Reviews provided by Syndetics
School Library Journal Review
Gr 4-7-Following Rick Riordan's first book in the projected 10-title series, The Maze of Bones (SLJ, Feb. 2009, p. 58), Gordon Korman has written the second installment (Scholastic, 2008) about Amy and Dan Cahill's quest for the 39 clues left by their deceased wealthy and eccentric grandmother who has promised to reward the winner with unimaginable riches. Those unfamiliar with the first book will miss out on some of the past history, but there is enough background given here to ensure that listeners will enjoy the mystery and adventure. Dan, 11, is impetuous and resourceful, while Amy, 14, is pedantic but brilliant. Narrator David Pittu, with only slight voice and accent variations, brings to life their constant squabbles as well as the threats by their nefarious relatives, such as a scheming rock star and his father, a former KGB agent, an entire family of enemies, and an elderly "gentleman" with evil intentions. The orphans, on the run from the Massachusetts Child Protection Program, are supported by their patient and resourceful companion Nellie and their grandmother's cat, Saladin. Pittu is almost breathless as he describes vehicle races on the road and along the canals of Venice. A lot of historical information is presented about Venice, Mozart, Marie Antoinette, and more. A fun listen.-Edith Ching, Washington Latin Public Charter School, DC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
The multipronged attack (books, playing cards, online games, prize sweepstakes) of the 39 Clues extravaganza dashes onward in this second book. Korman takes the reins from Rick Riordan, responsible for series opener The Maze of Bones (2008), with barely a hitch as Amy and Dan Cahill continue their quest to solve the mystery of their wide-ranging and powerful extended family (a tree that branches from Mozart to Picasso to Snoop Dogg). The siblings' bickering increases as they hunt down the next clue, but so do their successes as they manage to be always one step ahead of their various cutthroat cousins. Korman dutifully moves the plot from point B to point C but only advances the wider story a smidge, which is hewing closer to the TV reality show The Amazing Race than the puzzle-studded mystery that sleuths may be anticipating. But, if the creators have bet correctly, it matters little that the story is already threatening to become repetitive and only mildly satisfying in itself, as kids will already have too much attention invested in the whole conglomerate to consider bailing.--Chipman, Ian Copyright 2009 Booklist
Horn Book Review
Three different authors contribute volumes to the high-octane series about a treacherous, globe-circling scavenger hunt. Dan and Amy are still the principle underdogs in the search for the clues (a Mozart manuscript, a Japanese sword, ancient hieroglyphs) that will allow them to claim their family's historical power. The (stock) characters are energetically rendered; the action never abates. [Review covers these 39 Clues titles: One False Note, The Sword Thief, and Beyond the Grave.] (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.