39 Clues: One False Note
by Gordon Korman
Review by Gayle Surrette
Scholastic Inc. Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780545060424
Date: 01 December 2008 List Price $12.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
The 39 Clues began in September 2008 with the release of The Maze of Bones by Rick Riodan. This series of ten books will follow Amy Cahill (14) and her brother Dan (11) as they search for the clues that will gain them the power of the Cahill family and untold riches. Each book will be written by a different author, following an overall story arc. Book two, One False Note is by Gordon Korman.
Once again Amy and Dan are finding that while they are trying to play it fair, none of the other groups searching for the clues seem to have any concept of fair play. So, once again Amy, Dan, and their au pair Nellie Gomez are struggling to stay alive long enough to gain the clues needed to win the contest. Is the contest worth it if, in order to win, they have to become people they wouldn't like?
Maze of Bones had Amy and Dan learning about the life and times of Benjamin Franklin. Now their efforts focus on trying to find the next clue by learning all they can and following in the footsteps of Mozart. They travel to Europe to visit places associated with Mozart hoping to find the next clue. All they have is the bit of music they found in France.
Once again they must stay ahead of Jonah Wizard, the Holts, and the Kabras twins, not to mention the ex-KGB agent Irina Spasky, and Alistair Oh. While Amy and Dan keeping hoping that the contest will be one of wits and research, the others aren't above trying to eliminate the competition -- permanently.
Amy and Dan are becoming more understanding of each other's strengths and weaknesses. Siblings will always have some problems dealing with each other but they are growing closer as this adventure continues. Luckily, they're traveling with their young au pair Nellie Gomez, who can act as the responsible adult and pull out her credit card when necessary. She's the voice of reason when it comes to conserving money, and even better she can converse in several languages. Nellie is up for the adventure and she truly cares for the children.
Changing authors with each book may make for a bit of a bumpy ride. However, I found the writing style of Korman to be much smoother than Riodan's -- with far less repetitive information and smoother informational dumps. Since the gaining of clues depends on being able to recognize the important points of the information about the central figure -- Mozart in this case -- having the information given in an entertaining and information fashion is critical.
I'm hoping the the target audience for these books enjoy them as much as I do. While I knew most of the information that was given about Benjamin Franklin in the last book, I found most of the information about Mozart was new to me. So, as an adult, I find these books educational, entertaining, and a great adventure.