Ancient Egypt Action Adventure Books for Kids
I was asked to join a blog tour for Egypt: The Uprising, Battle for Ma’at by Amira Aly. When I learned the book was about ancient Egypt and was an adventure series, I was sold. My going-int0-6th grader and I are huge Rick Riordan fans and love his Percy Jackson and Kane Chronicles series.
What is fascinating about Battle for Ma’at author Amira Aly is that she lives and writes in Egypt. An insider, so to speak. And her book has nuances of Egyptian mythology that make Riordan’s Kane Chronicles seem like it just skims the surface. But I don’t mind. I love both these series. I would say that Aly’s series reads as slightly older — middle school and up, while Riordan’s chapter books are wonderful in that they span a huge age range from 3rd grade through 8th grade. Let’s get started with the Top 10 Similarities!
10. Both books are in the form of an urgent warning.
Aya, the Egyptian teenager in Egypt: The Uprising communicates to those who can help via her blog translating Ma’at “The world is in slumber while the battle is large in Kemet” into a more contemporary and persuasive message. The Kane twins use digital recordings to get the word out saying “…chaos is rising. Apophis is gaining strength. Which means we have to gain strength too — gods and men, united like in olden times. It’s the only way the world won’t be destroyed.”
As such, both series are written in the first person. Aly’s book is written from the point of view of Aya. Riordan’s series is from the point of view, in alternate chapters, of Sadie and Carter.
9. Both books center around twin protagonists.
The Kanes, Carter and Sadie, are twins who have been separated — not at birth — but close to it at age six. Aya, it turns out, is the slightly older sister to her twin brother Shedy. I’m not sure if the ancient Egyptians believed that twins had special powers or if this was a way for the each author to include both a girl and boy protagonist to make their series unisex, but I found this to be an interesting parallel.
8. The girl twin is older.
Sadie is slightly older than Carter and Aya is older than her twin Shedy. Aya has been specifically told by her now dead father to take care of Shedy and she is a diligent caretaker. Carter and Sadie are more confrontational with each other; each envying the other’s situation upon separation.
7. Their parents are gone.
Both sets of twins in each book are essentially orphans raised by relatives. Aya and Shedy are being raised by their aunt Mema after their father dies in a tour of duty and their mother leaves them. Carter and Sadie have lost their mother in an explosion that turns out to be a dangerous mission to seal in Apophis while freeing Bast. Their father fate is revealed in the first book, The Red Pyramid. I don’t want to spoil it for you. Their father’s brother Amos is the adult on deck for the Kane twins.
6. An Egyptian museum holds the key to the battle.
The Kane twins and their father need access to ancient Egyptian artifacts to use as portals into the Duat, a mythical realm under the earth for the gods. The artifact as portals serve as kind of time machine transporting them in but sometimes lets bad things out. It’s not a perfect science, that’s for sure! Aya has to find a special Ankh, an ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic character that read “eternal life“, that holds the key to the her battle though she doesn’t know where it is or what it is for. It’s a little like looking for a needle in a haystack.
5. They have a powerful ancient bloodline that is revealed to them.
Aly’s deep knowledge of ancient Egypt really comes into play here. It turns out that Aya is from an ancient line of Neturu, which predates the ancient Egyptians. Her brother Shedy is, in fact, a deity associated with salvation. The Kane twins are descendants of the Ancient House of Life and possess magical powers.
4. They are fighting a epic battle for Order (Ma’at) versus Chaos (Isfet).
With any great adventure series, there needs to be an epic war on the horizon with each book culminating in a fierce battle. The Kane Chronicles has a very clear antagonist in the form of Apophis mthe embodiment of Isfet. Apophis is a living entity in the series in the form of a giant serpent hell-bent on escaping from his underground prison.
In Aly’s series, the enemy is also Chaos but at the hand of an evil twin brother (Shaymess) of an ally named Abo ElAinin. His mission is to use war as a means for obtaining blood sacrifice in order to reset time, restore the gods, and wipe out most of the human race.
3. They get supernatural assistance in the guise of mythical animals.
Aya has a dragon called Bennu who provides protection and transportation. Sadie’s cat Bast turns out to be a goddess who is sworn to protect her.
2. Their allies are not what they seem.
Zia in the Kane Chronicles is not what she appears to be and this is the same for Celeste in Egypt: The Uprising. Allies in both books can transform and be transformed leaving our heroes confused as to whom they can trust. It’s tricky business trying to get help!
1. The gods are weak.
What I find interesting in Egypt: The Uprising is how Aly ties in modern war with the gods. Her premise is that the ancient gods need a river of blood to strengthen themselves because they grow weak from neglect and lack of attention from humans. For an adventure fantasy series, it’s plausible and a little scary. This blood letting is what makes her book veer to a slightly older audience, ages 14 and older.
In the Kane Chronicles, the Egyptian gods are literally in a kind of celestial nursing home, weak from neglect. It’s fair to say that the gods need the humans to exist, but modern-day humans don’t necessarily need the ancient gods. Both series make the gods come alive which is wonderful as a means to ignite their interest in Egyptian mythology. The gods get attention, the kids learn about an ancient civilization, and all is right in the world.
p.s. Other middle chapter books on Egypt that I like include:
To view any book more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book.
More on Gods of Ancient Egypt here.
|Amaunet||A female counterpart to Amon and one of the primordial gods of the Hermopolitian Ogdoad (group of eight gods). She was also worshipped at Thebes along with Amon and Mut.|
|Amon||Usually associated with the wind, or things hidden, and was also of the Hermopolitian Ogdoad. At Thebes he became Amon-Re, king of the gods. He was part of the Theban Triad, along with Mut and Khonsu.|
|Antaios||He was originally a double god, “the two falcons”, that was later joined to create one, probably that of Horus.|
|Anuket||Worshipped at Elephantine, she was associated with the gazelle.|
|Apis||Seen as the bull with a solar disk between its horns, Apis was associated with Osiris and Ptah. Aton – Also known as Aten, he was worshipped at Tell ‘Amarna.|
|Atum||A primordial god that was represented in the form of a human and a serpent. He was the supreme god in the Heliopolitan Ennead (group of nine gods) and formed with Re to create Re-Atum.|
|Hathor||The goddess of love, dance and alcohol was depicted as a cow. At Thebes she was also the goddess of the dead. She was worshipped at Dendera as the consort of Horus and Edfu, and was associated with Isis at Byblos.|
|Horus||The earliest royal god was the shape of a falcon, with the sun and moon as his eyes. The sky-god was the ruler of the day. The many forms of Horus are; Re-Harakhti, Harsiesis, Haroeris, Harendotes, Khenti-irti, Khentekhtay (the crocodile-god), and Harmakhis, which is Horus on the horizons, in which the Sphinx of Giza is considered to be his aspect.|
|Isis||The mother of Horus and sister and consort of Osiris was worshipped at Philae. Associated with Astarte, Hathor, Nut and Sothis, she was later worshipped over the entire Roman Empire.|
|Khnum||Resembling a human with a rams head, he was worshipped in Hypselis, Esna, Antinoe and Elephantine.|
|Khonsu||the moon god was the son of Amon and Mut. The main temple at Karnak is dedicated to him.|
|Min||God of fertility coalesced with Amon and Horus. Min was mainly worshipped at Coptos and Akhmim.|
|Mut||Worshipped at Thebes, she was a consort of Amon and part of the Theban Triad (group of three gods).|
|Nut||Mother of the sun, moon and heavenly bodies.|
|Osiris||He is regarded as the dead king that watches over the nether world and is rejuvenated in his son Horus. As the symbol of eternal life he was worshipped at Abydos and Philae.|
|Ptah||Worshipped in Memphis, he coalesced with Sokaris and Osiris.|
|Re||He was the sun god of Heliopolis. From the fifth Dynasty onwards he becomes a national god and is combined with the supreme deity Amon.|
|Serapis||He was mainly worshipped in Alexandria and was later worshipped by the Greeks as Zeus. He was never fully accepted by the Egyptians in the Ptolemaic period.|
|Sekhmet||She was part of the Memphite Triad with Ptah and Nefertem. She was the mistress of war and sickness.|
|Seth||The son of Geb and Nut in the Heliopolitan Ennead was in the form of an animal that has no zoological equivalent. This powerful god was regarded as god of the desert, making him a god of foreign lands.|
|Shu||He was an ancient cosmic power and was regarded as the god of the air and the bearer of heaven. Sobek – He was a crocodile god and was worshipped at the Faiyum and Ombos. During the middle Kingdom he coalesced with Re, Sobek-Re, and was worshipped as primordial deity and creator-god. Thoth – He was worshipped as a baboon in Hermopolis. He was the god of sacred writings and wisdom.|