Tally: Me – $5, Book -$0
Don’t you just hate when your ba jumps right out and make a bee line for the villain of the book, putting you in extreme and absolute danger if discovered? Man, I sure do! It seems as though Carter’s ba is the seat of his courage which makes me like Carter all the more. I would have liked it more if this all was not utterly terrifying for him but hey I’ll give it a pass. So many questions though…why, ba of Carter, would you ever do such a thing? And how would you know where to find the villain anyway? No one (assumedly) knows what’s happening and it’s even a candid conversation that’s being overhead. Damn nosy ba! And why is he invisible? I’m pretty sure that you, a menancing spiritual entity of exactly the Egyptian persuasion, would be able to see a ba circling above you. Anyway, there is a moment upon Carter’s waking that he seems to be getting a pep talk from his ba. This is cool. I’m really hoping that this is in fact what the book is trying to do because that would be so helpful in the understanding of the ba and one’s relationship to his own ba and more like accurate than not. I’m not going to bet on it though…oh yes I will! I’m going to bet that it’s not anything like that at all because that would be too awesome. I’m putting my money on it somehow being the influence of his father by some magical/psychic link helping to guild him in a very tangible way (not the mental projection of Carter’s father by the overstressed frontal lobe of a preteen who was not emotionally prepared with any of this). 2 dollars? Sure why not…I want it to be his ba though…grumble, grumble.
Exposition time! Hooray and finally! I’m already 65 pages in and I’ve been waiting for this since Chapter 3. Call me impatient if you will, but I like to know the ground rules of a fictional universe at some point. Let’s plot it out, point by point:
1) The Gods are real,
2) Magic is real,
3) Egyptian magicians have a lineage stretching back to the beginning of the temple complexes,
4) Amos and Dr. Kane are Egyptian magicians, and
5) Sadie and Carter got it from both sides, two powerful magical families combined
…yes, ok, I’m with you so far.
WAIT! What? No! Carter just asked about religion and Amos said, “By the end of ancient times, Egyptians had learned that their gods were not to be worshipped.”
Hold the motherf***ing phone! They are not divine but created entities and they are not immoral and it’s the magician’s job to keep them under control. Excuse me while I go and hate smoke at this book for a moment…
Ok, let’s retrace that for a minute now that I have cooled my jets a little. The gods are indeed created (at least the most of them) through birth, not the ever-existing, uncreated version of Western monotheism. The gods can indeed be killed (Osiris for example) and they are neither omnipotent, omnipresent, or necessarily benevolent. But this “keep them under control” business is straight blasphemy anyway you slice it! This makes them sound like the monsters of the Greeks. (Sorry Greeks!) The gods are not known for running amuck on whims of fancy. They are specialized in their domain, each one in balance with the other, and overwhelmingly helpful and instructive to their people because it there is one thing that the god love, it’s Ma’at. The cosmic balance of harmony is of the utmost important to all the gods, and to each one in their turn. It’s why there is a god among gods (to hold balance and order among them) and why pharaoh is a god walking among men (that he may have direct access and understanding of Ma’at in only the way a god can for the instruction of the people). The entire cosmos, the internal hierarchy of the gods themselves, and the social-political structure of Egypt for thousands of years is based on this one beautiful concept: Ma’at. And what’s more, the people love their gods and the gods love their people. There was no animosity between the gods and and their people at all. “Keep them under control”! Who? You, magic man? I think not! Good luck with that! If this book doesn’t start shedding at least a shimmer of positive light of the gods, I’m going to start pulling for them! Maybe they’re pissed off at y’all, did they ever think of this? Maybe it’s the hubris, just saying.
Anyway, I was thinking that this was going to take the all-too-common dualist moralism that our modern writers just can’t seem to resist. You know – Horus: good, Set: evil; Zeus: good, Hades: evil; Odin: good, Loki: evil. This obscene simplification of divine forces that crams them into neat little paradigms effectively diminishes them little by little until the only thing left is a name. It’s bad storytelling and horrendous character development to say the least. Well, on the bright side, we’re not doing that. Nope, were just going to double down on the evil. On second thought, I might have preferred it. Is there any saving grace to the gods at all or all they all equally dangerously repugnant? Let’s find out…
Thoth did WHAT? No, I’m not buying that. According to Amos, Thoth taught the magicians that the gods do not need/deserve worship. What in the world? That’s truly baffling. Thoth, the god of thought, writing, and magic? Is Thoth not a god as well? Is he also not worthy of worship then? Wait now, hold up, this smells fishy. The god of magic and writing told the magicians whose main mode of spell work is hieroglyphs (writing) to not worship the gods (possibly except himself)? Dirty trick! That there is what we call a cult – a dangerously henotheistic one at that!. The cult of Thoth has taken over all of Egypt and destroyed the pantheon! So the Per Ankh and all the magicians are the true villains of the book! Dirty rotten power hungry cultist who spit in the face of Ma’at! They deserve everything they get and Gods do I hope they get it in this book! OK, it all making sense now…Carry on!
6) Dr. Kane has been trying to find a relic with enough magic left to summon Osiris to, and we are all assuming here, “use the power of Osiris” to bring his wife back to life. Maybe if the Cult of Thoth behaved and continued to play nice with the gods there would be magic left in Egypt, just saying. And yes, I will be calling them the Cult of Thoth from now on…maybe with a few colorful adjectives sprinkled in there for punctuation.
7) Dr. Kane drew Osiris into himself from the stone and released 4 other gods locked inside in the process – thus the museum debacle ending so badly for him. Sweet gods below, this is just getting more blasphemous as we go! This is the point where I throw the book against the wall and go to sleep!
But sigh, no I press on. That explains why he was called Osiris then. Why are we locking ancient and powerful gods in a stone and summoning them to use their power like a battery? Are they not at the very least sentient beings deserving of better treatment than a power slave to the will of the magicians, who without a doubt put them there in the first place? This is very taxing on my delicate disposition. I don’t know how much more of this exposition I can take.
8) Wonder twins activate! That’s another 5 dollars for me. And sadly no, they sidestepped the word ba like it was a rattlesnake. That’s just his consciousness traveling around and through Duat while he was sleeping. Not is dad though – I’ll give $2 dollars back for a ba like explanation.
9) The villain of the story, the powerful god trapped in the Rosetta stone for over two thousand years, the imprisoner of Dr. Kane, the one who swears to summon a storm to wipe of most of North America is none other than The Red Lord. That’s it? Are we not using his name for a reason? Is he also he who must not be named like the Dark Lord? It’s Set, godsdamit! Just say it, we’re all thinking it. Leave it to this book deny the gods any dignity and still find a way to make one the chief villain among thieves. That all that I can stand for a bit. Let the icing on the cake be Sadie narrating again.