Reviews for Maze of Bones
Booklist Reviews 2008 October #2
"In a bold leap forward in marketing strategy, this first book in the 39 Clues series introduces readers to what promises to be a sensational mix of reading, online gaming, card-collecting, and even a grand-prize sweepstakes. The premise of the book: Grace Cahill, matriarch of the world's most powerful family, dies and leaves behind a challenge to her descendants. They can either inherit one million dollars, or forgo the money and receive the first of 39 clues that will lead them on an around-the-world adventure in search of, well, that's a secret. But it's an earth-shattering secret, and with 10 books planned for the series (each by a different author), it had better pay off in the end. Riordan, who has plotted the main arc for the series, gets the ball rolling nicely with likable brother-and-sister heroes, a cast of backstabbing relatives, and a smattering of puzzles and clues to decipher in the quest for the ultimate secret. Whether this intriguing book represents the first major event in a shifting world of publishing, or is simply a clever money- and attention-grabbing ploy remains to be seen, but it will be fascinating to see what kids make of it. (Library edition does not include game cards)." Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2009 Spring
Amy and Dan (and their au pair) are just one team among many in ruthless pursuit of a hidden family treasure, the nature of which will probably not be revealed anytime soon in this projected ten-book series, card-collecting extravaganza, and sweepstakes. Synthetically packed with flights to Paris, double-crosses, and desperate escapes, the book mistakes busyness for excitement, but it's readable enough. Copyright 2009 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2008 September #1
"Synergy" is the name of the game in Scholastic's post-Potter search for market share. Grace Cahill has died, and her orphaned grandchildren Amy, 14, and Dan, 11, are among the heirs offered a choice: They can accept one million and walk, or they can take the first clue in a worldwide scavenger hunt to find the secret that has made the extended Cahill family the most powerful family in world history. Every other heir is out to get Amy and Dan, Grace's supposed favorites, as they work their way through the puzzles in this first volume of a ten-book "multi-platform" series. Six trading cards come with each trade-edition copy, and more can be purchased separately. Cards can be entered on an accompanying website, where readers six to 14 can "enter the race" by playing mystery games. Each new volume, by such authors as Gordon Korman and Peter Lerangis, spawns a new contest with real cash prizes. Librarians should be careful to purchase card-free library editions to avoid circulation headaches. (Novelty/fiction. 9-14) Copyright Kirkus 2008 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2008 September #4
Built around a ripe conceit--wealthy matriarch scatters cryptic clues to a mysterious fortune around the globe--this first installment in a projected 10-book series is tons of fun. Lead-off hitter Riordan (The Lightning Thief ) mixes just the right proportions of suspense, peril and puzzles in a fast-paced read (Riordan mapped the narrative arc for all 10 volumes, but other high-profile authors will be writing for the series, too). Likable orphans Amy and Dan Cahill have moxie (plus Dan can memorize numbers instantly) and frailties (Amy hates crowds). As the siblings compete with less honorable members of the Cahill clan, all distantly related to Benjamin Franklin, to win the fortune by collecting all 39 clues (only two are found in this first book), they learn about their dead parents, each other and world history. The humor is spot on--one uncle is credited with inventing the microwave burrito. The only flaw? The story does not end so much as drop off a cliff. (The second book, One False Note by Gordon Korman, is set to arrive in December.) While waiting, readers can collect cards, each of which contains evidence, and play the online game (www.the39clues.com ), for which Scholastic is offering over $100,000 in prizes. This ought to have as much appeal to parents as it does to kids--it's Webkinz without the stuffed animals, and a rollicking good read. Ages 9-12. (Sept.) [Page 58]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal Reviews 2008 November
Gr 4-7--When their beloved Aunt Grace dies, Dan, 11, and Amy, 14--along with other Cahill descendants--are faced with an unusual choice: inherit one million dollars or participate in a perilous treasure hunt. Cahills have determined the course of history for centuries, and this quest's outcome will bring the victors untoward power and affect all of humankind. Against the wishes of nasty Aunt Beatrice, their reluctant guardian since their parents' deaths, Dan and Amy accept the challenge, convincing their college-age au pair to serve as designated adult. Pitted against other Cahill teams, who will stop at nothing to win, the siblings decipher the first of 39 clues and are soon hot on the historical trail of family member Ben Franklin to unearth the next secret. Adeptly incorporating a genuine kids' perspective, the narrative unfolds like a boulder rolling downhill and keeps readers glued to the pages. As the siblings work together to solve puzzles and survive dangers, they develop into well-drawn individuals with their own strengths and personalities. Supporting Cahill cast members come across as intentionally exaggerated caricatures, adding to the tale's breathless fun. The book dazzles with suspense, plot twists, and snappy humor, but the real treasure may very well be the historical tidbits buried in the story. Part of a multimedia launch including a Web site, collectable game cards, and a 10-title series (penned by different authors), this novel stands solidly on its own feet and will satisfy while whetting appetites for more.--Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal [Page 136]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
VOYA Reviews 2009 April
Several well-known middle grade authors pen the highly publicized new adventure series, The 39 Clues. Each of the planned ten books in the series will feature a different writer. Fourteen-year-old Amy and eleven-year-old Dan Cahill each turn down a million dollars at their grandmother's funeral. They give up the money to participate in an elaborate scavenger hunt that promises to reveal power and riches to the winner. The brother and sister duo quickly find out that the other family members in the globe-trotting search will stop at nothing to win. Their investigation hinges on information about and from Benjamin Franklin. Soon the pair is off to Philadelphia and Paris. Avoiding their evil relatives and searching for the riddle-laden clues, Amy and Dan struggle to survive this dangerous questRiordan starts this series with a fast-paced rollick. The characters, the danger, and the events are far-fetched but fun. The mystery, historical connections, and exotic locales will entertain readers. Although the two encounter many dangerous situations, they always seem to find a hidden passageway or uncover a secret escape route. Their efforts are entertaining early on, but begin to eliminate any real suspense for the reader as the story progresses. Korman's One False Note picks up Amy and Dan Cahill's story. This time the search takes them away from Paris to Vienna, Austria. Mozart serves as the catalyst for the adventure as the clues hinge on a mysterious piece of music from the composer. The Cahills find additional information and seem to be the frontrunners in this scavenger hunt, which makes the other participants even more dastardly in this installment. One False Note incorporates a touch more humor, which Korman's followers might expect, and Dan Cahill's character seems to be slightly more sarcastic. Overall the second book follows seamlessly. It too is fast-paced and full of over-the-top thrills. The suspense is forced, at times, and it seems as though nearly every line of dialogue is punctuated by an exclamation pointThe series encourages readers to buy playing cards and to play a computer game in order to win prizes. The marketing tie-in is strong, and it will be interesting to see if these hooks promote people to buy the books. Both books are solid, quick reads, but neither represents the authors' best work. The series, however, should prove to be quite popular in middle schools and will send preteens clamoring for the next installment.--Jeff Mann 3Q 4P M J Copyright 2009 Voya Reviews.