Grace Cahill has just died. Fourteen year old Amy and her brother, eleven year old Dan, were Aunt Grace's favorite relatives. But now that she's dead, they, along with a bunch of other cousins, have been given a clue, the first of thirty-nine clues that will eventually lead someone to "the most important treasure in the world." With this, Amy and Dan start on an adventure that leads them to Paris. Along the way, they cross paths with their dangerous cousins who will stop at nothing, even possibly killing Dan and Amy, to get to the treasure themselves!
This is a very fun first book in what promises to be a great adventure series. The action moves pretty quickly, especially once they start searching for the next clue. The action takes them to lots of real destinations, and the plot includes references to real historical figures. It's kind of like The DaVinci Code for kids! I don't want to say too much about the story. The fun in these types of mystery-adventure books lies in going along for the ride without knowing where it's going!
I can say that the writing is very decent. This first book was written by Rick Riordan, the guy that wrote the "Percy Jackson & The Olympians" series. If you like those books, you will probably like these, too. There is action and humor. There is good detail without being so much that it gets in the way. The characters, and there are a bunch of them, are pretty one-dimensional, but I have a feeling they will become better realized as the story progresses in the following books.
When I first saw this book at the bookstore, I was a little wary. I didn't like that it was connected to a contest (when it was first published). Fortunately, I am glad to announce that the book definitely stands on its own! The contest may have been a way to entice reluctant readers to pick up the book, but the book is worth reading even without the contest.
The reader did a great job on reading this aloud. His voice performance made it easy to keep track of who was talking. I also liked the production on this audiobook. There was music to make it more dramatic or exciting in some parts, though the book didn't really need it. The action was enough to keep me interested. I really enjoyed the audiobook.
I am really looking forward to reading the other books. They are written by various authors, including some award-winners. I am interested in seeing how their own writing styles are reflected in the books.
If you like adventure books or mysteries or both, pick up this book!
Listen to an excerpt from the audiobook version: