A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Serpent's Shadow is the third book in the Kane Chronicles, in which Rick Riordan, the popular author of the Greek mythology series Percy Jackson, takes on Egyptology. Percy Jackson fans will want to read it, but know that young fantasy lovers should be a little older to tackle it -- at least 10, with some help from parents to keep all of the Egyptian gods and Ancient Egyptian history and mythology straight. There's a big helping of fantasy violence as teen characters fight for their lives but never any truly gory details, and the mood is always lifted with plenty of humor. You couldn't ask for a better brother-sister team than Carter and Sadie, who both exhibit lots of bravery and loyalty while supporting each other and becoming true leaders.
What's the story?
It's the end of the world yet again, but this time Apophis, god of chaos, means business. He's building up strength, dividing the Egyptian gods and the magicians so they can't fight against him. He's even sucking souls of the dead into his vortex. Can he be stopped? Carter and Sadie Kane, teen leaders of the Brooklyn house of magicians, are doing their best. They've got a crazy plan and only two days to enact it. And they need the help of everyone they can recruit, from an evil magician's ghost who knows Apophis' weakness to a senile sun god prone to randomly shouting \"Cookies!\" to a small pack of kindergartner magician initiates who wield crayons dangerously.
Is it any good?
Author Rick Riordan really has his formula down: Great kid characters + huge challenges + plenty of humor = tons of fun. Oh, and kids are actually learning something, too. THE SERPENT'S SHADOW can't help but be a page-turner, with Sadie and Carter narrating their way through almost-Armageddon. Especially when you get to chapter headings like "'Take Your Daughter to Work Day' Goes Horribly Wrong" and "I Become a Purple Chimpanzee."
Middle schoolers on up will even like the snippets of romance, though Sadie ends up in a rather awkward situation. The series could wrap up nicely here, though Riordan definitely leaves his options open in his lengthier-than-usual wrap-up.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what they're learning by reading this series. How much did you know about Ancient Egypt before? What parts of Egyptian mythology are similar to Greek mythology? What's vastly different?
There are plenty of fantasy and sci-fi books about end-of-the-world scenarios. Why do you think this is a popular topic? Do you like this aspect of the series or something else?
What makes Carter and Sadie stand out? Who are your favorite fantasy characters?
- Author: Rick Riordan
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Brothers and sisters, Great boy role models, Great girl role models, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children
- Publication date: May 1, 2012
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 9 - 11
- Number of pages: 416
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.