Reviews for One False Note

Booklist Reviews 2009 February #1
The multipronged attack (books, playing cards, online games, prize sweepstakes) of the 39 Clues extravaganza dashes onward in this second book. Korman takes the reins from Rick Riordan, responsible for series opener The Maze of Bones (2008), with barely a hitch as Amy and Dan Cahill continue their quest to solve the mystery of their wide-ranging and powerful extended family (a tree that branches from Mozart to Picasso to Snoop Dogg). The siblings bickering increases as they hunt down the next clue, but so do their successes as they manage to be always one step ahead of their various cutthroat cousins. Korman dutifully moves the plot from point B to point C but only advances the wider story a smidge, which is hewing closer to the TV reality show The Amazing Race than the puzzle-studded mystery that sleuths may be anticipating. But, if the creators have bet correctly, it matters little that the story is already threatening to become repetitive and only mildly satisfying in itself, as kids will already have too much attention invested in the whole conglomerate to consider bailing. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2009 Fall
Three different authors contribute volumes to the high-octane series about a treacherous, globe-circling scavenger hunt. Dan and Amy are still the principle underdogs in the search for the clues (a Mozart manuscript, a Japanese sword, ancient hieroglyphs) that will allow them to claim their family's historical power. The (stock) characters are energetically rendered; the action never abates. [Review covers these 39 Clues titles: One False Note, The Sword Thief, and Beyond the Grave.] Copyright 2009 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

VOYA Reviews 2009 April
Several well-known middle grade authors pen the highly publicized new adventure series, The 39 Clues. Each of the planned ten books in the series will feature a different writer. Fourteen-year-old Amy and eleven-year-old Dan Cahill each turn down a million dollars at their grandmother's funeral. They give up the money to participate in an elaborate scavenger hunt that promises to reveal power and riches to the winner. The brother and sister duo quickly find out that the other family members in the globe-trotting search will stop at nothing to win. Their investigation hinges on information about and from Benjamin Franklin. Soon the pair is off to Philadelphia and Paris. Avoiding their evil relatives and searching for the riddle-laden clues, Amy and Dan struggle to survive this dangerous questRiordan starts this series with a fast-paced rollick. The characters, the danger, and the events are far-fetched but fun. The mystery, historical connections, and exotic locales will entertain readers. Although the two encounter many dangerous situations, they always seem to find a hidden passageway or uncover a secret escape route. Their efforts are entertaining early on, but begin to eliminate any real suspense for the reader as the story progresses. Korman's One False Note picks up Amy and Dan Cahill's story. This time the search takes them away from Paris to Vienna, Austria. Mozart serves as the catalyst for the adventure as the clues hinge on a mysterious piece of music from the composer. The Cahills find additional information and seem to be the frontrunners in this scavenger hunt, which makes the other participants even more dastardly in this installment. One False Note incorporates a touch more humor, which Korman's followers might expect, and Dan Cahill's character seems to be slightly more sarcastic. Overall the second book follows seamlessly. It too is fast-paced and full of over-the-top thrills. The suspense is forced, at times, and it seems as though nearly every line of dialogue is punctuated by an exclamation pointThe series encourages readers to buy playing cards and to play a computer game in order to win prizes. The marketing tie-in is strong, and it will be interesting to see if these hooks promote people to buy the books. Both books are solid, quick reads, but neither represents the authors' best work. The series, however, should prove to be quite popular in middle schools and will send preteens clamoring for the next installment.--Jeff Mann 3Q 4P M J Copyright 2009 Voya Reviews.