This is a review of the second 39 Clues series, Cahills vs. Vespers. It includes The Medusa Plot by Gordon Korman, A King’s Ransom by Jude Watson, The Dead of Night by Peter Lerangis, Shatterproof by Roland Smith, Trust No One by Linda Sue Park, and Day of Doom by David Baldacci.
Published: Every 3-6 months between 2011 and 2013
Genre: YA thriller
Length: 224 pages for the first, 192 for the next four, and 272 for the last book
Setting: Globally, present day
Interest: Mr. Curiosity and I have enjoyed the first series together, The 39 Clues, so we had to keep reading when the stories continued. In fact, the 39 Clues was one of the first series that Mr. Curiosity really loved and devoured, which led him into some other excellent books.
Summary: All the kids who participated in the clue hunt have decided to work together as Madrigals, monitoring problems around the world. Even so, they are caught flat-footed when seven Cahills (siblings or cousins of the core group of kids) are kidnapped by the shadowy Vespers. Vesper One then sends Amy and Dan around the world to acquire a series of ancient artifacts on the basis of cryptic clues. Amy and Dan meet Atticus and Jake Rosenbloom along the way, who help them in their searches. Atticus is one of the last Guardians that watch the Vespers, but his mom died before she could pass on all the information about the task. The hostages are trying to figure out how to escape, and the Cahills are looking for them, but it isn’t until the last book that they are able to get away from the Vespers. It turns out Vesper One is assembling Archimedes’ doomsday device, and he must be stopped or the world will end.
Final thoughts: Both Mr. Curiosity and I read this series together (often fighting over who gets to read the next book first). You definitely want to start with the 39 Clues series, since this series starts after the events in that series and doesn’t provide much background into the characters or previous events. This series is a bit darker than the first one, mainly because of the kidnapped kids who are put in some danger. A couple of the characters even die. There’s also a bit more romance, mainly associated with Amy. The storyline still follows the same basic plot – a clue is given and figured out, some history is discussed as Dan and Amy get to the artifact in question, and then adventure happens as they acquire the artifact.
A coupe of minor quibbles about the series. Every once in while, they’ll put a photo of either the characters or an artifact, and I found them rather jarring, particularly the photos of people. I have my own image of what the characters look like, and it is nothing like what the photos show. I think an illustration would have been better. Also, I wasn’t as happy with the last book. I usually don’t really notice when the author changes between books. For the last book, they brought in a big name author to write it, and he didn’t have the same voice as the other authors, and it didn’t work as well for me. Overall, though, while I thought the first series was better, I still enjoyed this series.
Mr. Curiosity even picked up on some of the differences between this series and the first one. He says it was a little scary at times, but definitely exciting. There was a lot more conflict in this series than in the first one.
Title comes from: The source of the conflict in this series was the Vespers, an organization working to gain power over the world and the natural enemies of the Cahills.
Reading challenges fulfilled: 33/100 in the Read-a-Latte Challenge (I finished Day of Doom this year, and read the others in a previous year).