Audiobook read by Katherine Kellgren and Kevin R. Free
I can plow through a novel much faster reading than listening to the audiobook. Often times, if it’s a book I have been dying to read, I’ll double-fist it: audiobook at work, Nook at home. This was totally my game plan for The Serpent’s Shadow. I even had it in hardback and Nookbook form. (I’m not Riordan obsessed; no, not me.) And I know I could have had the story done faster and the review up quicker if I had switched over to reading, but I couldn’t — just couldn’t — tear myself away from the audiobook.
Because the Kane Chronicles are framed as transcripts of audio recordings, it only makes sense that the best way to enjoy them is in audiobook format. The delightment factor is only enhanced by two truly phenomenal readers. I have always been in love with Katherine Kellgren’s portrayal of Sadie Kane. Playing a quick-witted, sarcastic teen, she is one of the only readers who has ever made me laugh out loud. And her flippant tone is countered perfectly by Kevin R. Free’s Carter Kane, a steady rock with his own fair share of humor. What makes the story such a joy to listen to is that the readers don’t just read, they perform the piece, bringing it to dazzling life.
In fact, the characters are the only reason there was humor at all in these stories. Unlike Riordan’s Percy Jackson series, which tend to have situational humor such as a seriously potty-mouthed horse, The Kane Chronicles has always held a far darker tone. The Egyptian gods are all about serious business, and the apocalypse that Sadie and Carter must face is completely and utterly world-ending, which doesn’t leave a lot of rooms for laughs.
Apophis, the great snake god of Chaos, has risen, but for some reason, he hasn’t jump started the whole turn-the-world-into-a-Sea-of-Chaos thing yet. Instead, he is attacking specific locations that have a copy of a very special ancient Egyptian book, which might just hold the secret to his destruction. But as Carter and Sadie soon learn, destroying him may cost them everything — including their lives.
The audiobook clocked in at just under 12 hours (compared to, say, the fifth Harry Potter, which runs about 25 hours). CanarytheFirst protested, asking if Riordan was slacking off. On the contrary, I said. It’s just that Riordan writes a wicked tight narrative. Betwen subplots, love triangles, and villian triangles, there’s hardly a word left for any extraneous details. Yes, there were parts that I even thought might have moved too quickly, especially the sibling’s time in the Land of Demons and Zia’s strange fate, but hey, I will take quickpace over 400 pages of put-you-to-sleep-ramblings any day.
I have to say that what I am most disappoint in is the fact that it’s over. In a world full of 20-book stories, The Kane Chronicles caps off at a triology. I did not know this going into the book. This is also the first time I realized that I enter finales with a specific frame of mind, becuase when I reached the final chapters and realized that it was all wrapping up neatly, I started to have a mild panic attack. I am not ready for this, I thought frantically, and seriously considered going back to start from the beginning with my This Is The End hat on.
Of course, the last ten pages or so did suggest that there was plenty of room for the Kane siblings’ story to go on. And to go on with other gods. I’m not quite sure how I feel about that, but that’s a discussion for a future Small Chirp. For now, let’s just bask in the glow of a well-written trilogy. If you haven’t read these books yet, I could not recommend them more.