The Serpent’s Shadow, by Rick Riordan

He’s b-a-a-ack! Despite their best efforts, Carter and Sadie Kane can’t seem to keep Apophis, the chaos snake, down. Now Apophis is threatening to plunge the world into eternal darkness, and the Kanes are faced with the impossible task of having to destroy him once and for all. Unfortunately, the magicians of the House of Life are on the brink of civil war, the gods are divided, and the young initiates of Brooklyn House stand almost alone against the forces of chaos. The Kanes’ only hope is an ancient spell that might turn the serpent’s own shadow into a weapon, but the magic has been lost for a millennia. To find the answer they need, the Kanes must rely on the murderous ghost of a powerful magician who might be able to lead them to the serpent’s shadow . . . or might lead them to their deaths in the depths of the underworld. Nothing less than the mortal world is at stake when the Kane family fulfills its destiny in this thrilling conclusion to the Kane Chronicles.

 

So this is it then… the final book of the Kane trilogy! I’ve got so many thoughts on this one, so bear with me while I struggle to put them in order. The final instalment was, much like its predecessor, a bit underwhelming. If I’m being honest I never felt like Apophis was such a huge threat to begin with. Now did that take away from the story? Normally, it wouldn’t have. For me, as long as there is a plot and a proper character development, action scenes are secondary. I did, however, feel like the action sequences and the battle scenes in this one were meant to be seen as impressive and exciting. Unfortunately, they weren’t.

The best part of the Serpent’s Shadow was, once again, its characters. Riordan has created a phenomenal cast of characters, one that you love and care for. Especially in this one, as they were approaching Doomsday and had to make some pretty tough decisions, I couldn’t help but realise how much I love the Kanes and how deeply I rooted for them. I think I can easily say Carter is my favourite of the two, because in his face I’ve found a character that combines Percy Jackson’s bravery and selflessness with Nico di Angelo’s shyness and protectiveness. At some points he reminded me so much of Nico, I was tempted to put the book down and re-read the Percy Jackson series all over again.

To be honest I saw the Walt/Anubis twist coming from a mile away, but it was still one of the most exciting parts of the book for me; precisely because I was curious how Riordan was going to pull this one off. I think he handled the issue in a very interesting way and I’d love to read a short story or a novella or whatever from Walt’s perspective at some point.

In conclusion? It was an okay book. I still think the first one was the strongest read of the series, but as the characters progressed and grew I can’t say I didn’t love the sequels as well. It was very exciting to see the Gods of Egypt – deities that I’m not as familiar with as I was with Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods – and how they were woven into modern-day world.

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