Alice Liu's Reviews > The Serpent's Shadow

The Serpent's Shadow by Rick Riordan
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May 07, 2012

it was amazing
Read from May 08 to 09, 2012 — I own a copy

The Kane Chronicles are my favorite of Rick Riordan's books, partly because of the equal time shared between Sadie and Carter (the male and female characters) and partly because the characters aren't judged by the way they look: Someone as ugly as Bes can be loved by both a hippo and cat god. Instead, individuals are assessed by what they have and how they choose to use it - you may have a hatchet for a head, but are you going to kill me? The other think I love is that the Gods are not always separate from the people: They integrate with various people and then choices are made by the two sides...albeit, usually after a power struggle of sorts. Riordan's books are the first time I wasn't put off by mythology, because he makes mythology part of our real lives...our struggles and choices.

The brother and sister team of Sadie and Carter have just the right amount of snark between them without going overboard. At one point, when Sadie realizes Walt's curse is about to kill him, she becomes argumentative and irrational through her grief. However, no matter what she feels emotionally, or no matter what she says in the moment, she doesn't lose track of the larger mission. Many other authors use emotional outbreaks as a delay tactic which gets their characters in trouble - it's maddening, really, and I'm glad Riordan doesn't succumb to that cheap tactic.

Finally, the ultimate theme of "The Serpent's Shadow" (for me, at least) is that Sadie and Carter are here to teach initiates how to walk the path of the Gods. It's a metaphor on how we imbue ourselves with the powers that we admire, rather than looking to others to solve our problems for us. I especially liked how ultimately the enemy is defeated not by destroying the physical body but by destroying the influence--by stepping out of the shadows of our legacies, we destroy the power they have over us.

I certainly hope we continue with Sadie and Carter with the "other gods" that are mentioned at the end. It's been a fun journey.
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