Review Detail

A Welcome Change of Pace in the 39 Clues
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
The first two books of the 39 Clues series were rather similar, which was great. They established the world of the series, and got us into the mindset of Amy and Dan Cahill so solidly, that by the time the third book came around, I was looking for something a little different than the opening books of the series. Peter Lerangis definitely provided this variety in “The Sword Thief,” the third installment of the Cahills’ global goose chase to solve the riddle of the 39 Clues!

“The Sword Thief” follows Amy and Dan as they head to Tokyo, Japan to discover what the next ingredient will be in the mysterious recipe the clues seem to be revealing. As with the first two books, the siblings find themselves in perilous situations, with near impossible situations being beaten through some adrenaline-pumping action.

What makes “The Sword Thief” stand out from its predecessors is that Amy and Dan have to team up with a few of their villainous relatives to make it through this leg of the scavenger hunt. Uncle Alistair is fluent in Japanese, and has a place to stay in the area, so he trades these assets with Amy and Dan for information they’ve gleaned from the samurai swords they procured in the second book. This is surprising, seeing as Alistair left the Cahills to burn when their grandmother’s mansion went up in flames. What’s even more surprising is that Amy and Dan have also decided to join forces with Ian and Natalie Kabra, two of the most selfish and dastardly Cahill relatives we’ve yet to meet.

This unlikely team helped give dimension to the people competing against Amy and Dan for the Cahill family secret who were previously portrayed as bad guys. We learn that Alistair may actually be much kinder than originally thought, and we discover that while Ian and Natalie are pretty cunning, they’ve got some soft sides to them too. Ultimately, “The Sword Thief” shows that while they may be competing against Amy and Dan, the siblings’ relatives have life goals of their own that the 39 clues could help them achieve. It’s up to the reader to decide whose goals are the most honorable, or even if those goals are honorable at all.
Good Points
New dimensions to the villainous Cahills.
Shift in scenery from Europe to Asia.
Interesting tidbits about Japan.
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