The second installment of the Kane Chronicles trilogy, The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan picks up a little after where the first book, The Red Pyramid, left off. If you don’t remember exactly what happened at the end of that one, well, you’re kind of out of luck, because Sadie and Carter, the main characters, just don’t have time to explain it again. They’re too busy trying to bring Ra back from his deep sleep and stop Apophis, a giant snake monster, from breaking free, swallowing the sun, and bringing Chaos down upon all of us.
I admit, I completely forgot what happened in the first book, so I started The Throne of Fire trying to remember the more minor details. I remembered the basics- the Carter and Sadie are brother and sister, that their father was once an Egyptologist and now is something entirely different (I don’t want to spoil anything for those who haven’t read the first book), that Sadie and Carter barely spent any time together growing up, and that, by the end of the book, they pretty much saved the world at least once. But I couldn’t remember the slightly less major details, and Riordan didn’t do much of a recap. Fortunately, throughout The Throne of Fire, when those details are important to this book, he does give you enough information to refresh your memory.
Like Riordan’s other “ancient mythology meets modern times” series that follows Percy Jackson, the Kane Chronicles are filled with well-researched gods and goddesses, this time from Ancient Egypt. Unlike Percy Jackson, the Kane kids are not exactly demi-gods, but rather godlings- people descended from the pharaohs, with the ability to host the gods. They are also powerful magicians, which comes in handy when fighting the forces of chaos and destruction. The Throne of Fire is filled with action, adventure,, and a healthy dose of wit. The Kane kids never seem to be able to do anything the easy way, so expect something to go at least slightly wrong at every turn in the adventure. But with a dwarf god, a cat goddess, and a handful of good friends to help them, they always manage to get out of the worst jams.
I love how Riordan makes ancient mythology more accessible to a younger generation, both through the Kane Chronicles, the Percy Jackson series, and also with the new spin-off series, The Heroes of Olympus. The gods and goddesses of his tales maintain many of the core qualities of those of the ancient tales, but they seem to have adapted to modern times quite well. I also love the very brief, very vague reference to the Percy Jackson series in the Kane Chronicles. If you blink, you’ll miss it, but it’s there and it’s a pretty humorous little touch. I am anxiously awaiting the third, and supposedly the final, book in this series, as The Throne of Fire did kind of end on a bit of a cliffhanger, although the main storyline was resolved.