Monday, October 11, 2010

The Red Pyramid

My older children and I have greatly enjoyed Percy Jackson and the Olympians, a series of books about the Greek gods in contemporary world by Rick Riordan. So, when my son came home from a library book club excited about a new series of books “Just like Percy Jackson Mom, but with the Egyptian gods!”, I looked forward to reading the book too.

The Red Pyramid is the first book in The Kane Chronicles, the newest series by Rick Riordan. My son read it first, and loved it. I read it next, and was horrified.

Don’t get me wrong: Riordan is a wonderful writer. He writes The Kane Chronicles from the perspective of Sadie and Carter, two siblings who don’t see much of each other. Carter travels the world with his father, while Sadie lives with her grandparents in London. On their biannual visit to Sadie, Carter and his father take Sadie to a museum. Something strange happens, and Carter’s dad vanishes. Carter and Sadie escape, and end up discovering some pretty strange stuff about their parents - and their heritage as descendants of the ancient Egyptian pharaohs.

Riordan included some great themes about courage, family and loyalty in this book. So what horrifies me? The relationship between Carter, Sadie and the Egyptian gods.

Carter and Sadie discover they have great power because they each have an Egyptian god inside them. They travel great distances in short amounts of time, they converse with these gods in their minds, and learn the gods’ perspective on world history.

Their experiences are too close to reality for my taste. And not enough reality as well. At the end of the book, the children take off their Egyptian amulets, and walk away from the Egyptian gods, for now.

Please understand the perspective from which I am writing. As a Christian, I believe that there is real evil in this world. I believe Satan is real, and that demons are real. And I believe that demons can inhabit people. And from what I’ve read in the Bible, and from what I’ve read about other people’s experiences with demons, it is impossible to just decide to walk away from them when they’ve started to inhabit you.

The experiences Carter and Sadie have in The Red Pyramid are eerily similar to experiences I have read former witch doctors describe in other books. That fact alone is enough for me to caution parents and children greatly against this book and this series.

Does this mean I will forbid my children from reading them? No, but I will require that I read it too and we discuss the book when we’re done. I would rather they know what other people are reading and talking about and what a Biblical perspective of that is, than to completely shelter them from it. And, I will require them to read the books about witch doctors I mentioned earlier, so they can see the similarities themselves.

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