This second installment in the Kane Chronicles picks up a few months after the events of The Red Pyramid. Sadie and Carter are in charge of training other young magicians at the Brooklyn House. When the book opens, the siblings are engineering a break-in of the Brooklyn Museum with Walt and Jaz, two trainees, at their side as well as Khufu. They hope to uncover the Book of Ra at the museum to help in their mission to defeat Apophis before he can rise.
In typical Riordan fashion, the best laid plans go awry. The museum is far from deserted as a night wedding is being held within. The book of Ra discovered there is found to be only one third of the needed document to bring back the Egyptian sun god. When events at the museum get out of control, Jaz’s life is left hanging in the balance.
The Kanes are once again working against a tight deadline. They need to find the other two fragments of the Book of Ra and use them correctly in four days. The fast pace will be familiar to readers of both the Red Pyramid and the Percy Jackson books. Expect a lot of twists, hang-ups and traps along the way.
One thing I enjoyed about this book was the dynamic between Carter and his sister Sadie. In the first book, they started as virtual strangers, having spent six years living mostly apart. In this one, their relationship as siblings is more established. They still bicker and fight, but they also know each other better. This comes in handy later on in the plot. It also adds tension because they are able to predict one another’s shortcomings more. Carter is allowed to be more of a teenager and Sadie has her chances to be more mature. Carter remains my favorite narrator.
I also like the consequences in this book. Sometimes Sadie and Carter are able to get what they are striving after, but then are shown the after effects of their decisions. Choice also has a big role–learning to let people choose their involvement even when it is dangerous to them.
Many characters from the first book have appearances in this one, including Bast, Khufu, Amos Kane, Desjardins and Anubis. Apophis takes priority in this book, though Set reappears in this book as well. A new antagonist in the House of Life is bent on thwarting the Kanes–Vladimir Menshikov. The real Zia has a place as well (and not just in Carter’s heart).
I am curious to see how the third book resolves, especially to see if my suspicions about Walt are anywhere near accurate.