I was not a fan of the Percy Jackson series, okay but nothing special. But The Red Pyramid grabbed me from the opening sentence: "We only have a few hours, so listen carefully...". Carter and Sadie Kane, offspring of 2 brilliant Egyptologists, have just discovered that their family tree is a bit more, umm, complicated than they realized. Sadie, raised in England by their (mysteriously) dead mother's parents, and Carter, raised by their globetrotting Dad, have little in common, but when a late night trip to the British museum unleashes gods, demons and possibly the end of the world, they quickly learn to work together. Carter and Sadie are bright, funny teens; their constant bickering barely concealing their deep affection for each other.(Nice touch: this is one of the few really great kids' books to feature a bi-racial family).
Although the secondary characters start to run together, (remind me, which goddess was the flaming blood drinker?) these two realistic, likable kids hold the center. Throw in a cat with far more than 9 lives, a basketball obsessed baboon, and a Dream Date with Death, and you've got one heck of a story.