From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
In a bold leap forward in marketing strategy, this first book in the 39 Clues series introduces readers to what promises to be a sensational mix of reading, online gaming, card-collecting, and even a grand-prize sweepstakes. The premise of the book: Grace Cahill, matriarch of the world's most powerful family, dies and leaves behind a challenge to her descendants. They can either inherit one million dollars, or forgo the money and receive the first of 39 clues that will lead them on an around-the-world adventure in search of, well, that's a secret. But it's an earth-shattering secret, and with 10 books planned for the series (each by a different author), it had better pay off in the end. Riordan, who has plotted the main arc for the series, gets the ball rolling nicely with likable brother-and-sister heroes, a cast of backstabbing relatives, and a smattering of puzzles and clues to decipher in the quest for the ultimate secret. Whether this intriguing book represents the first major event in a shifting world of publishing, or is simply a clever money- and attention-grabbing ploy remains to be seen, but it will be fascinating to see what kids make of it. (Library edition does not include game cards).--Chipman, Ian Copyright 2008 Booklist