I eagerly awaited the release of this novel but I did not enjoy it as much as I did the previous installments in the Kane Chronicles series. It was unmemorable. After I was done reading, I didn’t savor it as I usually did whenever I finished a book. Usually I would close the book, recline, and replay/review what I had read in my head, playing the parts that I favored in slow motion, fast-forwarding through others. But when I was done with The Serpent’s Shadow, it quickly became an afterthought and I was ready to move on to something new.
In The Serpent’s Shadow, the world is about to end again and Sadie and Carter has a limited time to stop it. Apophis, god of chaos wants to take out Ma’at by swallowing the sun god, Ra, and drowning the world in a swarming sea of chaos. To prevent this, Carter and Sadie must execrate Apophis by trapping his shadow, which is a part of his soul. To do this, they have to save the ghost of an evil magician, Setne, from a dire judgment, bring back the soul of their god-friend Bes to his body (a great way to practice before tackling Apophis), find the book of Thoth, tackle some demons, and semi-lose their friend, Walt. I say semi-lose here because (SPOILER!!) Walt is supposed to die and he does, but since both he and Anubis (god of the dead) wants to be with Sadie (I have no idea why), they decide to share a body so that Walt can live to be with Sadie and Anubis can also be with her through Walt (Anubis is not allowed to be with her as a god) (anyways, creepy). Since they defeated Apophis and banished chaos, severe chaos I guess, the gods of Ma’at (order) are also banished since both are connected. In effect, the gods are exiled.
Riordan’s imaginativeness is still strong in this installment. Again, I can’t help admiring how he weaves the mythology and aspects of modern society together to create an engaging story sprinkled throughout with Ancient Egyptian terminologies (mostly used for spells) as well as modern lingo. The creativity is great and the storytelling is not bad either. I enjoy the switch in perspectives as the focus bounces back and forth between Sadie and Carter. Also, for each major event in which both Sadie and Carter were involved, we are able to view it from each of their perspectives and understand/know how they are affected by it. But I must say that I favored Carter’s parts. They were more descriptive and thus more engaging.
I like the structure of the story. Though predictable, it works. However, I dislike the story because of Sadie. She’s annoying. Very annoying. I understand that her role is as a little sister and thus should be annoying (that is how the story seems to define her) but her annoying and bratty ways just makes her seem very shallow at times. I simply do not understand why Walt/Anubis likes her. In the previous installment, The Throne of Fire, I could believe the attraction. Sadie had more depth in that installment and wasn’t as annoying. In this one, however, I could not understand why Walt/Anubis wanted to be with her. Other than they both (Walt and Anubis) claiming to like her, I see no other apparent reason for their attraction. Maybe it’s just her looks, I dunno.
It’s the same with Carter and Zia. When did they get close and decide to like each other? It’s a given that Carter liked her since he fell for her shabti but I don’t recall Zia reciprocating those feelings so strongly in The Throne of Fire. When did those feelings develop? Must be while I wasn’t reading (the time that passed in between books). I was hoping though that Carter would finally step forward, tell Sadie to shut the hell up, and be the strong leader he always wants to be. For once, I wanted him to lead the story but Sadie always steals the thunder from him. When it comes to saving everyone, it is Sadie that steps forward and gets the job done. She’s very considerate but annoying.
I feel silly for not liking a book because of a character but Sadie really spoilt it for me. Other than that, the story was engaging, yes, it kept me reading but it did not stand out. It didn’t leave an impression. It just seemed as if I were rereading one of the other books. It’s the same situation with the same characters. Nothing new, really.
The twist at the end that left the open potential of characters from the Kane Chronicle mixing with those from the Heroes of Olympus series left me a bit ambivalent. I am excited to see what will happen and how it will turn out but since both The Serpent’s Shadow and The Son of Neptune did not leave a great impression on me, I am not too enthused to read what might come next.
Despite all that, Riordan is still one of my favorite authors. Hopefully, these last books are a warm up for a grand Kane-Chronicles-Heroes-of-Olympus finale.
- Book review: “The Serpent’s Shadow” by Rick Riordan (islandergirl.wordpress.com)
- Talking with ‘The Serpent’s Shadow’ author Rick Riordan (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- The Serpent’s Shadow (thejkreview.wordpress.com)