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Literature / The Kane Chronicles

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The Kanes doing what they do best.

"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, which is a crossover with the original Percy Jackson. Another short story, The Staff of Serapis, was released in May 2014. The third and final story in the crossover, The Crown of Ptolemy, was released with the House of Hades paperback in March 2015 and as a standalone e-book in May 2015. During his The Sword Of Summer book tour in 2015 Rick Riordan declared the completion of the short stories as their own book Demigods & Magicians.

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.

Graphic novel adaptations of all three books have been released in 2012, 2015 and 2017. Two supplementary books have also been released, The Kane Chronicles: Survival Guide on March 20, 2012 and Brooklyn House Magician's Manual on May 1, 2018. In September of 2020, Riordan revealed- on TikTok, of all things- that the series would be adapted into a series of Netflix original movies.

No relation to Karl Edward Wagner 's mystic Gothic Kane Series.

This series provides examples of:

  • Academy of Adventure: After The Kanes get Brooklyn House up and running again, it becomes this.
  • Action Girl: Sadie, Zia, Neith, and Bast. To an extent, Tawaret.
  • Adventure Duo: Carter and Sadie need each other to get anywhere. Carter's knowledge of Egyptology and Sadie's ability to read hieroglyphs are just the tip of this iceberg.
  • Ancient Grome: Some of the gods' names used are actually the Greek translations, including five of the main gods (Horus, Isis, Osiris, and Nephthys), Anubis, Thoth, Apophis, etc. However, others do use the (approximated) Egyptian spellings, including Set, Bast, Bes, and Khonsu. It may be justified as most people are more familiar with the Greek versions, since anyone would hardly connect with "Anupev" or "Ausir" for example, not to mention the Egyptian spellings being hazy and mere educated guesses, in contrast to the already-certain Greek translation.
    • Fridge Brilliance: Egypt was ruled by the Ptolemaic dynasty, after all. Maybe the Egyptians adopted the Greek names and got stuck with them years after their rule came to an end. Possibly.
    • This is also somewhat of a Justified Trope - in the first book, Carter and Sadie run into Thoth, who mentions his Egyptian pronunciation ("Je-hoot-ee") but also points out that translating his Egyptian name into English or Greek characters is very hard if not flat out impossible to do.
  • Animorphism: In addition to the obvious, sometimes the various gods will do so by possessing one of their sacred animals. Bast's main host is Muffin the cat, and in The Throne of Fire Horus talks to Carter through a pigeon.
  • Alliterative Name: Carter Kane.
  • All Myths Are True: In this case, Egyptian and a hint of Percy Jackson's Greek.
    • Moses is name-dropped too, as the only "foreign" magician to best The House Of Life in a magic duel.
  • Alpha Bitch: Drew in The Serpent Shadow. Not surprising, considering that she is also this (to a greater extent) in The Lost Hero.
  • Arab Beoble Talk: In The Throne of Fire, Sadie and Walt come across an oasis in an Egyptian desert while looking for clues regarding how to find Ra and find an ad for Pepsi, except that it, to Sadie's amusement, is spelled "Bebsi".
    Sadie: So we have to drink Bebsi after eating Bizza?
  • Art Initiates Life: Shelby, one of the youngest magicians, is briefly mentioned as having this power in The Serpent's Shadow.
  • Artistic License – Space: In The Serpent's Shadow Apophis is attacking nomes during nights of the new moon, when darkness is greatest. Carter says its attacks are timed for when the moon is at the top of its transit. But during the new moon, the top of the moon's transit is at noon.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: At the end of the series, Carter is crowned the Pharaoh of the House of Life.
  • Back from the Dead: Carter and Sadie think their dad was trying to bring their mother back. That wasn't completely true.
    • Bast, as a gift from the gods, at the end.
    • Walt appears to do this, but he actually just hosted Anubis at the last minute.
  • "Back to Camera" Pose: The typical pose for the protagonists on the covers, looking at the monsters / environments that are facing the camera, instead of facing the camera themselves.
  • Badass Army: Set's army of demons.
    • Sarah Jacobi's "hit squad" of magicians.
  • Badass Boast: "I am a magician of the house of life. We are TRAINED to fight gods."
    • Carter pulls off a pretty good one too in the first book: "I am Carter Kane! Blood of the Pharaohs, Eye of Horus! And now, Set - brother, uncle, traitor,- I am going to crush you like a gnat."
    • One of the few lines Khepri, Ra's morning aspect, gets, using Zia's mouth, is a strong contender for the most awesome line in the series: "I am Khepri, the rising sun. I will not be denied."
  • Badass Bookworm: Carter, Julius, and Amos.
  • Badass Family: The Kanes. Born to be strong.
  • Badass Longcoat: Walt/Anubis gets one at the end of The Serpent's Shadow.
  • Bedouin Rescue Service: Taking Carter to Zia's secret prison.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Elvis was a magician.
  • Big Applesauce: Amos' mansion is in Brooklyn. "Manhattan has other problems."
    • 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 short story 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 story 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.
  • Big Good: Before his death, Iskandar. He is replaced with Amos, who becomes the head of the House of Life after Desjardins' death in The Throne of Fire.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Desjardins seems to be this at least once per book. Also counts as Brought Down to Badass, as he manages to execrate Apophis in the second book.
    • Also, the retired gods of the Sunny Acres descend down the lower levels of Duat to assist Carter, Zia, and Sadie against the army of Chaos in The Serpent's Shadow.
  • Bill... Bill... Junk... Bill...: In The Red Pyramid, Doughboy is going over the books in Dejardin's library to find the one they need (the Book of Thoth):
    "No. No. Boring. Boring. Oh, Clive Cussler! No. No. There."
  • 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.
  • Book Dumb: Sadie, much to Carter's dismay.
  • Britain Is Only London: To be fair, Sadie did live there. Otherwise, averted when the characters visit other countries. In Russia, for example, they visit Saint Petersburg, not Moscow, and Egypt is practically explored in its entirety, just by virtue of having most of the second and third books being set there.
  • But Not Too Black: While both Carter and Sadie are biracial, Sadie is described as having lighter skin and hair, and in the third book, is described looking almost exactly like her mother. 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.
  • Captain Obvious: In The Throne of Fire, Sadie calls Carter this twice. First, after he comments that "The Duat is a strange place.", and second to herself when he points out that the crew of Ra's sun boat don't look happy with them.
  • Cast from Stamina: Magic seems to work like this.
  • 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.
  • Cessation of Existence: Good people go to Heaven while bad people get their souls eaten by Ammit and stop existing.
    • People who don't believe in an afterlife also stop existing when they die.
  • Cheerful Funeral: Sadie and Anubis at one point witness a funeral in New Orleans. At the time they arrive, the actual burial has already taken place, and the funeral has moved on to the stage where the mourners celebrate the life of the deceased with song, dance and revelry as they head away from the cemetery. This is a practice Anubis himself approves of, calling it "very Egyptian".
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Creator Provincialism: Very much averted, unlike its sister series. The series opens in London, where Carter meets with Sadie for the first time after years. While the first book mostly sticks in the US, the second book goes to Saint Petersburg, and later the characters arrive in Alexandria, Egypt so Sadie can cure Carter from the snake's poison. In fact, the third book, while opening a bit in Dallas, takes place almost entirely in Egypt, where the magicians have their final battle against Apophis.
  • Crossing the Desert: Sadie and Walt have a painful one in The Throne of Fire. Sadie states that she can almost hear Set laughing at her from somewhere in the distance (Set is the god of desert).
  • 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.
    • We also learn why monsters from all series take time to reform: their 'death' banishes them deep into the Duat.
    • The Crown of Ptolemy clarifies that the Mist from the Percy Jackson series is simply the first layer of the Duat, wrapped around the magical features of the world.
    • 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 Serpent's Shadow problems from other gods are predicted to come.
    • 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 Staff of Serapis features Sadie teaming up with Annabeth Chase.
    • The Crown of Ptolemy shows Percy, Annabeth, Carter and Sadie all teaming up against Setne.
  • Dawn of an Era: The kingship of the House of Life ended when the last pharaoh, Cleopatra VII, committed suicide; Iskandar even goes further by stating that the kingship already ended when Alexander the Great conquered Egypt, since he was followed by the Ptolemaic dynasty, who came from a foreign land, i.e. Greece. However, at the end of the series, Carter is able to claim the throne because of his deeds, not to mention being a descendant of the pharaohs and having hosted a god. The kingship is thus resumed again.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Sadie and Horus.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Comes up often regarding the Egyptian Deities. The most obvious is the Vulture Goddess Nekhbet, Protector of the Strong. It sounds like a joke about self justified power. But the gods primarily exist to preserve Order, and are not at all egalitarian.
  • Deus ex Machina: Bast returning at the end, but justified in that it was actually done by gods.
  • Direct Line to the Author: Riordan claims to have been presented with a series of audio recordings by Carter and Sadie Kane. These recordings often includes the sounds of them fighting over the microphone to present their version of a certain event, and Riordan includes them as part of the transcription.
  • Divine Assistance: Horus, Isis, Bast, Bes, and on occasion, other gods.
  • Divine Parentage: Carter and Sadie, obviously. The Blood of the Pharaohs.
    • 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.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Julius is described as being bald, with a goatee. His last name is Kane. He ends up ascending to a higher plane of existence. Hmmm...
  • Don't Think, Feel: Divine magic only works if it's involuntary. Think about it too much and nothing happens.
  • Dreaming of Times Gone By
  • Eldritch Abomination: Apophis, and to a lesser extent, the Set Animal.
  • Eldritch Location: The Duat. Also, deep beneath it, the Sea of Chaos.
  • Empathic Shapeshifter: The main protagonists can only transform into creatures that are sacred to their patron gods.
  • Eternal Recurrence: The natural state for Gods and monsters, and which the Egyptian Gods are specifically going out of their way to avoid by taking human hosts. Contrast Percy Jackson and the Olympians, which share a universe but where the Gods don't take steps to avoid this.
  • Evil Versus Oblivion: Why Set ultimately fights Apothis. While he is technically aligned with Chaos, he views his role as shaking things up and breaking old patterns. Apophis just wants to destroy everything.
  • Eye of Horus Means Egypt: In the series' title the word "Kane" is heavily stylized to resemble to the Eye Of Horus; true Horus is a major recurringCharacter, but it's still being used to symbolize the stories roots is Egyptian Mythology.
  • Eye Scream / Facial Horror: What happened to Menshikov when he tried and failed to awaken Ra.
  • 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.
    • When Percy meets Sadie in The Crown of Ptolemy he muses that if he and Annabeth had a daughter she'd be just like Sadie, with Annabeth's looks when she was younger and his own impulsiveness.
  • Feathered Serpent: The uraei are cobras with eagle wings, thankfully they are creatures of Ra.
  • For Want of a Nail: According to Carter, the entire known universe was saved by Ra saying the words "weasel cookie".
  • French Jerk: Desjardins. Although not so much when he execrates Apophis, thus sacrificing his life to to so.
  • Fiendish Fish: In The Red Pyramid, the inner part of the House of Life is surrounded by a moat filled with highly aggressive, meat-eating tigerfish.
  • 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.
  • Fighting from the Inside: Amos, trying to warn Carter and Sadie that he was really Set's host.
  • First-Person Smartass: Carter has his moments, but this is Sadie's default.
  • Foil: Carter and Sadie. They're brother and sister, but he's studious and reserved while she's loud and outgoing. The two of them are very aware of how different they are.
  • Gas Leak Cover-Up: In The Serpent's Shadow, it's mentioned that the accidental destruction often caused by the protagonists of the series is often blamed on gas explosions.
    Carter: The locals would just have to assume there was a gas explosion. We tended to cause a lot of those.
  • Genius Loci: The Sea of Chaos attracts anything that goes near it so they fall and dissolve.
  • The Great Serpent: Apophis, the Egyptian god of chaos, is a reality-warping Animalistic Abomination that takes the form of a cobra.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The Sea of Chaos.
  • Hammerspace: Just one of the many functions of the Duat. Carter keeps his khopesh inside it, and at the end of the first book the Djed amulet for other magicians to find.
  • Hammerspace Hideaway: People can pass through the Duat to get places. Carter and Sadie pass through at one point to bypass mundane security.
  • Head-in-the-Sand Management: Desjardins spends most of the book following the Cornelius Fudge school of crisis management; eventually he graduates to merely Divided We Fall.
  • Healing Serpent: Apophis, who's portrayed as a giant snake, surprisingly is this, though in a Deal with the Devil sort of way, by offering to cure Walt Stone of his curse.
    • Vladimir Menshikov, who has been secretly been a follower of Apophis, offers the Lanes the secret to curing Walt Stone of his curse if they kill Michel Desjardins and join Apophis.
    • Apophis healed Vladimir Menshikov's damaged throat, implied to be a side affect of becoming Apophis's host.
    • After doing a Fusion Dance, Apophis and Vladimir Menshikov offer again to cure Walt Stone of his curse if the Kanes give him/them the scarab that's Khepri.
  • Heroic BSoD: When Amos is freed from his possession from Set in the first book, he is so traumatized, he can't utter a single sentence. Makes you wonder just how Set managed to posses the poor dude. Thankfully, he recovers.
  • Heroic Lineage
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Bast, Ruby Kane, Julius Kane, Desjardins
  • Historical Rap Sheet: Among the various crimes that Sarah Jacobi has done that earned her a high-level bounty from the House of Life is causing the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: The real Setne was a highly respected religious/political figure in Ancient Egypt, with several myths written about him in which he is the hero.
  • I Am the Noun: Apophis declares in The Throne of Fire "I am chaos itself."
  • Idiot Hero: Sadie isn't nearly as dumb as other examples, but she's almost as reckless.
  • I Don't Pay You to Think: Set to Face of Horror in The Red Pyramid
    Face of Horror: But master, I thought...
    Set: Do not think, demon.
  • I Know Your True Name: This is how the heroes manage to enslave Set. Also how Sadie manages to cure Carter of poisoning.
    • In The Crown of Ptolemy Sadie tells Annabeth her own (Sadie's) true name, as this will temporarily empower Annabeth to perform Egyptian hieroglyph magic as Sadie does.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Set: "'The complete Set!' That's funny!"
    • In the middle of an evil monologue, no less.
    • In The Throne of Fire:
    "It's your best bet," [Bes] said.
    "Bes bet?" Khonsu chuckled. "Nice!"
    • When they met in person, Sadie said Anubis was "drop dead gorgeous".
    • Hapi pills in The Serpent's Shadow.
    • Doubling as a Stealth Pun, Vlad the Inhaler sounds a lot like Vlad the Impaler.
  • Instant Runes: Glowing Egyptian hieroglyphs appear in the air when spells are cast.
  • Insult Backfire:
    Carter: (About Sekhemet) She's almost as annoying as you.
    Horus: Impossible. No one bests Horus.
  • ...In That Order:
    Sadie (or was it Carter): ...and two of the most powerful magicians in the world, Michel Desjardins and Vlad the Inhaler, were ready to arrest me, try me, and execute me—not necessarily in that order.
  • In Which a Trope Is Described: Similar to Percy Jackson, the titles are like this.
    • 'Men Ask For Directions (and Other Signs of the Apocalypse)' is probably the best of these.
  • I Gave My Word: Bast, promising she'd protect Sadie. Led to her Heroic Sacrifice
  • Jerkass 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.
  • Kissing In A Tree: At one point in The Serpent's Shadow, Walt and Sadie are being pursued by the hunting goddess Neith and decide to a trick involving amulets that allow them to call themselves to each other's sides. When the trick first works, Sadie kisses Walt and narrates that she imagined the old school rhyme "Walt and Sadie / sitting in a tree / K-I-S-S-I-N-G," but notes that anyone would tease them is 5,000 years in the future (Neith having temporarily transported them to an illusion of the past.)
  • Kneel Before Frodo: In the conclusion to book 1, Horus kneels before Carter and Sadie in thanks for saving the world. All the other gods follow.
  • Language of Magic: It's Ancient Egyptian in this case. Though in practice, it functions more like Words Can Break My Bones (see its entry below).
  • Let's You and Him Fight: In the companion story Son of Sobek, Carter crosses paths with Percy Jackson while they are both hunting the titular giant crocodile, and they get into a fight when Percy mistakes Carter for a rogue demigod and Carter misunderstands the term "half-blood".
  • Lovecraftian Superpower: Bes's trademark superpower is the ability to distort his face hideously to scare his enemies. It WORKS. His "Dwarf Pride" Speedos help.
  • Magic Compass:
    • 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 Is Feminine: The books have the Polar Opposite Siblings Carter and Sadie. Carter, the boy, becomes the host for the god Horus, using his newfound abilities to be a physical swordfighter. Sadie, meanwhile, is the host for the magic goddess Isis, which means that her role is to stand back and cast spells.
  • 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.
  • Magic Map:
    • 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.
  • Magic Pants: Though its never explained, Carter and Sadie sometimes mention picking feathers out of their clothing after turning back into humans.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Apophis
  • 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 only speeds up the process.
  • The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: Stay in animal form too long, and you can forget you were ever human. Sadie runs the risk of this when she fights Shapeshifter Mode Lock.
  • Male Gaze: Carter finds it difficult to look the overendowed hippopatamus goddess Tawaret in the face.
  • Mistaken for Racist: In the short story The Son of Sobek, Percy calls Carter a Half-Blood, assuming he's a demigod like Percy himself. Carter of course has never heard the term used in this context, and assumes it's a reference to his mom being white and his dad being black.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: Bast, a cat goddess.
  • Monkeys on a Typewriter: Actually ibises.
  • 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.
  • More than Mind Control: Setne uses this in The Crown of Ptolemy as a way to create openings in the heroes' mental defenses. He gets Carter with his desire to honor his father, Sadie with the offer of rule-breaking and Annabeth with the temptation to gather all the world's knowledge. He strikes out with Percy, though, because Setne doesn't understand what he wants. Setne offers immortal godhood but Percy isn't swayed, having already rejected it in The Last Olympian.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Anubis. Passages describing his appearance are worth rereading just for the beautiful mental image.
  • Name of Cain
  • Narrative Profanity Filter:
    • "The following is a transcript of a digital recording... Background noises such as scuffling, hitting, and cursing by the two speakers have not been transcribed."
    • In Throne of Fire, characters "spewing lots of very creative curses" almost becomes a running gag.
  • Nay-Theist: Per Ankh (and apparently the Egyptians, later on in their history) don't so much worship the gods as keep them under control. In fact, when five gods are released from the Rosetta Stone (not even entirely evil gods) Per Ankh's first thought is to eliminate anyone who would make a suitable host for them.
  • Near-Villain Victory: At the end of The Serpent's Shadow both 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.
  • Nightmare Face: A heroic example in Besnote , and two villainous examples in Menshikov and Face of Horror.
  • The Night That Never Ends: Apophis basically swallows up the sun-god and if he had won, it would have been this. As the official description for the final book in the series even states, "He's b-a-a-ack! Despite their best efforts, Carter and Sadie Kane can't seem to keep Apophis, the chaos snake, down. Now Apophis is threatening to plunge the world into eternal darkness, and the Kanes are faced with the impossible task of having to destroy him once and for all."
  • Non-Human Head: Some demons have random objects for heads, and some of the gods' forms have animals' heads instead of human ones.
  • 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 over the custody of Sadie.
    • 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 (or at least, he's described as such by Zia). 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 (very powerful) 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's still arguable, especially since we learn "other magic" is simply how the House of Life refers to the power of foreign gods. It's also worth noting that according to Amos in book 1, calling upon and channeling a god was how magic was originally preformed.
  • 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. Sadie switches over by the second book.
    • Zia's preferred usage is "Gods of Egypt..."
  • One-Steve Limit: Zigzagged. Julius is the name of of Carter and Sadie's father. One of the new trainees at Brooklyn House, meanwhile, is named Julian.
  • Order vs. Chaos: The central conflict of the Egyptian Pantheon, rather than Good vs Evil.
  • Our Gods Are Different: Egyptian gods in this series act very differently from the Greek ones in Riordan's other series, although they share the same basic world. They are largely spiritual, needing a host (usually human, of royal blood) to interact with the world. This is the explanation for the Eternal Recurrence they face, since they have played out the same rivalries forever in different bodies. It also blunts the incest, since they take on the relationships of their hosts. They could be siblings in one generation and lovers in another.
  • Passed in Their Sleep: In The Red Pyramid, Sadie has a conversation with Iskander, the kindly, two-thousand-year-old head of the House of Life, in which he seems to be on her and Carter's side, but the next morning they discover Iskander died in his sleep, which means their lives are now in danger, as his replacement immediately orders their arrest and execution.
  • Power Trio: Carter and Sadie along with Bast, Zia, Amos...
  • Portal Network: Any pyramid or obelisk shaped structure in the world can be used to open a portal to any other one. Each portal can only be used once per day though.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner:
    Carter: I am Carter Kane, Blood of the Pharaohs, Eye of Horus. And now, Set—brother, uncle, traitor—, I'm going to crush you like a gnat.
  • Psychic Dreams for Everyone: Both Carter and Sadie have ba trips, often seeing things they wished they hadn't.
  • 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, where magicians are assigned as punishment, and 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.
  • Retired Badass: The gods who retired in Sunny Acres. No matter what they are now, they are still gods who can kick ass. As the army of Chaos finds the hard way in The Serpent's Shadow.
  • 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.
    • One done by necessity given the target audience. The in-story explanation for the brief lives of Pharaohs is that hosting gods for long periods of time caused them to "burn out" and die young. In reality, it was because of the many health problems brought on by generations of Brother–Sister Incest to keep the royal bloodline "pure."
  • Scales of Justice: When the Kane siblings enter the Hall Of Judgement for the feather of truth Anubis's scales are seen, but are broken since Osiris has been trapped by Set. They get fixed by the end of the first book.
  • Sealed Cast in a Multipack: The Gods of Ancient Egypt. Well, most of them.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: When Julius attempted to summon Osiris, he released him along with his four siblings, one of which was Set.
    • At the end of The Crown of Ptolemy Setne is imprisoned inside a magical snow globe.
  • Sequel Hook: "Should further recordings fall into my hands, I will relay the information."
    • At the end of the Carter/Percy Jackson crossover The Son of Sobek Carter gives Percy the means to call on him again, should another team-up be required.
  • Shapeshifting: Carter and Sadie can turn into a hawk and a kite respectively, as those are the sacred birds of Horus and Isis. In the first book learning how to properly shape shift goes along with learning to use their powers, so a handful of the associated tropes show up:
  • Shapeshifter Mode Lock: Sadie has trouble turning herself back into a human, though she eventually figures it out with some help from Carter.
  • Shipper on Deck: Sadie, to Carter and Zia
  • Shirtless Scene: Carter gets one in The Red Pyramid, when he has to join the "Skins" team in basketball. Against monkeys.
    • He gets it again in The Throne of Fire, when the apparel that he's given to enter Duat conspicuously lacks a shirt.
    • When not rocking his biker/goth/black jacket outfit, Anubis wears an Egyptian attire that doesn't feature such luxury as a shirt as well. As the narrator who looks at this particular moment is Sadie, and Anubis is...Anubis, she enjoys the view really well.
  • Shout-Out: To Percy Jackson, of course. "Manhattan has other problems. Other gods. It's best we stay separate."
    • There's also the incident where they meet Thoth, who complains about how he used to get confused with Hermes.
    • Carter also sees a winged horse that he thought was an illusion because of the magic security system.
    • During a fight with some water demons in the Nile, Carter wishes to himself that he had the powers of a sea god.
    • Given that Sadie was raised in England, there's naturally a few to Doctor Who. She mentions jelly babies at one point, the Fourth Doctor's trademark favorite food, and Carter mentions that one of her shabti was clearly modeled after a Dalek, being a thermos with googly eyes that yelled, "EXTERMINATE!"
    • And the other other work that involves cows with lasers is Gunnerkrigg Court.
    • Anubis wears Arcade Fire and The Dead Weather t-shirts.
    • Sadie listens to the music of Adele.
    • Carter gets to wear Pokémon pajamas.
  • Soap Punishment: In The Throne of Fire, Carter says that Sadie called Apophis some names that if their grandmother heard them would cause her to wash Sadie's mouth out with soap for a year.
  • So Proud of You: Julius and Ruby at the end.
  • Spell My Name with an S: Justified, since Ancient Egypts wrote without vowels. Is the Sun God called Ra or Re? (Ra in the original, Re in the German translation, both versions are common.)
    • The series actually uses the Ancient Greek forms of the names of the gods, probably because they are more familiar and consistent since the Ancient Greeks wrote with vowels, while the Ancient Egyptians didn't, which means that we can only guess what their readings might be like. Osiris would be called "Ausir", Isis "Iset", Apophis "Apep", and Horus something along the lines of "Haru".
  • 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.
  • Magician School: The training of young magicians in the First Nome.
  • Supernormal Bindings: The Seven Ribbons of Hathor, the most powerful restraints used by the House of Life, capable of holding even the gods. Setne is shown in them, along with enough binding charms and spells to prevent just about any means of escaping, and he still manages it.
  • Khopesh And Sorcerer: Carter and Sadie are starting to look like this.
  • Symbiotic Possession: Gods and their human hosts, except in the case of Set, who seizes control of Amos. In the third book, Walt and Anubis become this both to resolve the Love Triangle with Sadie and to keep Walt alive.
  • Talking in Your Dreams: Magicians wander the Duat in the sleep if they don't anchor their ba to their body (and sometimes even then) leading to a lot of conversations with gods and demons that they couldn't have in person.
  • Tangled Family Tree: The Egyptian pantheon has one. The main characters are squicked by the perceived incest, but it's explained that the gods take on the family relationships of their various incarnations. For example, Isis is Horus' sister in one life and mother in another to reflect the hosts they inhabited, and Osiris is Isis' father rather than her husband in their current incarnation.
  • Team Mom: Bast.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Implied of the House of Life, who send criminal magicians to punishment nomes rather than kill them.
  • Together in Death: Julius(Osiris) and Ruby Kane.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Quite often, Sadie thinks this of her brother, rather hypocritically.
  • Transformation of the Possessed: Gods need a human or animal host to exist on Earth but can shapeshift it to look like anything they want. For example, Bast can change her cat host into a human.
  • Tsundere: Sadie is just Type A all the way, especially around Anubis.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Bast, in the end. Also....
    Sadie: You got your head cut off?
  • Unfortunate Names: The fact that the of the mother of gods is called Nut doesn't escape Sadie's attention, unsurprisingly. On the other hand, another god is named "Hapi". Appropriately, he's as jovial as it sounds.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Each Kane sibling accuses the other of being this. Both are probably right.
  • The 'Verse: Shares one with the three Camp Half-Blood series (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Heroes of Olympus and The Trials of Apollo) and the Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series. The events of The Red Pyramid happen just days after the end of The Lost Hero from The Heroes of Olympus, The Throne of Fire is set in March (while The Son of Neptune takes place in June), and The Serpent's Shadow occurs the following September, about six weeks after the events of The Blood of Olympus. The three stories collected in Demigods & Magicians (and individually released in the paperback editions of The Serpent's Shadow, The Mark of Athena and The House of Hades) all take place after the events of The Serpent's Shadow, and both Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard and The Trials of Apollo have their first books set the following January.
    • Cross-series references include:
      • In The Red Pyramid, Amos Kane mentions that Manhattan has "other gods".
      • In The Throne of Fire, Carter mentions thinking he saw a flying horse over Manhattan, but dismisses it as a hallucination.
      • The Serpent's Shadow includes appearances by Drew and Lacy, daughters of Aphrodite, who 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.
  • Weirdness Censor: Magicians use simple, easy magic to change the appearance of things from mortals, who see what they think is real.
  • Wizarding School: Brooklyn House is used to train new magicians in the second and third books, and the other nomes, particularly the First, are this as well.
  • Wizards Live Longer: Living up to three centuries is common among magicians. During Iskandar's time, there were( now lost) spells that could lengthen a magician's lifespan even longer. Iskander himself states his age to be nearly two-thousand.
  • Women Are Wiser: After Carter and Percy Jackson's team-up, Carter inscribes a one-use spell symbol on Percy's hand that will allow Percy to call for him if they need to team up again. After Sadie and Annabeth Chase meet they simply exchange phone numbers, because "boys can't be trusted to communicate."
  • Words Can Break My Bones: Every Ancient Egyptian words and hieroglyphs have effects if you have the necessary power to realize them. Even uttering simple commands such as "open" or "break" can do the desired effect, and drawing the ankh hieroglyph, if you are a powerful enough magician like Sadie, you can undo a destroying spell and restore an entire building from nothing.
  • You Cannot Grasp the True Form: Apparently certain parts of the Duat will melt puny human senses.
    • Phonetic example with Thoth - Thoth is actually the Greek pronunciation. His true name, Thoth explains, is nigh impossible to render into English so he pronounces it phonetically of "Jeh-hooty."
  • You Fool!: Kwai during the final battle of the third book calls Carter and Sadie's forces idiots.
  • You Monster!:
    Sadie: You're a beast!
    Set: Really? Me?

Alternative Title(s): Kane Chronicles