28 March 2011

Book review Number 60: The 39 Clues, Book 1: The Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan

We have been listening to The 39 Clues series so we can enjoy it as a family.  All the posts regarding these books will be about the audio version, unless otherwise stated.

I mentioned a little of the set up regarding the 39 Clues in my previous post.  Brief overview for those who are reading my newer posts before my older posts, a brother and sister have been sent on a quest around the world to find 39 clues that their recently deceased grandmother has left for them and any other groups of the family willing to take on the challenge.  At the end of the clues is supposed to be something that will make the winner the most powerful person (or people) in the world.

The Maze of Bones is the first book in this series.  It's where we get to meet not only Amy and Dan Cahill, but many of the groups that will be vying for the clues over the next several books.  And very few of them are of the kind and gentle persuasion.  Through out this book, there are a couple of attempts on Amy and Dan's lives, including a fire that torches their beloved grandmother's mansion.

The first clue that everyone gets (in packets at the reading of the will) points the Cahill siblings toward Philadelphia and Ben Franklin.  And from there, to Mozart and Austria.  We get to see the ingenuity that the siblings call upon without any need for violence - even when violence heads in their direction.

It's a great start to the series, letting us meet all of the key players in the drama that will take place over the following nine books.    While some of them aren't quite as fleshed out as they will be in later books, that's understandable in a book of this type.  Of the books that I have read, the rest do have their time to shine.

Again, it's a great introduction to history.  As often happens when books tell of places that I know, I listened with rapt attention at  as they moved through Philadelphia.  I lived there for 3 years with my fiancé turned husband so I was pretty familiar with a lot of the landmarks. And I couldn't have been more pleased that to hear them talk about the Franklin Institute, which is a place Rich and I spent a fair amount of time at.  It's going to be a great starting place to for introducing Teddy to Philadelphia when we head up that way this summer.

Regarding the reader for both this book and the previous one that I reviewed, he is WONDERFUL.  I love to listen to him because he really gives each character their own individual voice.  You don't have to hear the words that someone had said a phrase to know that was who was speaking.  He puts a lot of energy and a lot of self into his reading.  It's one of the reasons I'm so glad to have the audio book collection checked out of the library for family listening.