3.5 starsThe Throne of Fire
is certainly better than its predecessor novel. However it still lacks a little element to take it up to the same level as the Percy Jackson series and the Heroes of Olympus series. Each of those series have slightly more interesting worlds, characters and, to be honest, mythology.
One thing I noticed while reading this novel is that the magic in both the Kane Chronicles novels is very...magical. I'm not just saying that it's simply good for a children's fiction novel. I'm saying it would be a perfect idea for a more mature novel. The way in which the hieroglyphs combine with godly powers is fascinating and new. Though I've seen glyph magic used in various novels the way in which it is combined with Egyptian myth is a new concept, yet not quite as appealing to me as the demigod powers in Percy Jackson's world. Here's hoping the Viking demigods are more appealing than Egyptian magicians!
The other thing which I noted is how in this book Riordan has created a kind of unreliable narration through having the children record the events of the book in first person. I'm not certain whether he was aiming for that type of narration but it worked to make things seem a little edgy, which is tough to do when you're writing first person. One reason I particularly dislike first person (unless from a secondary character or when exploring some philosophical idea) is that when the protagonist is the narrator you recognise that the character will likely not end up in serious trouble or dead*. Third person narration allows for that greater sense of tension as the protagonist could be 'killed-off'. The feel of the first person narration in this novel is one reason I could not enjoy this story as much as others Riordan has written (also it seems that there is less of a mythological base to explore in these novels) yet for first person he has handled it very nicely.
My conclusion is that if you're looking for an entertaining mythology based children's story you cannot go past Riordan's novels at all. I fully endorse them ahead of most other modern children's stories. Yet there are always better novels and stories such as the source myths and, as I always recommend, the true children's classics.
*There have been exceptions but they are very hard to do 'right'.