The Mark of Kane
After sitting on it for over a year, I finally read Riordan's Red Pyramid recently.
I very much liked the story and the characters.
The story was a retelling of an old Egyptian myth that I had never read before. I think I liked it almost as much for increasing familiarity with Egyptian myth as for any of its own merits.
I had issues with it, however. One, the conceit of how it was told was that it was a found recording that the two main characters took turns making. Two, the two did not feel, to me, at all like teenagers (or near-teens).
The problem with the conceit was that the asides by the characters pulled me out of the story. They tended to be fairly funny, but they were still disruptive. There were also a few things that were said that just would not have been said like that if it was an actual recording.
And I have never met anyone nearly as young as them who would do some of the things they did (giving up power at the end, especially, although how logic-driven their decisions were also enters into it).
With that said, I liked the story quite a bit. It did a good job of mixing history and myth, as well as having interesting magic. It also did a good job of deciding what to explain, and what to leave mysterious. There was one historical note that I think was wrong, however. It mentioned Western museums having a lot of Egyptian artifacts, but the best stuff being in Egypt. From what I've heard several times, Egypt has nothing to match what's in the British Museum, or the Louvre, and would have difficulty matching the Vatican's collection. I thought that was one of the reasons such a big deal was made out of King Tut's tomb; the artifacts remained in Egypt (aside from tours).
And its use of US locations was quite good (the Washington Monument, above, was a fairly obvious one. The King's house wasn't).
So I've already bought the second book, and ordered the third. Hopefully, I'll get around to reading at least the former, soon. I'm not complaining, but my photography has definitely interfered with that.