson editor Jennifer Besser talked about how the original cover illustrations weren’t really working, and they then found John Rocco, illustrator extraordinaire!

Maybe “personal illustrator” to Rick Riordan is an exaggeration, but John Rocco has designed all five covers of the Percy Jackson series and he’s also working on the new Kane Chronicles series.  I made sure to capture as much as possible on video:

John talking about how he came up with the idea for the cover of The Lightning Thief:

For aspiring artists: his process is really interesting! Check out all the different versions of The Titan’s Curse:

John also took some tough questions from the audience…

And some questions led to some DRAMA!

Some more goodies from John Rocco and Jennifer Besser:

  • The new Camp Half-Blood series by Rick Riordan will be released in October 2010!
  • John enjoyed working on The Last Olympian cover the most, and often went to the Empire State Building for inspiration.
  • John also worked on the new Rick Riordan series The Kane Chronicles, and afterwards I bugged him about the water tower on the cover of The Red Pyramid — and turns out it’s not significant in the story. (I guess I went a little overboard scrutinizing the cover!)

— Nancy

Kane Chronicles: “The Red Pyramid” Mini-Excerpt and Book Cover (Part 2)

January 17th, 2010 by

As you can tell from my earlier post, I’m very excited about Rick Riordan’s new book series, The Kane Chronicles — especially now that they’ve released the book cover! So as promised, here is my obsessive-compulsive analysis/commentary on the book cover:

  1. Presumably that’s Sadie on the left, and her brother, Carter, on the right.
  2. Carter is holding is Khopesh sword (also called a scimitar), the Egyptian word for a battle-axe sickle-sword.
  3. Does Sadie have special powers in the series? The Egyptian symbols are coming out over her palm, which you can see in the animation!
  4. What is that building they are facing? It looks too small to be the British Museum mentioned in the mini-excerpt
  5. There is a giant serpent/snake (ewww…) surrounding Sadie and Carter and slithering into the building — reminds me of the basilisk from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
  6. Is the water tower significant? It wouldn’t be included on the cover if it wasn’t, right? Perhaps the setting for an action-packed scene in the book? Or am I reading too much into it?
  7. “The Kane Chronicles” crest is a set of wings with two snakes connected together. The oval piece in the center looks like a jewel to me. Or a jelly bean.
  8. Despite the title The Red Pyramid, the only pyramid shape on the cover is the outline of the triangle in the background. So I guess my literal interpretation was a little too obvious…
  9. Some of the symbols flying out of Sadie’s hands: an eye, an Egyptian, two types of bird, a large cat (lioness? panther? tiger?), a knife (or feather pen?), and what I interpreted as a boat or raft.

Well, that’s all I found… Leave a comment with your thoughts on the book cover!

— Nancy

Kane Chronicles: “The Red Pyramid” Mini-Excerpt and Book Cover (Part 1)

January 16th, 2010 by

kane_chronicles_red_pyramid_rick_riordan_120

For a larger version, click on the book cover and pore over it like I did: O_O

A month ago I posted breaking book news about Rick Riordan’s new series, The Kane Chronicles… along with my mock-up of the cover art. Unfortunately, the publishers didn’t think mine was that great (how dare they?!) — and now they’ve released their own cover, plus a mini-excerpt!

We only have a few hours, so listen carefully. If you’re hearing this story, you’re already in danger. Sadie and I might be your only chance.

Go to the school. Find the locker. I won’t tell you which school or which locker, because if you’re the right person, you’ll find it. The combination is 13/32/33. By the time you finish listening, you’ll know what those numbers mean. Just remember the story we’re about to tell you isn’t complete yet. How it ends will depend on you.

The most important thing: when you open the package and find what’s inside, don’t keep it longer than a week. Sure, it’ll be tempting. I mean, it will grant you almost unlimited power. But if you possess it too long, it will consume you. Learn its secrets quickly and pass it on. Hide it for the next person, the way Sadie and I did for you. Then be prepared for your life to get very interesting.

Okay, Sadie is telling me to stop stalling and get on with the story. Fine. I guess it started in London, the night our dad blew up the British Museum.

OMG! This sounds amazing. WHAT-IS-IN-THAT-PACKAGE?! I bet those numbers mean something! HE-BLEW-UP-THE-BRITISH-MUSEUM?! What are these secrets? UNLIMITED-POWER?! OMG-egghhhhh-cough-cough-cough.

(“egghhhhh” is the sound of me choking on my own spit, out of excitement.)

Check back tomorrow for Part 2 of my coverage of The Red Pyramid, where I dissect the book cover — I’ll be spending a lot of time examining the interactive book cover on the official website.

— Nancy

NOTE: This mini-excerpt was given exclusively to The Wall Street Journal, but we wanted to reproduce it here for you guys. If you’re reading WSJ on your own, well, more power to you. But we’re certainly not on their site every day. No time to read about finance — must read kids’ books…

UPDATE: Here’s Part 2!

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