I've been meaning to read this series for ages, but there are so many books on my list that it has taken me a while to get to it. I love the premise: it's a mystery series that tells the story of two treasure-hunting siblings, and each book is written by a prominent author of children's books. This first installment is by Rick Riordan, of the popular Percy Jackson series.
The book opens with 14-year-old Amy Cahill and her 11-year-old brother Dan at the funeral of their beloved grandmother, Grace Cahill. The will offers a million dollars to certain members of her ancient and powerful family. Those who wish to accept her challenge, however, and enter the hunt for a mysterious treasure that will make its finder the greatest Cahill in history, must renounce the million dollars. Amy and Dan both want the money, but they end up taking the plunge and accepting the challenge of discovering the 39 clues, which turns out to be a very dangerous proposition.
They are nearly killed that first day, but they survive and, in the company of their skeptical au pair, end up traveling first to Philadelphia, hot on the trail of a Benjamin Franklin clue, and then to Paris. Along the way they are beset by various relatives who are unscrupulous and determined to find the treasure, and they encounter danger and confusing clues every step of the way.
I can see why this book is so popular at my library that the books are constantly falling apart and need continual replacing. It's very exciting, full of peril and set in interesting locations. I enjoyed the historical nature of some of the clues - the fascinating details are sure to spark the imaginations of some young readers and lead them off on a search for further information. The audio book was a great way to be introduced to the series. Although the reader, David Pittu, is male and reads from both Dan and Amy's points of view, he modulates his voice so it is easy to tell whose story was whose. I found some of the situations to strain my suspension of disbelief, and there were times I wanted to knock the two main characters' heads together, but I doubt most kids will have that same issue. It was a light, exciting read, and I will be interested to see how the next installment, this one written by Gordon Korman, will continue the story.
Books in the 39 Clues series:
1. The Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan
2. One False Note by Gordon Korman
3. The Sword Thief by Peter Lerangis
4. Beyond the Grave by Jude Watson
5. The Black Circle by Patrick Carman
6. In Too Deep by Jude Watson
7. The Viper's Nest by Peter Lerangis
8. The Emperor's Code by Gordon Korman
9. Storm Warning by Linda Sue Park
10. Into the Gauntlet by Margaret Peterson Haddix
The Maze of Bones (#1 in the 39 Clues series) by Rick Riordan; narrated by David Pittu (Scholastic Audio, 2009)