Thursday, April 16, 2009

To Succeed, Jump as Quickly at Opportunities as You do at Conclusions

What would happen if you discovered that your family was one of the most powerful in human history? What if you were told that the source of the family's power was hidden around the world, in the form of 39 Clues? What if you were given a choice-- take a million dollars and walk away... or get the first Clue? If you're Amy and Dan Cahill, you take the Clue-- and begin a very dangerous race.

Title: The Maze of Bones
Author: Rick Riordan
Series: 39 Clues, Book 1
Start & Finished: 2/4/09
Published: September 9, 2008
Publisher: Scholastic
Pages: 224
Genre: YA- Mystery, Adventure
Official Series Site

Benjamin Franklin was one of the founders of the United States of America, an incredible inventor, "printer, satirist, political theorist, politician, scientist, civic activist, statesman, and a diplomat" too. However, according to author Rick Riordan’s first book in his 39 Clues series The Maze of Bones, he and just about every other powerful famous person over the years was a part of the Cahill family. In the ultimate scavenger hunt, two young children Dan and Amy along with their inherited cat and babysitter, must race the rest of the family to the 39 Clues hidden around the world that reveal the secret power behind the Cahill name. Whoever wins will be the richest people in the world…

Rick Riordan is the author of the Percy Jackson and the Olympian series, which is also an adventure story, but it features gods, goddesses, and creatures from Greek myths. Scholastic pitched him the idea of the 39 Clues series and asked him if he would be interested. The author said, "When they described the idea to me, I said, 'Wow that sounds really great!' I mean, you get to do all this cool stuff with history, and you get to make it like a scavenger hunt across the world. So as a teacher myself I was intrigued, so I said yeah, sure I'll do that."

The Maze of Bones is a fairly fast read (and the author said it didn’t take him very long to write either) but it is jammed full with interesting things and places. I’m really looking forward to the movie version that is currently in the works by DreamWorks with Steven Spielberg involved as well. There are also collectible cards with every book and one in each story that corresponds to an online game in which you can win prizes.

"The neat thing about 39 Clues is that it's so grounded in history," Mr. Riordan said and he was right. That's what makes the story so very interesting! The bare bones of the plot isn't exactly new: two mistreated orphans set out against several unlikable characters to win something and in that way it's a classic adventure that will appeal to both boys and girls. However, basing a lot of the story in real history (Franklin really was an author and he did create the inventions used in the book in search of the clues such as the lightening rod and the glass harmonica) is what makes this incredibly fun series very unique and one that I really look forward to reading.

The 39 Clues:
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. A Missed Call by Patrick Carman
6. Unknown by Jude Watson
7. Unknown by Peter Lerangis
8. Unknown by Gordan Korman
9. Unknown by Linda Sue Park
10. Unknown by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Links: Series Wikipedia, Book Wikipedia, Author Wikipedia
Interview: Other Schloastic Video Interviews, Borders Media

Picture Explanations
Benjamin Franklin's Statue:
Amy and Dan run into this when looking for the next part of the first clue.
Egyptian Mau: Aunt Grace's cat Saladin, whom Dan and Amy inherit.
Glass Armonica (aka glass harmonica, bowl organ, etc.): Another part of the clue: famous composer wrote music for it when it was still popular.
Paris Catacombs: Where Benjamin Franklin hid the directions to one of the clues in one of his many puzzles.


  1. As I was reading your review, I thought that would make a great movie! The book sounds great and so does the movie.

  2. I was reading about this series a few months ago. It definitely sounds like something I want to read.

    Will there be one clue per book? A 39 book series seems a bit much.

  3. Sounds really cool for both kids and adults alike. Nice review :)

  4. Bermudaonion: The books are great as they're entertaining and also educational (seemingly without meaning to be). I doubt they could mess up the movie as it's pretty straight-forward so *fingers crossed*!

    Paxton: I heard about this series, read this book and then discovered Riordan's Percy Jackson series. I thought there would be one per book but there are only 10 books planned in all (and the fourth one is coming out soon) so I think they'll start cramming more than one clue in per book soon.

    The Chic Geek: Thanks! Kids really enjoy them but they still appeal to me too. Especially since I love trivia and the books have tons of it!

  5. I think both Jimmy and Nona would love this one! :)

  6. J.Kaye: Probably, and I have a sneaking suspicion that you might too!

  7. Jen, I finished Maze of Bones last night so I had to come back to read your review. I read it in two days. Very, very good. I will definitely continue the series.

    I'm also about to start the final Percy Jackson book which I'm super excited about, but also super sad about. I'm really enjoying Riordan's books.



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