More Books Like Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan
Marissa Moss‘s The Pharaoh’s Secret is a departure from her popular Amelia’s Notebook series but what a great departure it is … along the likes of Rick Riordan’s The Kane Chronicles: The Red Pyramid, but I actually think this book is better than Riordan’s which surprises even me because I love his work deeply!
My kids’ elementary school had a book fair last week and each of my kids got some cash and went shopping at school. Scholastic was the fundraising partner with our PTO earning 50% of the revenue plus other cash and prizes. My oldest bought this for me saying, “I think you will like this book!” So when I headed off to KidLitCon 2010 in Minneapolis a few days ago, I took it for the plane ride. Actually, first I tried to unhand her from Riordan’s The Lost Olympian but 1) she would not unhand the book, 2) she was on the last few chapters so not a good time to stop, and 3) she reminded me that the hardback is a heavy book. (She finished it by my return the next day and raved about it and now it’s on my pile to read).
I’ll admit that I’m a little obsessed with Egypt. My husband and I both devoured the 5 book series, Ramses by Christian Jacq (which would be appropriate for kids who like historical fiction set in Ancient Egypt — sweet spot is around ages 12 and older). Naguib Mahfouz’s Place Walk Nobel prize-winning trilogy is anther favorite with added bonus points for giving the reader insight into contemporary Egypt. In fact, this trilogy is the Egyptian version of One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez in that the characters and stories are metaphors for the history of that country, a feat that won both authors accolades and prestigious awards. Didn’t both win the Nobel prize?
Anyway, I digress. I LOVED The Pharaoh’s Secret. It’s an action-packed-very-similar-but-better The Red Pyramid. Why?
- Both books focus on Ancient Egypt history and mythology but The Pharaoh’s Secret centers around just one small segment in time, the female Pharaoh Hatshepsut. This narrowed scope works better as it’s less confusing than trying to cover the entire ancient history of Egypt as The Red Pyramid attempts to do. The storyline is historically correct and centers around court intrigue between Hatshepsut, her single, handsome but common born architect Senenmut, the jealous vizier Hapuseneb, and her daughter Neferure.
- Time travel, new found adult relatives who may or may not be trustworthy, a secret lineage, and mysteries to solve figure into both books.
- The loss of a parent is a central theme in both books. And, in both cases, it’s mom. Interesting parallel.
- And dad, in both books, is an Egyptologist. Hmmm. Will the similarities never end?
- The fate of the world, as in Good vs. Evil, is at stake in The Red Pyramid. In The Pharaoh’s Secret, an ancient family feud must be settled to set the world right.
And the differences?
- Newly acquired super powers versus ordinary mortal gifts of intelligence and perseverance.
- Romance in one book is deep in the past while in another, it’s with the contemporary crew.
I would not say to read The Pharaoh’s Secret OVER The Red Pyramid. Actually, I’d recommend reading both. And then compare/contrast. Maybe at a book club or in the classroom? There are more differences to spot, but I leave that to the reader to discover because it’s that half the fun of reading both books. And enjoy the ride because they are both good reads! This book would be appropriate for ages 8 and up. This book would be particularly enjoyable for kids who loved the Percy Jackson series and are searching desperately for more similar books to read. I also think homeschoolers might like to go deep into this subject by reading both books and then study Ancient Egypt, followed up by a trip to a museum with a good collection of Ancient Egyptian artifacts.
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BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.