by Rick Riordan
I have previously reviewed The Red Pyramid and The Throne of Fire, the first two books in the Kane Chronicles series.
Apophis is rising, and in three days he’ll be strong enough to plunge the entire world into chaos. The wicked snake must be stopped, but without the help of the dead magician Setne Carter and Sadie have no chance of defeating him. Setne is a dangerous ally, for he is black-hearted and untrustworthy, but he is the only one who knows the magic spells necessary to defeat Apophis. With the help of gods like Isis and Horus, and their friends Zia and Walt, the Kane siblings must save the world from the god of chaos and destruction.
The Serpent’s Shadow is a satisfying end to the trilogy, but the actual reading experience wasn’t always enjoyable. This is definitely one of Riodan’s weakest books. There were two flaws I picked out in my reviews of the first two books in the series that continued to plague the story:
- According to the author’s introduction, the book is actually a transcription of an audio recording sent to him by the Kanes. Ignoring the larger question of why would the Kanes send recordings to the author instead of simply writing the book themselves, I don’t think this format supports the story well. The only evidence within the story that the book is a “recording” is that Carter and Sadie snipe back and forth at each other in snarky little asides. It doesn’t serve any purpose, and it sure is annoying.
- It seemed like every important plot development had to be dragged out over several chapters as conversations were constantly interrupted right before the critical detail was revealed. Once or twice in a book, this does heighten suspense, but when it’s every other chapter it just drives me nuts!
There’s a lot more romance than I expected in this book. Sadie Kane, especially, has been crushing on two guys and her affections for both ramp up considerably throughout The Serpent’s Shadow. The ultimate resolution for this tangle of affection is rather strange and convenient.
The book is left wide open to further adventures and/or crossovers with Riordan’s other series. It makes me wonder if Riordan’s planning to toss the Kane siblings into one of the later books in the Heroes of Olympus series…but maybe he just wanted to leave open the possibility of returning to these characters at some point in the future. I hope at some point he does bring them into confrontation with another batch of deities – maybe the Norse series he’s announced he’ll work on next? I’m very curious to see how the gods of different cultures will interact and be reconciled with each other.
3 out of 5 stars
To read more about The Serpent’s Shadow, buy it or add it to your wishlist click here.
Peeking into the archives...today in:
2012: The Winter Palace: A Novel of Catherine the Great by Eva Stachiak
2011: Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin
2010: Possessed by Kate Cann
2009: The Last Days of Krypton by Kevin J. Anderson