The Serpent's Shadow
by: Rick Riordan
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. Unfortunately, the magicians of the House of Life are on the brink of civil war, the gods are divided, and the young initiates of Brooklyn House stand almost alone against the forces of chaos.
Awesome Main Characters: CHECK
Carter: I loved watching him change in the short span of these three books. He's come a long way from the quiet, kind-of-awkward kid who traveled the world with his father. Riordan is a master at creating realistic and relatable characters and then letting the reader grow with them. By the end of this book I was so sad to say goodbye to all the characters I've come to know in this series, especially Carter and Sadie. They've matured into powerful magicians and responsible teenagers (I've heard that saving the world from the forces of evil and chaos several times will do that to you). Carter proves himself as a leader in this book. I love that that doesn't mean he's always the bravest or the strongest, it meant that everyone could trust him and look up to him; it meant he made the tough decisions and the right decisions. Also, he was an adorable boyfriend to Zia. It was the small things, like how he worried about things like Zia waking up to his protective charm and being reminded of her water-tomb-thing.
Sadie: One of my favorite things about Sadie is that even though she grew up a LOT in these books, she never stopped being a teenage girl. Riordan never let her become this perfect model of a heroine. She still had a lot of growing left to do by the end, but that was what made her realistic. Also she's the kind of character that you'd love to have as a best friend, she's crazy and smart and funny, but also loyal and brave. Riordan does a brilliant job writing the brother/sister dynamic between Carter and Sadie. They balance each other out like Ma'at and Chaos. Without Sadie's impulsive and creative ideas the plan would have fallen apart. The same goes for Carter's dedication to not deviating from the plan. They could only succeed together.
Another thing that was so crazy to keep in mind were that these were KIDS. A thirteen year old and a fifteen year old who learned about magic and Egyptian gods not even a year ago and they had to save the FREAKING world because no one else could or would...that's pretty dang impressive!
Extraordinary Supporting Characters: CHECK
Leonid: I knew barely anything about Leonid and yet I loved him. Him trying to speak English to communicate with Sadie was really funny and adorable. That's why I'm glad he survived doomsday.
Felix: I want to meet this kid! He was hilarious with his penguins and shouting merry Christmas at mortals from the flying boat.
Setne: He was a really interesting character, in both a good and a bad way. Obviously he's a crazy sociopathic killer, but he was really funny. He made you want to like him.
Neith: an Egyptian god that is all stocked up for the apocalypse? ...okayyyyy. I loved the whole story about jelly babies and ribena hunting even though I had to google what both of those things are seeing as I'm not british.
Thoth: I liked that they visited Thoth even though he had nothing to do with the story. Also his basketball stadium headquarters was really very cool.
Apophis: Especially in this book I found him to be just as evil and terrifying as Gaea or Kronos are (or were). I was interested by the implication that he was worse than just evil, he was chaos. Set was the god of evil and even HE was fighting against Apophis. That gives light to just how twisted and corrupt Aphophis was. As great as Riordan is at ambiguous villains, he is also great at villains that are pure evil and completely terrifying.
Bes: I was so happy that they got Bes back and that he finally decided to man up and be with Tawaret.
Walt/Anubis: Woahhh. I honestly didn't expect that to happen until about a third of the way through this book. I was with Sadie in the beginning when she thought it was creepy to literally have two guys in one. But a few distinct lines at least resolved me to their solution,
"We speak with one voice...Especially on this matter. No one harms Sadie Kane."
"And, yes, I accepted Walt and Anubis...I gave up my anger and dismay. I imagined both of them with me, and if that was peculiar, well then, it fit right in with the rest of my life."
When you think about it, they really are very similar, that's why Sadie liked them both so much. And, in the end, the only way for her to be with either of them was to be with both of them. I loved them both for Sadie, so I found myself almost liking their arrangement.
Zia: I am all for her and Carter! and her following the path of the Ra? that was a surprise. I wish we could have seen a bit more of her in this book, but I loved the scene of her and Carter at the Mall of America. I can see her fitting in at the Brooklyn House as a teacher just fine.
Wonderful Plot and Setting: CHECK
This book was wonderful. A lot of action and adventure and a LOT of tying up loose ends. So many dots were connected from each of the three books. The different parts of personality and the sheuts. The path of the gods being not just the answer for Carter and Sadie, but also for Zia, Amos, Walt, and plenty others. We were told from the beginning that the world could only be saved by relearning the paths of the gods and that came to prominence especially in this book. The whole story that wound its way through this trilogy was answered and completed in this book. Carter became the pharaoh we knew he was going to and Sadie chose (or didn't choose) between her two boys. I am so sad to see the end of this trilogy, I honestly would be okay with seeing two more books in this series, even though I don't think they could defeat any evil bigger than Apophis. That's why I am so excited about The Son of Sobek crossover between this series and the PJO series.
I had one problem with this book (even though it is a small one). I wish that the book had ended with an interaction between Carter and Sadie, because that was my favorite relationship in this series. Seeing them go from near strangers to true brother and sister was quite charming and I think ending with them would have hit at the roots of what this story is.
More Percy Jackson References: CHECK
I could see Rick setting up for the crossover story, which excited me greatly. I want to see some Percy/Carter, Percy/Sadie, Annabeth/Carter, Annabeth/Sadie, Annabeth/Zia interactions. I think my life would be complete at that point. The good news is that that is coming in a short sixteen days. Example,
"But Egypt has always faced challenges from outside-magicians from elsewhere, even gods from elsewhere. Just be vigilant."
"(Carter says I should tell you why it's called that. It's a cave full of all sorts of birds. Again-duh. [Carter, why are you banging your head against the table?])"
"We don't kill our enemies for things they might do in the future."
"Knowledge of any value can't be given. It must be sought and earned."