Book Review: Rick Riordan’s The Throne of Fire

Posted September 6, 2011 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews, Middle-Grade readers

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Rick Riordan’s The Throne of Fire

The Throne of Fire


Rick Riordan

fantasy that was published by Disney-Hyperion on May 3, 2011 and has 452 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include The Sea of Monsters, The Titan's Curse, The Battle of the Labyrinth, The Last Olympian, The Red Pyramid, The Lost Hero, Cold Springs, The Son of Neptune, The Mark of Athena, The Serpent's Shadow, House of Hades, The Blood of Olympus, The Hidden Oracle, The Sword of Summer, The Hammer of Thor, The Ship of the Dead

Second in the Kane Chronicles urban fantasy for children revolving around the Egyptian culture of gods and goddesses. The main focus of the series is the contention between the Kane family and the House of Life over whether the gods should be brought back or not.

My Take

As much as I enjoyed the general story, a great deal of it was just irritating. Well, actually, Sadie was the one who was so incredibly irritating. Selfish, impulsive, and something of a brat. The world is going to end in five days, they’ve only recovered one of the three lost bits of the Book of Ra and Sadie wants to take the day off to go to London and celebrate her birthday with her two best friends, Emma and Liz. Then she commences to whine her way through and complain about old people — very disrespectful.

On a positive note, it’s a great way to learn more about the religion practiced by the ancient Egyptians and its gods and goddesses. And I did enjoy how Riordan manages to grab the essence of kids while giving them responsibility and independence along with some great adventures. I do enjoy the snarky comments from Sadie and Carter as they squabble like normal siblings…too funny!

Riordan does use a rather unique method of storytelling. He has Carter and Sadie recording the tale on a tape and squabbling as they scramble for the microphone to give their version.

Do be sure to read the Author’s Note at the end…I do love Riordan’s immersion into the story!

The Story

Apophis, through his human agent, sets trap after trap for the Kanes and their followers as Carter and Sadie struggle to find the missing bits of the Book of Ra. The world will end in five days at the spring equinox unless the Kanes can bring Ra back to battle against Apophis.

They’ve found one part of the scroll but then Sadie is attacked in London by Nekhbet (vulture goddess) and Babi (baboon god), rescued by Bes only to fly off to hunt the second bit of the Book of Ra in Russia to almost drown off the coast of Greece. Hints from both allies and enemies send Carter and Sadie off in different directions hunting the third and final bit of the Book of Ra and to rescue Zia.

But finding the hidden sections of the Book of Ra is only the beginning, the Kanes must puzzle out the riddles and find Ra before the enemy frees Apophis.

Ma’at is the order of the universe; Chaos is its opposite.

The Characters

The House of Life is led by Michel Desjardins, Chief Lector and master of the First Nome. The Hall of Ages is the main reception room at its main headquarters under Cairo. House of Life magicians consider the Kanes rogue magicians. All members of the House of Life, rogue or not, are descendants of a royal Egyptian bloodline which gives them “a natural capacity for magic and hosting the power of the gods”.

Carter and Sadie Kane are brother and sister as well as descendants of two royal bloodlines. At the end of Red Pyramid, they sent out a request for others like them to come to Brooklyn and learn how to use their magic. Love life-wise, Carter loves Zia while Sadie is torn between Walt and Anubis. Freaky is the griffin they’ve sort of inherited after they broke into the Brooklyn Museum. Gran and Gramps are the Kanes’ London-based maternal grandparents and had custody of Sadie while their father took Carter with him on his digs.

Amos is Carter and Sadie’s paternal uncle. After rescuing them in London after their father’s death, he transported them to Brooklyn via Egyptian barque where he taught them enough to survive and learn their magic and beat the Red Pyramid after which he returned to Cairo for healing.

Ranging in age from nine to fifteen, the children who respond to Sadie and Carter’s request include Walt who prefers to use charms, has a rather deathly secret, and some power he can’t explain; Jaz who specializes in healing; Felix who thinks penguins will solve everything; Julian who had chosen the path of Horus, the warrior; Alyssa is studying the path of Geb, the earth god; Sean; and, Cleo is the future librarian.

Zia Rashid is the girl, well, Carter thought she was a real girl, with whom he fell in love but she turned out to be a shabti and then Iskandar, the old Chief Lector, stole her away and hid her from everyone. Carter is desperate to find her and jeopardizes the entire mission in going after her.

Khufu is a baboon who resides in the Brooklyn branch of the House of Life and helps the Kanes. He only eats food that ends in “O” and conveys a wide range of meanings with a grunt.

Vladimir Menshikov, the evil ice cream vendor, is the descendant of a Russian Prince who once imprisoned Bes. He’s the third most powerful magician in the House of Life and is plotting against…everyone.

The Egyptian gods include:

  • Ra, the sun god and the Lord of Order, retired thousands of years ago leaving the throne to Isis and Osiris; although we learn the true story in Throne of Fire
  • Apophis, Lord of Chaos. Imprisoned by the gods, Set plans to free Apophis upon which Apophis will swallow the sun, i.e., end the world.
  • Bast is the goddess of protection and cats and was disguised as Sadie’s cat, Muffin, for ages and now she’s sticking around to protect Sadie and Carter.
  • Bes is the god of dwarves and his might weapon is BOO. Well, that and how incredibly ugly he is…especially in a Speedo. At Bast’s behest, he starts out helping the Kanes grudgingly but grows to care for them due to the qualities they display in the fight.
  • Tarawet, the hippo goddess, is mostly important for how much she loves Bes.
  • Osiris is the blue-skinned god of the underworld…and the Kane children’s father.
  • Anubis is the jackal-headed god of the dead who appears to Sadie as a hunky teenager, a godly James Dean. He appears to be in love with her, helping her where he can.
  • Horus is the falcon-headed god whose avatar Carter has worn before; he tempts Carter with taking up the crook and the flail, taking the throne, because Horus himself wants to be pharaoh again.
  • Set is a god of storms, conflict, evil and allied with Apophis against Horus and Ra although he seems to be rather mischievous as well.
  • Isis is the goddess of motherhood, fertility, and magic. Osiris was both her brother and her husband; Horus was her son. She persuaded Ra to step down from his throne and retire.

The Cover and Title

The cover gives a pretty good indication of the adventures within as Sadie and Carter, replicating Ra’s nightly voyage past the Twelve Houses with Ra’s throne of fire blazing in recreated glory, ride Ra’s broken-down barge down the river into the Duat as they head to the Fourth House.

The Throne of Fire is Ra’s throne when he was pharaoh. When he retired, his chair died.