Rick Riordan’s The Red Pyramid: The Kane Chronicles – on Tape

If you thought Rick Riordan’s adventures were exciting to read, listening to them will have you forgetting where you are – transporting you to a world with shimmering cities, waxy gnomes, and powerful beings.

Although I am a fan of Riordan’s stories – Percy Jackson and the Olympians: the Lightning Thief  is a favorite – I had not expected how exciting the story would be when I listened instead of read.  A savvy librarian suggested I try the first book of the “Kane Chronicles” – what an adventure – a brother and sister saving the world.

The British tones of Sadie, the twelve-year-old heroine who grew up with her grandparents in London, added humor to the scary confrontations with Egyptian gods and dead pharaohs – especially when she invoked her own style of pre-teen views of the world.  Her brother Carter’s American voice vacillated between fourteen year old bravado and the man he would someday become (manifested by the ancient god Horace inside him).

Riordan’s personified images – the sky as a starry woman, the earth as a sand-filled man – came to life through mesmerizing voices.  The wonders of seeing Washington, D.C. from a falcon’s view, the terror of flaming monsters, the peace of flying through the air to other places – while the body stayed asleep – changed dreams into reality as the characters’ described their exploits.

Sometimes the story was scary – but always fun.  And, of course, the heroes beat back the villains in the end.  This is the first book in the series, so many more adventures have followed.

Listening to them feels right.

J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter

When one of the cable channels aired a biopic of J.K. Rowling, it seemed a good time to revisit the first Harry Potter.  I have the complete set on my bookshelf, and it’s comforting to know that a single mother down on her luck was able to imagine a world of wizards and magic that would make a better place.  Maybe it helps to be angry and tired to tap into words that are consoling.

You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you…Ray Bradbury

Rowling was talented and imaginative and lucky.  Other books have offered entrance into a magical world – sometimes wizards – but none had the following of Harry Potter. Rick Riordan’s superheroes series comes close in popularity, but Percy doesn’t seem to have the same appeal to adults as Harry.

Rowling cleverly gave the reader installments that teased into an excitement of expectation.  What would happen to Harry in the next book?  And the formula worked well –  a poor orphan who was relegated to an unloving home, only to find himself a prince of the extraordinary.  Doesn’t every little girl and boy – and adult – dream of being discovered and powerful?

Rereading Harry and the Sorcerer’s Stone was just as much fun as reading it the first time – maybe more so since now I know how it will all end.