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on April 4, 2017
I love this entire series...Rick Riordan wrote a great trilogy bringing Ancient Egypt into modern times. As a parent, what I like the best about this series is that my kids learned Egyptian history and mythology without realizing it...sort of like slipping a vitamin into mashed potatoes. The kids ate it up and learned something at the same time. I took my kids to the Field Museum in Chicago shortly after my oldest read this series, and I was amazed at how much she knew...she saw statues and could immediately identify them and tell the basic story about them just because of this series.
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on September 23, 2017
It's a continuation of the Red Pyramid Series. It's good for ages 10-15, boys and girls. The easy, language is not too challenging except for the foreign names. It provides background for Egyptian mythology and doesn't confuse other civilization's mythology into the book. It continues Riordan's good but not overbearing humor. It's not a comedy book. The main female protagonist is strong, snarky and loyal. There is a brainy, hopeful male character who balances her. The plot is different from the first two books, nor was it a logical step from the rest of the series. The first half tried to pull together plot points that the previous books had left unfinished, without the strong narrative that the first two did so well. The second half of the book seemed less polished, in that some places they visited were too unexplained, but then others were delved into too deeply. The ending was overly dramatic and didn't need to be. Like some of his other books, he ends up losing sight of the main goal, because he brings in too many unresolved plot threads from the previous books. It would be good for a gift if the whole series accompanied it.
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on June 22, 2014
THIS BOOKS IS 1 OF THE BEST. No kids. SPOILER ALERT!!! Sadie/Carter try to save a scroll by Setne, an Egyptian whatever, but Apophis burns it up (curse him) so they get (or are given) a clue- King Tut's shadow (sheut) box. Sadie/Carter find out if they destroy Apophis' s shadow, Lord Dummy would never return. Setne (btw he's dead) says something like, "You can't do the spell without me. It's to complicated!" Which is a utter lie. Hmm... let's call him Sir Most-Idiotic-Brainless-Ghost-Ever. SMIBGE for short. So Walt (Sadie' s dying crush) and Sadie go off and capture Bes' s sheut and restore him (long story). Zia and Carter try to get Apophis' s sheut with SMIBGE (longer story) Walt and Anubis (Sadie' s other crush) meld together and Sadie comes and saves the day (don't even ask). Then Ra and Zia oh MUST become one (poor Carter-can't kiss his girlfriend without kissing the sub god) Lord Dummy (remember me, the git? He says) swallows Ra/Zia and.... let's just say Lord Dummy dies (ahem, pardon me, permanent exile) and the gods follow. Zia/Carter/Sadie no longer host gods. Walt/Anubis (Walt, Sadie decided) is still Walt/Anubis though. Now proudly entitled, Sadie's-Boyfriend. Zia and Carter are dating, too. (As I quote,"I could sense about twenty jealous guys") so yeah. Tata.
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on December 2, 2014
The Serpent’s Shadow brings the Kane Chronicles to an end as the third (and “probably”) final recording of Sadie and Carter. Just like the previous two novels, this one has a great hook:

“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.”

So there you have it: Apophis swallowed the sun! That’s one burning question down, and a whole lot of others to go — like, how did they survive Doomsday if the snake got away with his plan? Well, I guess that’s when you need to read and find out.

However, I did have some other very serious questions at the end of The Throne of Fire:

Are they making the right decision? Despite Ra being a crazy old guy who played with cookies, he was rather needed.

Is this a trap? Everything’s a trap! You need to go with it anyway.

Why would anyone try to ride a double-headed snake? Clearly this earned Carter some serious street cred. It was totally necessary.

What’s with the zebras and the weasels? Well, Zebras are clearly awesome and Ra’s very favorite… and Weasels are sick… though not beyond salvation.

Who’d make a better boyfriend, Walt or Anubis? The answer is… YES.

So many things go wrong as Doomsday approaches — go figure. Sadie and Carter, along with Walter and Zia, the Brooklyn House, and any stragglers… er, supporters, of the First Nome, must fight the greatest threat to human kind. What could possibly go wrong? … Well, they survive to tell the tale, so clearly a few things go right.

The Serpent’s Shadow is driven not only by the impending deadline of the end of the world — as Sadie and Carter search for a way to defeat Apophis and vanquish him– but also by the characters’ interactions, hilarious events (just imagine a kindergartener running around with crayons, screaming “Die! Die! Die!”), and senile senior gods who just want to partake in the fun of fighting the forces of chaos. The third and final installment of this trilogy may not tie everything into a neat little bow (because we know Rick Riordan loves his loose ends… as do we, since it leaves the possibility of continuing the tale), but it is a satisfying end.

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on May 12, 2012

My son is now 11 years old and just finishing up 5th grade, and he is an avid Rick Riordan fan. He enjoys the fantasy aspects of the stories, the descriptive passages of the books, the excitement inherent in the extreme time compression (stories take place usually within the course of a week or less), and the humor (take that last one for what it's worth - if you've ever listened in on 11 year old boys and their jokes, you know what I mean about that).

With The Serpent's Shadow, Riordan has made yet another solid contribution to the world of apocalyptic kid lit. As with previous installments in this trilogy, the story is told in the alternating voices and points of view of Carter and Sadie Kane, which can be jarring for kids who are used to books that are written entirely from one character's point of view or from an omniscient narrator's point of view. I think the device works well, once the reader gets used to it, especially since both protagonists are carefully drawn and very consistent in their characterizations. It also allows Riordan to pack a lot more action into his plots, since the reader can be two places at once, and it builds cliffhangers into each character's separate journeys as the reader switches from viewpoint to viewpoint.

Which brings me to my favorite aspects of the books: I enjoy the storytelling almost as much as my son does. But, apart from the fact that the books are well-written, funny, and move along quickly, I love love love the way they hook my son into exploring vocabulary and world history on his own. And I think they are genius at exploiting the opportunities that are available to kids via today's technology. You don't need an e-reader to enjoy reading these books as books - they are wonderful on their own - but if you have an e-reader with a dictionary and a browser, they become completely amazing educational tools.

The day we got this book, my son's teacher had sent home a love note indicating that he was way WAY behind on his dictionary (students were told at the beginning of the year to keep a list of words they learned while reading independently, and my son had about half the number of words his teacher wanted to see by this point in the school year). Enter The Serpent's Shadow and my kindle application. As my son read the book, he was able to highlight new words and words he wasn't sure of and get their definitions straight from the app. He also delved into Egyptian history and mythology as he read, taking time to look up the gods' official stories and compare them with the characters presented in the book. Any book that arouses that kind of curiosity while managing to entertain on the most basic level gets five stars from this mom. With bonus points for tight writing and a well-crafted plot that, for a story about gods, relies surprisingly more on logic and character development than it does on deus ex machina.

There is enough explication in this book to enable the reader to understand what is going on even if he or she has not read the first two books, but I really do recommend starting at the beginning. The series goes fast, and it's well worth reading. I also suggest having research and vocabulary tools available, whether online or in hard copy, because there's a lot of enrichment to be had within these books.
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VINE VOICEon July 19, 2012
I have always been interested in "things Egypt" so I don't know how I have so little knowledge about Egyptian mythology. And when you want a heavy dose of mythology on a hilarious platter, who do you come to? Why Rick Riordan, of course! The master of repurposed mythological tales has done it again as he wrapped up the Kane Chronicles with The Serpent's Shadow.

Sadie and Carter know they must stop Apophis, the God of Chaos, from destroying the world. But how could two teenagers stop the apocalypse? When, when you are a Kane, you always have friends in strange places. With Bast, a cat goddess, to watch over their initiates in the house, they embark on a journey to find the way to stop Apophs, but each day he grows stronger. Add to that the fact that the senile sun god, Ra, who was supposed to help them dances around and has to be babysat, that their best friend Walt is slowly dying from a generations-old curse, and Carter was crushing on a magical clay figurine he thought was a girl. Once the figurine was destroyed and they rescued the real Zia, she had no memory of Carter's time with her shabti. And Bas, the dwarf god, has sacrificed his soul to save them and is now sitting like a shell of himself in the retirement home for the Gods.

So how are they going to stop this unstoppable God of Chaos now that they have freed him and allowed him to gain more power than any one god or goddess can control, you ask? Well, it might involve a spell that is so powerful, it will destroy the Kanes for good, but when you have the weight and fate of the world resting on your shoulders, you really don't have much of a choice. Sadie and Carter will do anything to save the world, even if it means tough choices and big sacrifices. And with the Kanes against them, even giant serpent gods who thrive on chaos can stop them!

It is no secret that I think Rick Riordan is a god. God of literary brilliance! His Percy Jackson series and the spinoff series are brilliant uses of Greek and Roman Gods, and this series is just as phenomenal. His ability to repurpose mythology brings it into the mainstream and gets our kids involved in stories that might have been too old, too, boring, and too distant for them before. And let's face it, mythology is interesting, but those stories are intricate and dense and those names get seriously confusing. Let's not even mention how ridiculous those tangled webs of relationships can be! But Riordan makes mythology accessible AND more important, absolutely HILARIOUS! The things that come out of these gods and godesses' mouths will leave you in a fit of giggles. And for my students who have read these stories, those gods and goddesses are interesting and the source of future research and reading. I find kids who read these books want to go on and read more about their favorite gods and goddesses, and since Egyptian mythology isn't as well known as Greek mythology, this series is a great way to strike a balance between the two! And this might be a middle reader series, but it isn't just for middle readers. Anyone from middle readers through adults would enjoy these books! All you have to have is a sense of humor and an interest in some nutty mythology!

The conclusion of the series was whole-heartedly satisfying. I promise you won't think it is going to be until the very end, but it really is. I have to say, I thought this was another 5 book series, so at the very end, when things started winding down, I had to rush to do some research as to whether or not this was the final book in the series. Sadly, because I love this series and wanted it to continue, this is indeed the final book, but it ends beautifully. If there was a perfect way to end everything, The Serpent's Shadow was it. So, I know Riordan is working on the Percy Jackson spin-off, but I really hope he has another series up his sleeve!
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on August 22, 2012
You will enjoy the third in the Kane Chronicles series: "The Serpent's Shadow" by Rick Riordan. Here, young magicians Carter and Sadie Kane, whose parents have been killed in battle with the gods, have learned how to follow the path of the Ancient Egyptian gods and have become respectable magicians. The magicians of the House of Life are being killed and they are on the brink of civil war, the gods are divided, and the young initiates of Brooklyn House stand almost alone against the forces of chaos. In this book, "The Serpent's Shadow," which appears to be the final edition of this series according to Riordan, the Chaos snake Apophis is loose and threatening to destroy the earth in three days' time. Carter and Sadie must lead the others against impossible odds to save the world. The Kanes' only hope is an ancient spell that might turn the serpent's own shadow into a weapon. Only one person can really help them, and he is not to be trusted - he is pure evil!

If you enjoy mythology or if you know a young person who would enjoy a highly readable mythological adventure, this book and this series is for you! Although he employs a unique point of view (an alternating POV between the young siblings), Riordan's writing holds the reader's attention throughout the entire story. The characters are well developed which allows the reader to develop a bond with them. Although the plot is certainly simple in spots and some would say farfetched, it is just a story - go with it and just enjoy it!

As a retired English teacher, I highly recommend Riordan's various series! Riordan's Percy Jackson series and its spin-off series, Heroes of Olympus, are brilliant uses of Greek and Roman Gods, and this Kane Chronicles series with its Egyptian mythology is just as phenomenal. Riordan's ability to bring mythology to life within the characters and within the story line makes mythology more approachable and desirable to readers both young and old. Riordan's enjoyable series, be it this one or either of the others, therefore, makes reading more enjoyable as well.
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on May 16, 2012
The Serpent's Shadow crackles (and hisses!) with all of the qualities that make Rick Riordan so compulsively readable: mythology and magic, sarcastic and witty narrators, memorable and eccentric characters, and an edge of your seat action-adventure tale. This book is the third and final volume in The Kane Chronicles. For those of you who love Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series and have been hesitant to try this series because you are less familiar with Egyptian mythology, you are missing out! The witty repartee between the two narrators, Carter (the older, more bookish,and straight-laced brother) and Sadie (the impulsive, expressive, loud-mouthed sister) is part of what makes this series tick. There is also a fantastic cast of secondary characters, including:

-Khufu, the Kane siblings' baboon friend, who laments Carter's pathetic basketball skills and only likes foods ending in O,
-Bes, the ugly dwarf god, who scares people by appearing in his Speedo,
-Bast, the cat goddess,
-Setne, evil double-crossing magician who just happens to sound like an "Uncle Vinnie" character from a mob movie,
-Shelby, one of the "ankle-biters," a kindergarten age magician who runs around with crayons casting spells.

The drama of this particular volume involves the rising of the really evil snake Apophis, who is rising and planning to bring about the end of the world. There is also a civil war brewing among the Egyptian magicians, with rebels led by Sarah Jacobi rising against the current Chief Lector, Carter and Sadie's Uncle Amos. But Sadie is at least equally concerned by the fact that she can't decide which of two boys she fancies more: charm-expert Walt, descended from Tut and dying of the same genetic disease that afflicted the Egyptian pharaoh, or Anubis, the gorgeous boy who has the small disadvantage of being the god of the dead, not to mention the 5000 year age difference.
Will the Kanes defeat Apophis before he destroys the world?
Will the Egyptian magicians be torn apart by in-fighting or come together?
Will Sadie figure out her boy problems?
Will Carter strangle Sadie if she doesn't focus on the problem at hand? (And will he ever kiss his crush, Zia Rashid?)

My 4th grader and I have enjoyed this series immensely and eagerly look forward to more books by Rick Riordan!
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on November 3, 2017
My 10 year old son loves Percy Jackson and Rick Riordan. He loves these "graphic novels" and will read them from front to end in one night. He loved this one, too.
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on July 15, 2014
These books are really fun, and very clean! If you're a teen and looking to start a new series, this may be perfect for you. If you're a parent, and considering letting your children read these books, they are fun and appropriate.

Riordan has a very good way of writing young women making them competent and intelligent, without having to make the boys stupid or incompetent. He's very good at capturing the banter of a brother and sister duo, and is very fun to read; at no point do their conversations become condescending or grating, which is the case in many young adult books that deal with that sort of conversation.

Read these books, you won't regret it!
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