"We only have a few hours, so listen carefully. If you're hearing this story, you're already in danger. Sadie and I might be your only chance."
So begins The Kane Chronicles, an Urban Fantasy series by Rick Riordan that follows in the vein of his Percy Jackson and the Olympians and The Heroes of Olympus books. The three books in the series, The Red Pyramid, The Throne of Fire and The Serpent's Shadow all take the larger Egyptian mythology and transplants it to a western setting. Other books in the series include the companion book The Kane Chronicles Survival Guide and the short story The Son of Sobek. Another short story, The Staff of Serapis, was released in May 2014.This time, the story centers on siblings Carter and Sadie Kane who discover that they're descendants of ancient Egyptian magicians. This leads them to learning to master their powers while taking up the primary duty of a magician: fighting and banishing the gods once worshiped throughout Ancient Egypt. Some snags in the process include their only possible allies being out to kill them, ancient Egyptian monsters and figuring out how to defeat the god of evil himself.The books are told from both heroes' perspectives, instead of just one like its big sister series. The books are also revealed to take place in the same universe as Percy Jackson's tale does, with small shout outs to the first series here and there. The tone of the books also shift slightly more towards Darker and Edgier as they go on, but it isn't much of a slide from the first or second books.A graphic novel adaptation of the first book has been released. See here.
Chekhov's Sequel Hook At the end of the trilogy, it's implied that the next thing the Kanes will be doing is investigating some "unexplained magic" on Long Island. Who do we know that practices magic on Long Island? Carter investigates this occurrence in the audiobook The Son of Sobek, and bumps into Percy Jackson, who is doing the same thing. Naturally, they mistake each other for a rogue magician and an evil demigod and duke it out, but eventually call a truce to face the titular giant crocodile. The audiobook ends with Carter giving Percy a means of contacting him if he ever needs help.
Big Bad: Set thinks he is this in the first book, but is really a pawn of Apophis, the real Big Bad.
Bland-Name Product: In the graphic novel of The Red Pyramid, Khufu eats "HappyOs," which was probably done because they actually show the box, whereas the original book merely mentions "Cheerios." The box, though, looks almost exactly like a regular box of Cheerios, right down to the stylized "G" that is the General Mills logo.
Body and Host: When a magician is being possessed by a god they are known as "hosts" or "godlings". Can have shades of body snatching, as the god is sometimes able to forcibly take control of their host's body.
But Not Too Black: While both Carter and Sadie are biracial, Sadie is described as having lighter skin and hair. Most people don't realize they are family when they first meet them.
But Not Too Foreign: Sadie was born and raised in America until age 6, where she was moved to England to live with her grandparents. That said, she acts more or less like a native-born Brit, and her chapters are written in British English.
Brother-Sister Team: Carter and Sadie. Having been separated for around six years prior to the beginning of the story, it takes them a little while to get into the hang of things, but they do.
Cannot Spit It Out: Walt never manages to explain just what he and Anubis have been discussing but that's mostly Sadie's fault.
Anubis: Couldn't get a word in edgewise?
Calling Card: In The Serpent's Shadow, Apophis leaves the Egyptian hieroglyph for chaos wherever he destroys a Nome.
The Cavalry: In the third book, the elderly and mostly senile gods from the House of Rest, along with Tawaret and the newly restored Bes charge a horde of demons to rescue the main heroes.
Chekhov's Gunman: The Russian boy Sadie briefly encounters in the second book has important information in the third.
The Chessmaster: Apophis. How much? He doesn't even appear until the end of the book and he very nearly tricks Set-a god of Chaos-into blowing up the world for him.
Iskandar is the good version.
Cool Sword: Carter's khopesh. Like all of Riordan's stuff, its a case of Shown Their Work, as the khopesh is a real sword used by the ancient Egyptians. Carter uses the hook of the blade to give himself leverage not possible with a normal sword.
CPR (Clean, Pretty, Reliable): Averted in The Throne of Fire, at least the "pretty" part. When Carter Kane does it on Zia, she immediately tries to punch him upon being revived.
Crossover Cosmology: Although the book only focuses on the Egyptian gods, Thoth mentions that he gets mistaken for the Greek god Hermes and having meet him, and Amos mentions that Manhattan has its own gods, a reference to the Greek gods from Percy Jackson and the Olympians.
Monsters also bite it the same way. Turn into sand upon their death but now we know why it takes a bit to come back.
The Kane Chronicles also have something similar to PJO's Mist, causing monsters and supernatural items to be invisible or to appear as ordinary animals or objects.
Moses also makes an appearance in the history hallway.
At the beginning of The Throne Of Fire, Carter mentions that he's seen winged horses across the river in Manhattan.
In the short story The Son of Sobek Carter teams up with Percy Jackson but they are very careful to avoid revealing too much about their respective worlds, sensing that they're supposed to remain separate.
The upcoming The Staff of Serapis will feature Sadie teaming up with Annabeth Chase.
Kind of. The gods prefer to take host from certain bloodlines with powerful magic that usually contain at least one pharaoh at some point in time or another. But it's unclear if the gods preferred them because they were pharaohs or if they ended up becoming pharaohs specifically because they could host the gods.
A bit of both The greatest pharaohs were those capable of hosting the gods; so the gods preferred their descendants because they were strong enough to be hosts.
Expy: The series is very similar to Percy Jackson and the Olympians, another series by the same author. One who has read both can easily tell that the characters are alike (apart from the same universe and the same writing style).
You have a smart, but shy Carter as Annabeth. A Book Dumb (but not stupid) and sarcastic Sadie as Percy (except she is more outgoing). Anubis also is the god of the afterlife as Nico is the son of the god of death and both lived...for a very long time.
French Jerk: Desjardins. Although not so much when he execrates Apophis, thus sacrficing his life to to so.
Fighting a Shadow: Shabtis can be used to create "stand ins" for real magicians. The Zia after the museum incident is also one. The real one is hidden. In "Throne of Fire" she's saved from The Place of Red Sands.
You can also use shadows for more effective execration.
Jerk Ass Gods: Averted, a few like Set and Khonsu are major jerks and a few others have their moments,but most tend to be fairly respectful of mortals,compared to the Greek Gods at the least, with Ra being pretty much an ideal grandfather.
Kid Hero: Carter, Sadie, Zia, and all the kids at Brooklyn House.
Kindhearted Cat Lover: Bast loves cats and likes being in her cat form. The cats of the world respond in kind by bringing her information or helping her out in various ways.
Let's You and Him Fight: In the audiobook Son of Sobek, Carter crosses paths with PercyJackson while they are both hunting the titular giant crocodile, and they get into a fight when Percy mistakes Carter for a rogue demigod.
Lovecraftian Superpower: Bes's trademark superpower is the ability to distort his face hideously to scare his enemies. It WORKS. GAH. His "Dwarf Pride" Speedos help.
In The Red Pyramid Amos throws sand into the air which forms into an arrow pointing to Las Cruces. It even seems to tell him how far it is. Sadie apparently has learned something similar by the second book.
In The Serpent's Shadow they find Apophis' shadow using the Book of Thoth, which Carter describes as a combination compass, tour guide, and farmer's almanac.
Magic Knight: Carter, Zia and many other magicians of the House of Life, especially those who specialize in combat magic. Several of the gods and monsters of the series also display a combination of magical and combat prowess.
In The Red Pyramid the Egyptian Queen navigates into the Land of the Dead via a map called Spells of Coming Forth by Day, a.k.a. The Book of the Dead.
In The Serpent's Shadow the First Nome is shown to have a map of the world showing clay figurines being destroyed as loyal magicians are lost. It's not clear if it's the map itself that's magic or the figures, but it could well be both.
Male Gaze: Carter finds it difficult to look the overendowed hippopatamus goddess Tawaret in the face.
Marked to Die: Julius knew he would be possessed by Osiris, and eventually end up "dead" as the host for the Lord of the Dead. Walt's family is also cursed to die young and using magic speeds up the process.
Mook-Face Turn: While invading Vlad the Inhaler's territory, the siblings encounter a teenage Russian magician who they manage to scare off without having to engage. He later comes back to repay the favor, joining Brooklyn House in standing against Apophis and bringing the kids a crucial piece of information.
Mr. Fanservice: Anubis. Passages describing his appearance are worth rereading just for the beautiful mental image.
Near Villain Victory: At the end of The Serpent's Shadowboth the book's prelude and the oft-mentioned ancient prophecies get fulfilled when Apophis manages to swallow Ra. Of course, when Apophis gets erased from existence 3 pages later Ra tumbles down completely unscathed.
Nice Job Breaking It Carter: In the end, Apophis being destroyed also causes the gods to retreat, because of some sort of Yin-Yang system.
Noodle Incident: Carter and Sadie's actions while recording are often briefly described as such.
Also, the "Spatula Incident," a past fight between Carter and Sadie's father and their maternal grandparents.
And the time that their Julius punched his father-in-law in the face.
No Such Thing as Wizard Jesus: Averted in another important religious figure- it is made very clear that Moses was actually a magician. On top of that, a comment from Bes in The Throne of Fire suggests that one of his miracles, the parting of the Red Sea, was something any magician from Ancient Egypt could've done.
Although gods are manifestly real, All Myths Are True, and Moses was apparently a badass enough wizard that he's the only outsider ever to best the House of Life, so it certainly be said to work anyway.
Additionally, it is implied that "other magic" is just how the Egyptians describe the power of foreign gods.
Official Couple: Julius and Ruby, Carter and Zia, Sadie and Walt/Anubis, and Bes and Tawaret (although Tawaret is supposed to be the wife of Apophis...)
Oh My Gods!: Averted as Sadie frequently says "Oh my God," and "God," throughout the book, but played straight with Bast and others more familiar with Ancient Egypt.
Zia's preferred usage is "Gods of Egypt..."
Power Trio: Carter and Sadie along with Bast, Zia, Amos...
Reassigned to Antarctica: The House of Life has 360 nomes (That is, places that members can be assigned to) the first is Egypt, where it was founded. 360 is literally Antarctica, populated only by "a few cold magicians and some magic penguins."
Rebel Leader: Sarah Jacobi and her head lieutenant Kwai are major thorns in the Kane's sides. They and their group are secondary antagonists in the latter books.
Red Herring: Set tricks Carter and Sadie into thinking that Desjardins is his host. It's really Amos.
Red Oni, Blue Oni/Sibling Yin-Yang: It can actually go either way. Normally, Sadie, being more brash in contrast to reserved and bookish Carter, clearly seems to be the red. However, Carter shows more of the impulsiveness seen in the "red" when in combat partially due to being the host of the warrior god Horus.
Running Gag: Magic penguins and the elemental magic of cheese.
Sadly Mythtaken: In all fairness, most of the liberties taken with the myths were probably to make the whole thing less...incestuous, but there is one mistake: Ammit the Devourer should be female.
This is actually lampshaded in The Serpent's Shadow.
Word of God states that they are in the same universe, and that the events of The Red Pyramid happen almost directly after the events of The Last Olympian.
Drew and Lacy, daughters of Aphrodite, go to the same school as Sadie and the other magicians of Brooklyn House. Sadie comments that Lacy mentioned their 'summer camp' that they attended. She also mentions investigating reports of magic activity on Long Island.
A short story at the end of the paperback edition of The Serpent's Shadow is an outright crossover between the two series.
Summon to Hand: Carter can pull his khopesh out of the Duat if he needs it. It takes some time to get down pat but he can do it effortlessly by the time of the third book. Sadie is much less adept at this.
Super Mode: Carter, other combat magicians and most gods have a combat avatar, a gigantic energy form that surrounds them and gives them enhanced strength and durability at the cost of being slow and requiring a lot of energy to sustain.