The 39 Clues series opens with an eccentric old woman changing her will at the last minute before she breathes her last breath. The woman, Grace, is outrageously wealthy, and she has left her surviving relatives with two options: take one million dollars, or give up that skrilla for a clue that will be the first step on a race across the planet to obtain the mysterious source of the Cahill family’s power. “The Maze of Bones” introduces us to Dan and Amy Cahill, a brother and sister duo who are Grace’s grandchildren, as they try to beat their power-hungry and potentially murderous relatives in this quest.
What I loved about this first installment in the series is it is so fast-paced. Each chapter is its own adventure, and I found myself cruising through this book to find out how Amy and Dan would solve their hard-fought clues. This scavenger hunt is so outlandish, and Amy and Dan’s relatives are so ruthless, that each and every adventure is different with new riddles to solve and a rotating cast of villains to outwit or outrun. I’m shocked that there will be ten more books in the series, because the action in the first book alone could have filled a whole series in itself.
What was surprising about this action is that it’s also pretty educational. The scavenger hunt starts off with clues that can only be solved by a knowledge of Benjamin Franklin’s life, so Amy and Dan discover facts like Franklin’s invention of the lightning rod, his adoration of the French, and his essay on farts. The next book goes into Mozart’s life, and I can’t wait to read about Mozart tidbits I never knew before.
I’m also very excited that this series is written by multiple authors. The first is by Rick Riordan, one of the masters of middle grade adventure, who did the dang thing in starting off this historical and adrenaline-pumping quest. I’ve never read this sort of multi-authored series before, but I’m excited for middle grade readers to be introduced to a variety of authors to look into upon finishing these books. Thankfully, all the books are now in print, so I won’t have an idle period of twiddling my thumbs waiting for the next book. I’m off to solve these clues with the Cahills, and I’m hopeful they’ll be just as entertaining and gripping as the first!
An educational and action-packed scavenger hunt.
Eccentric old millionaires.