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4.7 out of 5 stars
The Maze of Bones (The 39 Clues)
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
This is the first book in an amazing new series. In it the Cahill's family matriarch passes away. In her will she leaves one million dollars to each family member, or they can trade that money-order for a clue that will lead to the treasure that will lead them to become the greatest Cahill of all time. There are four branches in the family: Janus, Ekaterina, Lucian and Thomas. Each branch has its own strengths and weaknesses. Our story follows Amy and Dan Cahill, orphans who choose to take the quest. The adventure crosses continents and has clues hidden in art, architecture, music and more.

This series will be unique in a number of ways. First, even though there will be 10 books in the series telling a continuous story, it will be told by seven different authors. Second, the website linked to the games has specific puzzles and games to play linked to each book. These games and puzzles are available only for a certain period of time. Third, each book comes with 6 clue cards; these cards unlock different things on the website. There are also supplemental card packs that can be purchased to supplement your clues. Scholastic is also giving away over $100,000 dollars to youth who solve the puzzles.

The story begins with Grace Cahill changing her will and dying. Then at her funeral the challenge is set to discover the 39 clues. After that things get interesting, with Grace's mansion burning down, family members threatening each other, bombs - and that is just the beginning of the adventure. They will travel across continents, through catacombs, museums and much more. Dan and Amy are at a distinct disadvantage, for unlike the rest of their relatives, they are not rich, famous, or experienced. Yet they were also Grace's favorites and she may have been grooming them for just such a challenge. Yet you have to read to find out.

This is a great book and a wonderful beginning of a new series. It is better than the Da Vinci Code, and will be a great read for people of all ages. It has great adventure, interesting scenes, places and puzzles. It is an absolute page- turner. I cannot wait to see what will happen next.

The 39 Clues:

The Maze of Bones - Book 1 - Rick Riordan
One False Note - Book 2 - Gordon Korman
The Sword Thief - Book 3 - Peter Lerangis
Beyond the Grave - Book 4 - Jude Watson (June 2009)
Book 5 - Patrick Carman (August 2009)
Book 6 - Jude Watson (November 2009)
Book 7 - Peter Lerangis (February 2010)
Book 8 - Gordon Korman (April 2010)
Book 9 - Linda Sue Park (June 2010)
Book 10 - Margaret Peterson Haddix (September 2010)

Card Pack #1 - Books 1-3
Card Pack #2 - Books 4-6 (June 2009)
Card Pack #3 - Books 7-9 (February 2010)
Rare Card Pack (June 2010)

(First Published in Imprint 2009-03-20.)
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Dan and Amy had always felt that they were Grandma Grace's favorites. Ever since their parents had died, she'd always had time to spend with them. She appreciated their gifts and always encouraged their creativity. When she passed, Dan and Amy were deeply saddened. All the relatives showed up at the funeral but really they were all just hoping to get a piece of Grace's vast fortune.

Grace being a rather unique woman herself, arranged to have the last word. After the funeral, a group of the relatives was quickly ushered into a room where the will was to be read. Each person was offered a choice. They could either leave the room with a million dollars or they could get a clue that would lead them on a quest. The first group to find 39 clues would find out something that would make them the most powerful person ever.

As you'd expect, Dan and Amy take their clue and begin the very dangerous journey. The first clue leads them to Benjamin Franklin, a distant relative to the children. It's a journey that takes them across the country and eventually to France. The two experience secret rooms, burning buildings, explosions, and creepy catacombs.

Read the book and then be sure to sign up for the online game. The website includes a variety of different fun interactive games and code breaking exercises that help uncover even more clues. Each week more activities are added.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
I decided to wait until I had read the second book in the series, One False Note, to review The Maze of Bones. I wanted to see how well the books work without the game cards, Web site, and contest.

Imagine that the Wizard of Oz had been written as a ten part book where you could read what happens to Dorothy and Toto along with clues to help get them home . . . with an opportunity to win a cash prize for solving the clues before anyone else. It would have been a nice publicity stunt, but the pleasure of reading about Dorothy's adventures would have been no less.

The 39 Clues provides a similar opportunity to my imaginary alternative to The Wizard of Oz. The series is a cross between The Amazing Race, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Survivor . . . constructed as a competition for youngsters.

As the book opens, an elderly woman, Grace Cahill, is dying. She instructs her attorney to employ "the alternate will." At her funeral, a handful of the 400 Cahill relatives who attend are invited by ticket to attend a reading of the will. During the reading, each person is given five minutes to choose between taking one million dollars or competing in a contest to solve 39 clues in order to become the heir to the Cahill destiny and become the most powerful people on Earth. They may compete as individuals or as teams. Most people take the money and leave.

Orphans Amy (fourteen) and Dan (eleven) Cahill are pressured by their great Aunt Beatrice (their grandmother Grace's sister) to take the money. She is also their guardian and says she will turn them over to the state to live in foster homes if they don't take the money. The two decide that they want to compete, having a chance to honor their grandmother's faith in them and their parents' memory. Naturally, the siblings form a team, but how will they compete without any money and adults to help them?

Within minutes the competition takes a potentially lethal turn as it becomes obvious that some of the Cahills will stop at nothing to win the competition.

In the rest of the book you'll get to know Amy and Dan better, meet their au pair, Nellie Gomez, and travel to Boston, Philadelphia, and across the Atlantic to Europe. An important American turns out to be important to solving the first clue, and you'll read a lot about that person.

Youngsters will like it that children are the stars of the book (and the contest) with adults playing a supporting role. Parents will be happy that the book contains a lot of interesting historical, biographical, and geographical information in a format that makes learning fun.

The book's main weakness is that it doesn't do much to develop the characters of Amy and Dan before the contest begins. As a result, you'll root for them as underdogs and wish them well . . . but you won't identify with them as closely as if you knew a lot more about them (as Roald Dahl did by introducing the Buckets in detail before launching the golden ticket contest).

The writing is otherwise quite good, and you'll find yourself slipping rather easily into the adventure fantasy (despite many details in the story that don't quite work in real life). I liked the excitement of The Maze of Bones better than the more intellectual focus of One False Note. The two books are rewarding for different reasons.

Don't expect, however, that the writing is the same or that the characters behave in the same way. As with any multiple-author series, there will be shifts from book to book.

To me, the only thing better than a good mystery . . . is a longer good mystery. With the prospect of ten books to keep me entertained, I'm looking forward to reading all ten.

I did look at the game cards and only found two that related to the first story. Those two didn't add much to my understanding of the book. The others seemed to relate to future stories, so they did give me a sense of the future story line. That part was nice.

I haven't tried the online site for playing the games because I'm not interested in the contest, but if that is something you enjoy, please do take a look.

I'm sure the focus will shift more towards the game in 2010 as the book series ends. But until then, you can just have lots of fun with the books!

If you like this story, I also encourage you to ask your relatives about your family's history. You might find that your relatives are connected to some pretty famous events and places. Wouldn't that be fun?
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Grace Cahill changed her will moments before she died. For Amy and Dan, the loss of Grace, their grandmother, is a terribly sad event. They will miss their weekends spending time at the family mansion hearing stories of Grace's past adventures and exploring the many rooms.

After the funeral, certain family members are invited to the reading of the will. Amy and Dan are included. Everyone is anxious to find out what their inheritance will be. No one expects what happens. Everyone is given a choice - take one million dollars or give it up for a clue. A clue that will lead to a deep family secret. The one who follows all 39 clues and uncovers the secret will become the most powerful Cahill in the world.

Amy and Dan are 1 of 7 teams competing for the clues. The other teams may be made up of family members, but that doesn't mean they aren't dangerous.

Everyone wants Amy and Dan out of the way. They think they have inside information since they were Grace's favorites. The problem is, Amy and Dan know even less than everyone else. They were never told how much influence the Cahill family has had in the world throughout the years. Because of their lack of knowledge and kind natures, Amy and Dan's lives are put in danger several times as they fly to Paris and search for Clue #2.

THE MAZE OF BONES is a fast-paced, adventure-filled mystery. Each book comes with a set of clue cards. You are encouraged to visit the website, create an account, and begin solving the puzzle. You can win over $100,000 in prizes.

The second book in the series, called ONE FALSE NOTE, is written by Gordon Korman and will be released December 2, 2008. Book Three is THE SWORD THIEF by Peter Lerangis and will be available on March 3, 2009. Seven more books are planned and the series will be completed in 2010.

OH - and if the clue cards and interactive website aren't enough, the books have already been optioned for a movie. Word has it, Steven Spielberg is going to direct. WOW!

Reviewed by: Karin Librarian
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This is the first book in an amazing new series. In it the Cahill's family matriarch passes away. In her will she leaves one million dollars to each family member, or they can trade that money-order for a clue that will lead to the treasure that will lead them to become the greatest Cahill of all time. There are four branches in the family: Janus, Ekaterina, Lucian and Thomas. Each branch has its own strengths and weaknesses. Our story follows Amy and Dan Cahill, orphans who choose to take the quest. The adventure crosses continents and has clues hidden in art, architecture, music and more.

This series will be unique in a number of ways. First, even though there will be 10 books in the series telling a continuous story, it will be told by seven different authors. Second, the website linked to the games has specific puzzles and games to play linked to each book. These games and puzzles are available only for a certain period of time. Third, each book comes with 6 clue cards; these cards unlock different things on the website. There are also supplemental card packs that can be purchased to supplement your clues. Scholastic is also giving away over $100,000 dollars to youth who solve the puzzles.

The story begins with Grace Cahill changing her will and dying. Then at her funeral the challenge is set to discover the 39 clues. After that things get interesting, with Grace's mansion burning down, family members threatening each other, bombs - and that is just the beginning of the adventure. They will travel across continents, through catacombs, museums and much more. Dan and Amy are at a distinct disadvantage, for unlike the rest of their relatives, they are not rich, famous, or experienced. Yet they were also Grace's favorites and she may have been grooming them for just such a challenge. Yet you have to read to find out.

This is a great book and a wonderful beginning of a new series. It is better than the Da Vinci Code, and will be a great read for people of all ages. It has great adventure, interesting scenes, places and puzzles. It is an absolute page- turner. I cannot wait to see what will happen next.

The 39 Clues:

The Maze of Bones - Book 1 - Rick Riordan
One False Note - Book 2 - Gordon Korman
The Sword Thief - Book 3 - Peter Lerangis
Beyond the Grave - Book 4 - Jude Watson (June 2009)
Book 5 - Patrick Carman (August 2009)
Book 6 - Jude Watson (November 2009)
Book 7 - Peter Lerangis (February 2010)
Book 8 - Gordon Korman (April 2010)
Book 9 - Linda Sue Park (June 2010)
Book 10 - Margaret Peterson Haddix (September 2010)

Card Pack #1 - Books 1-3
Card Pack #2 - Books 4-6 (June 2009)
Card Pack #3 - Books 7-9 (February 2010)
Rare Card Pack (June 2010)

(First Published in Imprint 2009-03-20.)
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This is the first book in an amazing new series. In it the Cahill's family matriarch passes away. In her will she leaves one million dollars to each family member, or they can trade that money-order for a clue that will lead to the treasure that will lead them to become the greatest Cahill of all time. There are four branches in the family: Janus, Ekaterina, Lucian and Thomas. Each branch has its own strengths and weaknesses. Our story follows Amy and Dan Cahill, orphans who choose to take the quest. The adventure crosses continents and has clues hidden in art, architecture, music and more.

This series will be unique in a number of ways. First, even though there will be 10 books in the series telling a continuous story, it will be told by seven different authors. Second, the website linked to the games has specific puzzles and games to play linked to each book. These games and puzzles are available only for a certain period of time. Third, each book comes with 6 clue cards; these cards unlock different things on the website. There are also supplemental card packs that can be purchased to supplement your clues. Scholastic is also giving away over $100,000 dollars to youth who solve the puzzles.

The story begins with Grace Cahill changing her will and dying. Then at her funeral the challenge is set to discover the 39 clues. After that things get interesting, with Grace's mansion burning down, family members threatening each other, bombs - and that is just the beginning of the adventure. They will travel across continents, through catacombs, museums and much more. Dan and Amy are at a distinct disadvantage, for unlike the rest of their relatives, they are not rich, famous, or experienced. Yet they were also Grace's favorites and she may have been grooming them for just such a challenge. Yet you have to read to find out.

This is a great book and a wonderful beginning of a new series. It is better than the Da Vinci Code, and will be a great read for people of all ages. It has great adventure, interesting scenes, places and puzzles. It is an absolute page- turner. I cannot wait to see what will happen next.

The 39 Clues:

The Maze of Bones - Book 1 - Rick Riordan
One False Note - Book 2 - Gordon Korman
The Sword Thief - Book 3 - Peter Lerangis
Beyond the Grave - Book 4 - Jude Watson (June 2009)
Book 5 - Patrick Carman (August 2009)
Book 6 - Jude Watson (November 2009)
Book 7 - Peter Lerangis (February 2010)
Book 8 - Gordon Korman (April 2010)
Book 9 - Linda Sue Park (June 2010)
Book 10 - Margaret Peterson Haddix (September 2010)

Card Pack #1 - Books 1-3
Card Pack #2 - Books 4-6 (June 2009)
Card Pack #3 - Books 7-9 (February 2010)
Rare Card Pack (June 2010)

(First Published in Imprint 2009-03-20.)
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This is the first book in an amazing new series. In it the Cahill's family matriarch passes away. In her will she leaves one million dollars to each family member, or they can trade that money-order for a clue that will lead to the treasure that will lead them to become the greatest Cahill of all time. There are four branches in the family: Janus, Ekaterina, Lucian and Thomas. Each branch has its own strengths and weaknesses. Our story follows Amy and Dan Cahill, orphans who choose to take the quest. The adventure crosses continents and has clues hidden in art, architecture, music and more.

This series will be unique in a number of ways. First, even though there will be 10 books in the series telling a continuous story, it will be told by seven different authors. Second, the website linked to the games has specific puzzles and games to play linked to each book. These games and puzzles are available only for a certain period of time. Third, each book comes with 6 clue cards; these cards unlock different things on the website. There are also supplemental card packs that can be purchased to supplement your clues. Scholastic is also giving away over $100,000 dollars to youth who solve the puzzles.

The story begins with Grace Cahill changing her will and dying. Then at her funeral the challenge is set to discover the 39 clues. After that things get interesting, with Grace's mansion burning down, family members threatening each other, bombs - and that is just the beginning of the adventure. They will travel across continents, through catacombs, museums and much more. Dan and Amy are at a distinct disadvantage, for unlike the rest of their relatives, they are not rich, famous, or experienced. Yet they were also Grace's favorites and she may have been grooming them for just such a challenge. Yet you have to read to find out.

This is a great book and a wonderful beginning of a new series. It is better than the Da Vinci Code, and will be a great read for people of all ages. It has great adventure, interesting scenes, places and puzzles. It is an absolute page- turner. I cannot wait to see what will happen next.

The 39 Clues:

The Maze of Bones - Book 1 - Rick Riordan
One False Note - Book 2 - Gordon Korman
The Sword Thief - Book 3 - Peter Lerangis
Beyond the Grave - Book 4 - Jude Watson (June 2009)
Book 5 - Patrick Carman (August 2009)
Book 6 - Jude Watson (November 2009)
Book 7 - Peter Lerangis (February 2010)
Book 8 - Gordon Korman (April 2010)
Book 9 - Linda Sue Park (June 2010)
Book 10 - Margaret Peterson Haddix (September 2010)

Card Pack #1 - Books 1-3
Card Pack #2 - Books 4-6 (June 2009)
Card Pack #3 - Books 7-9 (February 2010)
Rare Card Pack (June 2010)

(First Published in Imprint 2009-03-20.)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 4 March 2010
I bought this book and I really enjoyed it. I thought that the storyline was great and I currently want to read the next one. I read a lot of reveiws that said it was good, and I totally agree with them!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 8 June 2010
I am always looking for a book series for my 11 year old daughter and this book shows promise. My daughter has already read the first four and seems hooked!
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VINE VOICEon 8 January 2012
Grace Cahill becomes victim of cancer leaving her tow favorite grand children to find for themselves. The children Amy and Dan have a choice of taking a million dollars and a nasty old curmudgeon aunt or become part of something grate that will change the nature of the world.

This book kicks off a great adventure filled with many dangers and impossible clues. We get to go along and kibitz.

I came late to this series. It looks like each book thought sticking to a pre-described formula brings the strengths and accent of individual authors. I was a little annoyed at the over descriptions of historic characters as Ben Franklin. Then I realized that it is a sneaky way to slip a little history in the the fun mystery. It sort of follows the formula of "Sophie's World" by Jostein Gaarder. Or is it more on the lines of "A Series of Unfortunate Events"? The story and the twists and turns, even though hardly original, are pretty sophisticated for a youth series. However leaving cliffhangers at the expense of a temporary wrap-up is also quite annoying.

Yes there are games, puzzles and what not being merchandized but they are held together by the better than average writing of the series.
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