Preview: The Viper’s Nest (39 Clues #7)

I’m writing a newspaper review of The 39 Clues book 7: The Viper’s Nest by Peter Lerangis, but I just finished it tonight (I couldn’t put it down, even while getting my hair done at the salon) and I’m dying to spill the beans on what happens in this one, but of course I won’t, so here’s a sneak peek instead.

(Spoiler free sneak peek after the cut).

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More Cahill secrets revealed in “In Too Deep”

intoodeepSurprising revelations are in store for 39 Clues treasure hunters as Scholastic’s landmark multimedia action-adventure series comes out with the sixth volume, In Too Deep, in the race to uncover the Cahill family legacy.

Jude Watson (a pen name for Judy Blundell) returns with her second book in the multi-authored ten-book series. Watson previously penned the fourth volume, Beyond the Grave, which led the series to jump on to the US national bestseller lists, hitting the highest bestseller list ranking for the series to date on USA Today.

In In Too Deep, Dan and Amy Cahill find themselves in the Pacific, where the adventure takes them out on the Australian surf, then deep into the Australian outback, and eventually in the tropics of Indonesia.

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39 Clues hits the halfway mark with “The Black Circle”


Nearly a year after its launch, Scholastic’s groundbreaking action adventure series, The 39 Clues, reaches the halfway mark with the fifth installment of the ten book-series, The Black Circle (book#135 for 2009), by Patrick Carman.

The interactive multi-media series has been making its way to eager young readers around the world. Aside from the simultaneous release of the hardcover and audio editions in various parts of the word, Scholastic reports that the series has been licensed for publication in 17 foreign languages, including Japanese, Italian, German, Chinese, French, Greek, and Hebrew.

The adventure series recently made its debut in Scandinavia with the first three books released in Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway, and followed by the release of the first three books in Japan. Additional international editions are set for release in 2010.

At the heart of the series is the Cahill family, a powerful family that has produced the movers and shakers in world history. When the last remaining Cahill matriarch, Grace, passes away, she leaves 11-year old Dan and his  14-year old sister Amy a strange bequest: the choice between a million dollars for each of them, or the first clue in the quest for the Cahill family legacy, and a reward beyond measure.

Choosing the path of adventure, Dan and Amy go off on the adventure of a lifetime to beat the rest of the Cahills to the source of their family’s power, getting in touch with the lives of other prominent Cahills along the way:  Benjamin Franklin in The Maze of Bones, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in One False Note, Toyotomi Hideyoshi in The Sword Thief, and Howard Carter in Beyond the Grave.
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Currently reading: Beyond the Grave (The 39 Clues Book 4)


Squee! Finally Book 4 of The 39 Clues series is here. I’ve been so excited to read this, after reviewing Maze of Bones and One False Note and The Sword Thief. I’m halfway through Beyond the Grave but I am reviewing it for Manila Bulletin so I won’t be able to post the review here just yet.

In the meantime, you’ll find ten things about the book beyond the cut. Don’t worry, no crucial spoilers!
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Squee for Book Three!

I have always thought The 39 Clues was a brilliant marketing coup on the part of Scholastic, but as I closed the cover on my copy of the third installment in the series (I was reading it for an article for Manila Bulletin, which comes out on Saturday), The Sword Thief by Peter Lerangis (Book #40 for 2009), I think the it would be safe to say that it has gotten into its groove. 

I’m not sure which factors in more, if it’s Lerangis’ writing that makes the difference (he did ghost-write for my favorite mystery series, The Three Investigators) or if the mechanisms set in place by the first two books were simply put in motion, but I honestly loved The Sword Thief more than I did the first two books (I rated them both 4/5 stars, and not so much for the story but for the reading experience).

For the first two books, as action-packed as they were, I felt a certain detachment towards the text, like I was an impartial witness to the action unfolding throughout the pages. Book 3 fits in with the rest of the series (with no less than Nick and Norah author David Levithan directing the editorial team), with the trademark 39 Clues twisty chase (suspension of disbelief is a given, think National Treasure or Da Vinci Code) but to my surprise, The Sword Thief captured what I felt was lacking in the series: an added depth to the characters, and interesting dynamics between the Cahill relatives, which comes in at an opportune moment, because the cat-and-mouse, left-and-right sabotage can get pretty old after a while.

I guess Lerangis’ writing does deserve to be singled out, as he manages to add more introspection to the characters and keep up with the line of action — 20 pages under the last book, at that — and I feel that this book captured the spirit of 39 Clues most succintly.

I think it can only get better from here on, and I can’t wait for Book 4, Beyond the Grave by Jude Watson, which is out in June. Should be good, set in classic treasure hunt wonderland: Egypt!

That reminds me, I should input the cards onto my account soon and get a move on with the clues in the online game… Arrgh, the problem is the game site is sooo addictive and I can’t limit myself to an hour playing…. And I also need to get an expansion card pack soon before the new set (for the next books) is released. Ohhh, to be a kid again!

P.S. If there are any other Cahills out there, I’m a Lucian.

My copy: hardcover (the series is in hardcover)

My rating: 5/5 stars