I spent Sunday afternoon at Borders, soaking up the free air-conditioning and finishing The Throne of Fire, the second book in Rick Riordan's Kane Chronicles. The background music was dreadful, but I drowned it out with one of the Harry Potter soundtracks on my iPod. I even got a free iced raspberry-white chocolate mocha sample while reading! I clearly need to spend more summer afternoons hanging out at Borders.

Anyway, on to the book. It's the sequel to The Red Pyramid, which I read this time last year, and it was just as much fun. In the months since their first adventure, Carter and Sadie Kane have learned more magic and begun to teach other kids with magical heritage who've turned up at Brooklyn House in response to their call (the first book). I don't want to say too much about their mission in this book because it would largely spoil the end of the first one. But danger and apocalypse are fast approaching once again, and the Kanes have only four days to collect magic scrolls from far-flung locales, fight off an evil ice cream man, celebrate Sadie's birthday and, of course, save the world. Riordan really doesn't like to give his characters much time to complete their quests, but the looming deadlines do keep the action coming; there's truly never a dull moment.

Just as in The Red Pyramid, I immensely enjoyed the shifting narration between Carter and Sadie, complete with parenthetical bickering. Both siblings are growing up fast in the face of intense responsibility, but they're still young teenagers, and there are plenty of funny, awkward and/or endearing moments where that's completely apparent. My one complaint about this book is that Bast isn't in enough of it, though she'd probably have to be on every page for me to find it enough. Yeah, she really is that awesome. But she does send another god friend to look after Sadie and Carter on this adventure, and he's great too, though in a totally different way.

As I've said before, thank goodness Riordan is so prolific! I'm looking forward to the conclusion of the Kane Chronicles next summer, and in the meantime, I only have to wait a few more months for the next book in his Heroes of Olympus series :) I'll be haunting the library's website until I can place a hold on The Son of Neptune, as well as Heat Rises and The Gray Wolf Throne (the third book in Cinda Williams Chima's Seven Realms series). There certainly are a lot of books to look forward to this fall!


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