Bleeps (Blog-peeps, as my friend Holly asserts), I'm going to be honest here. This book is the reason I haven't been posting much over the last two or three weeks. I got stuck in the middle of this book and had to struggle to keep reading.
Appetizer: Siblings Sadie and Carter Kane are back with their third and final transcript of their adventures to protect the world from some dangerous Ancient Egyptian magic that could descend the world into chaos. This time, they're here to tell the story behind all of those earthquakes, tsunamis and the near end of the world.
Apophis, "the primordial force of Chaos" has been unleashed and Carter and Sadie must devise a way to stop it, preferably a way that won't kill them in the process. A desperate plan will send them around the world, seeking information and preparing to achieve something no other magicians have ever managed to do. But before they do that, the siblings will have to attend their first school dance.
I was surprised by the extent of romance in The Serpent's Shadow. There was a downright paranormal romance vibe during the school dance mentioned above. (Sadie finds herself with a dance partner who levitates them. I kid you not. I won't tell you the name of the boy causing the floating, because of course, Sadie's also the center of a love triangle, that has an arguably very strange resolution.)
Although a satisfying end to this trilogy, Riordan leaves the door open for further adventures with the Kane siblings and all of their friends. (I'd bet a very small amount of money that these characters are going to make an appearance in the new Norse mythology series that Riordan is working on. This is very exciting for my research, because instead of just hinting at the gods of different cultures co-existing in the same world, Riordan will directly address the issue. But that could just be wishful thinking on my part. Of course, it would also mean that a lot of my dissertation will become dated. Sigh.)
Having now completed The Serpent's Shadow, I'm officially declaring that the Kane Chronicles is my least favorite of Riordan's several myth-based series. It's not just that I'm least familiar with Egyptian mythology, but I also had trouble keeping track of a lot of the characters. Many of the descriptions of the actions feel rushed (I've complained about this before with his writing. Honestly, I think it's because of the crazy writing and researching schedule Riordan must be on to complete all of the tomes for his many series. If I were in his position, I would have burned out long ago.). I also wouldn't have minded a little more exposition and a few more reminders of the events from the previous books. More than that, for me, the logic of this series is the hardest to keep track of and follow.
I also got annoyed with the way the narration kept denying the reader knowledge. At least three or four times, the Kane siblings were given vague warnings or were about to find out something important when suddenly the informant had to leave or was distracted. I could deal with this technique once or twice, but it got a little ridiculous that Riordan relied on it so often in an effort to try and maintain the sense of mystery.
But that's just me. What are your thoughts?
"Sadie Kane here.
If you're listening to this, congratulations! You survived Doomsday.
I'd like to apologize straightaway for any inconvenience the end of the world may have caused you. The earthquakes, rebellions, riots, tornadoes, floods, tsunamis, and of course the giant snake who swallowed the sun--I'm afraid most of that was our fault. Carter and I decided we should at least explain how it happened." (p. 1)
"True, full-out Armageddon hadn't come yet. It had been six months since the Chaos snake Apophis had escaped from his Underworld prison, but he still hadn't launched a large-scale invasion of the mortal world as we'd expected. For some reason, the serpent was biding his time, settling for smaller attacks on nomes that seemed secure and happy.
Like this one, I thought." (p. 3).
"Its eyes turned the color of blood. Its carved mouth twisted into a smile. "Your magic is weak, Sadie Kane. Human civilization has grown as old and rotten. I will swallow the sun god and plunge your world into darkness. The Sea of Chaos will consume you all." (p. 20)
"Honestly, he drones on and on about his plans for the Apocalypse, but he makes no plans at all for the school dance. My brother's priorities are severely skewed.
I don't think I was being selfish wanting to go to the dance. Of course we had serious business to deal with. That's exactly why I insisted on partying first. Our initiates needed a morale boost. They needed a chance to be normal kids, to have friends and lives outside Brooklyn House--something worth fighting for. Even armies in the field fight better when they take breaks for entertainment. I'm sure some general somewhere has said that." (p. 77)
Tasty Rating: !!