Review: The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan
Posted on May 14, 2011
by Adam Burgess
The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan
Final Verdict: 3.25 out of 4.0
3 – Plot/Story is interesting & believable.
Rick Riordan’s The Throne of Fire is an incredibly fantastic follow-up to Book 1 of his Egyptian mythology series, The Kane Chronicles. Once again, Sadie and Carter Kane narrate us to the end of the world and back again – poor kids! Just when the Kane family feel like their greatest threat – Set – has been muted, a new danger arises. The Lord of Chaos, Apophis, is beginning to awaken, and without the Lord of Ma’at around (Ra, the Sun God, lost in a deep sleep deep in the Duat), Chaos may manage to take over and destroy the world. The Kanes find themselves not only in a race against time to find and awaken King Ra, but also to save their friend Zia from a magician-induced coma and find a cure for their ailing apprentice Walt. With so much going on – with so many foes, and so few allies – most of whom are unprepared, there seems to be little hope that Sadie and Carter can triumph again – but help is found in unexpected places, new gods rise to the challenges and grave sacrifices are made to aid the Kanes in their quest.
3 – Characters well developed.
Sadie and Carter, the main characters, are just as well developed as in the first book – which is good and bad. They are written well in general, which of course is a good thing, but a bit more growth and development would have been welcome, as I like to watch characters grow (not just in age, but in maturity and roundedness) in a series. The auxiliary characters, however, are much more developed and just down-right fun to read than in the book’s predecessor. Some of the new gods, such as Bes, are given near-equal page time as the magicians, which adds another layer of intrigue and interest to the story. Old gods and magicians, like Bast, Anubis, and Desjardins are back and better than ever – truly more developed and connected with the story. The newest evil, Vladimir Menshikov, the third most powerful wizard in the world, adds an element of mystery and empathy to the overall story – another added layer to the overall story, which makes it more than just a YA fantasy, but a psychological examination as well.
3 – Satisfactory Prose/Style, conducive to the Story.
As with The Lost Hero, I found the prose and style concurrent with the mood and reading level of the book, as well as the subject matter; however, once again, like with The Lost Hero, there were numerous proof reading errors. I am highly frustrated by this, as Riordan is a major author and these mythology series’ are hits – his publisher (Disney/Hyperion) needs to be more responsible with their final editing reviews before publication – I wonder if the same people are responsible because, if so, I would strongly encourage Mr. Riordan to choose new proofreaders. Five or six major errors (like missing or incorrect words) in a publication marketed and anticipated at this magnitude is unacceptable. That being said, six (or so) errors in a book of this length is not exactly distracting, even if it is irritating to someone as ridiculously meticulous as this particular reader. The pace is great, the dual narration works well again, though it is not always easy to distinguish which character is speaking when, even though each chapter has an identified narrator (sometimes I realized I mixed up narrators – thinking Carter was speaking, until little comments about the hotness of Anubis or Walt were dropped in). In total, though, the language level is appropriate, the structure is appealing, and the prose is fluid and progresses at a great pace.
Additional Elements: Setting, Symbols/Motifs, Resolution, etc.
4 – Additional elements improve and advance the story.
Once again, what is so great about these Riordan mythology series’ is their ability to teach as well as entertain. By the end of the book, you find you have learned so much about Egyptian (or Roman, or Greek, whatever the case may be) mythology and history without even knowing it, because you were having such a great time reading the story and engaging with the characters’ adventures! I find Riordan to have an advantage over many writers in this regard – he does his research and incorporates the mythologies into modern culture seamlessly, with a style that is appealing to contemporary readers. The larger issues and topics, too, such as the importance of loyalty to family and friends or the need to work with people we do not necessarily like in order to overcome larger problems are well presented and woven into the stories so as to guide and teach without preaching to or overburdening the reader with glaring didactic motives.
Suggested Reading for:
Age Level: YA+
Interest: Fantasy, Mythology, Action/Adventure, Magic, History, Family/Friendship
I’m on the fence when it comes to Riordan’s Egypt series. I loved the Percy Jackson books and whipped my students (and parents) into a tizzy over the new Heroes of Olympus series, but I just can’t get into the Kane Chronicles. I felt that information was repeated too many times in the first book and my eyes started to glaze over. However, none of my students or parents have expressed this opinion, though they do think that the much needed explanations slow the story down a bit. I’ve got the THRONE OF FIRE on order for next school year and it’s nice to see that it’s an entertaining read. It’s taken a while for the Kane Chronicles to gain in popularity here so it’s good to know that the momentum will keep going.
You’re probably the thrid or fourth person I’ve heard say similar things about The Kane Chronicles (not as interesting/good as Percy Jackson). I personally like that Riordan started this series off at the level he left Percy Jackson (longer, bit more complicated than the first few Percy books). I definitely think The Throne of Fire was better executed than Red Pyramid, overall – partially because we already know the characters so there’s not as much time spent on the explanations and development (except when new gods come into play). I really enjoyed this one. Percy Jackson will probably always hold the top spot, but I loved the first Heroes of Olympus book too.