The 39 Clues--Is It Over Yet?

Answer: No.

And I'm not even talking about the franchise as a whole.  I figured that since I'm a children's librarian, and kids are still really into The 39 Clues series from Scholastic, I should probably read it to see what all the brouhaha is about.  I just finished book 8 of the original series: The Emperor's Code by Gordon Korman.

As usual, Dan and Amy Cahill, members of a family that's basically responsible for everything that happened, ever, from 1600 to today, zip off to another country to find one of the eponymous clues.  This time it's China!

Actually, I think therein lies some of the appeal.  Kids can "travel" by reading a book (okay, obviously you can do that with any book, but this is a bit more straightforward).  So far Dan and Amy have been to France, Australia, Egypt, Austria, Russia, and various other places.  Krakatoa, I think.  They must Be On Their Guard against other family members, because all of their relatives are evil and scheming and ... just like your relatives!

The series is generally pretty fun, but this particular entry was one of the weaker ones I've read.  You expect a certain level of ridiculousness with this type of book.  Here, it's completely over the top.  Not only does Dan train with Shaolin monks, but he also busts up some terracotta soldiers and, with Amy, flies in a helicopter to the top of Mount Everest in a completely futile and pointless plot ... thing.  I don't even know what to call it.

I'll probably finish out the original series, but I refuse to do the myriad spinoff series.  Milk that money cow.


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