Saturday, April 30, 2011
The 39 Clues: The Maze of Bones
Riordan, R. (2008). The 39 Clues: The Maze of Bones. New York, NY: Scholastic, Inc.
Amy and Dan Cahill’s parents died long ago, they were left in the care of their great aunt, but loved dearly by the Grandmother, Grace Cahill. When Grace Cahill dies, an incredibly wealthy woman, family members from far and wide come to attend her wedding and to find what they have inherited. Through a video shown by her lawyer, Grace tells the family members that they can either take a million dollars each, or forfeit the money to participate in a challenge, which could make them extremely powerful. Amy and Dan choose to take the challenge along with a few other family members. They are informed that the Cahills are a very powerful family, producing the likes of Benjamin Franklin and Abraham Lincoln. Each participant is given a clue they must solve, the first of 39. The clue initially stumps the two, but with a little encouragement from their grandmother’s lawyer, they are off and running. The challenge has Amy and Dan traveling all over with their sassy au pair and narrowly escaping traps set against them by their own competing family members.
This was an exciting book, reminding me at times a little of The Westing Game and a little of The Da Vinci Code. I could see kids really getting into these books, especially because of the size of the series. After beginning the book and realizing, there was not really going to be an end to the book and only one clue would be solved, I was a little annoyed thinking I would have to read 38 more books to discover the final outcome of the series, but it looks like there are only 11 total in the first series. I have heard this series described as a marketing ploy, which is hard not to see with game instructions on the back of the book for kids to play. The whole back cover of the book is an advertisement for the 39 Clues game kids can play by collecting playing cards (which come with the book) and entering to win over $100,000 in prizes. This irked me. I would rather kids be interested in books because they enjoy them, not because there is a prize involved. It was a fun and quick book to read, I think they could have done without the gimmick.
fiction, mystery, adventure
Ages 9 – 14
loss, siblings, treasure hunt
first book of the first series
Amy Cahill: 14 years old; sister to Dan; parents mysteriously died when she was young; her grandmother died leaving a challenge for Amy and Dan and other family members to take; part of a very powerful family; likes to read; has a stutter
Dan Cahill: 11 years old; brother to Amy; parents mysteriously died when she was young; her grandmother died leaving a challenge for Amy and Dan and other family members to take; part of a very powerful family; likes numbers; has a great memory
Grace Cahill: grandmother to Amy and Dan; very wealthy and powerful woman; in her will she challenged her family members to take part in a game that could make them very powerful; has a cat named Saladin
William McIntyre: Grace Cahill’s lawyer; helps Amy and Dan with the challenge
Ian and Natalie Kabra: cousins of Dan and Amy; also take part in the challenge; are evil
The Holt family: relatives to Dan and Amy; also take part in the challenge; are all athletic; aren’t afraid to use brut force to stop their cousins
Alistair Oh: relative of Dan and Amy; Korean; takes part in the challenge; tries to form an alliance with Dan and Amy, but eventually betrays them
Irina Spasky: relative of Dan and Amy; Russian; former spy; takes part in the challenge; uses sneaky methods to try to stop the other participants of the game
Upon the death of the grandmother, Dan and Amy Cahill are invited to participate in a game where they could become very powerful.