Customer Reviews: The Medusa Plot (The 39 Clues: Cahills vs. Vespers, Book 1)
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on August 31, 2011
Two years have passed since Amy and Dan survived the hunt for the 39 clues. The now 16- and 13-year-olds have settled into the rebuilt mansion of their dear grandmother, with Uncle Fiske and Nellie as legal guardians. Both have grown and matured some; Amy even has a steady boyfriend named Evan. She still stutters sometimes, but has more confidence in herself. She knows that she will never escape being a Cahill, so she has been preparing herself for anything with constant workouts, self-defense lessons, and a fancy command center with lots of high-tech stuff. Dan, on the other hand, is bored. After racing around the world on an important quest, eighth grade seems rather trivial. He even drops into periods of depression. But before long, things get interesting --- and life-threatening --- again.

The Cahills are finally attempting a peaceful reunion, having called a cease fire. The older generation hasn't quite gotten the hang of it yet, but the younger cousins have actually become friends. Sort of. This is good as there's another enemy lurking about, and the Cahills will have to band together in order to survive. The evil Vespers kidnap seven of the Cahills to use as ransom: Nellie, Reagan, Uncle Fiske, Natalie, Alistair Oh, Ted, and 12-year-old Phoenix Wizard. The Vespers are using the hostages to force Dan, Amy and their cousins scrambling to steal a priceless painting of a severed Medusa head.

But nothing is as it seems, and trust is treacherous. Dan and Amy have serious doubts that they will be able to rescue Nellie and the other hostages in time. While Amy hits the library for research and reaches out to other Cahill resources, Dan starts on a backup plan. At the end of the clue hunt, they had destroyed the very dangerous 39-ingredient formula invented by Gideon Cahill that would have given a person absolute power. No human should have that kind of power. But one copy of the formula still exists --- in Dan's photographic memory. Dan starts collecting the rare ingredients to recreate the formula that he will use on himself to save Nellie.

This new spinoff series from the original 39 Clues books starts off with an adventurous bang. Gordon Korman takes the lead novel and does an outstanding job with lots of excitement, nonstop action and more around-the-world quests. In the first book, he shoots Dan and Amy off to Florence, Italy, to hunt down the famous and grotesque painting of the severed Medusa head. He uses lots of vivid imagery to set the scenes, giving readers a unique look at the story. Dan and Amy are a bit older, with different hurdles to overcome and mountains to traverse; Amy is in a serious relationship, and Dan is struggling with some depression. This may explain why the humor is a bit keyed down here as compared to previous installments, though the story does have some funny parts.

Keep your eyes roving for those clues stashed in the pages! Book Two is due out in December 2011 courtesy of Jude Watson.

--- Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman
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on November 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Had my 11YO son read this (he's a 39 clues fan) and tell me his thoughts.

Things he liked:
+ Lots of adventure
+ Characters were easy to relate to
+ He liked the characters
+ Fast paced - a lot happened quickly
+ Had all the elements needed for a fun story: good plot, likeable good guys, rotten bad guys, a little scary and a lot of excitement and mystery.

Things parents might want to know:
= The villains might be scary to younger children
= There is a small bit of violence
= There are some things that are not realistic

After a brain picking session, my son related some of the books events. I asked him how he felt about the violent part (wasn't bad so don't want to provide a spoiler), he said it was no big deal. Compared to what kids see on TV and read in other books, it probably wasn't. I heard the villains were really creepy, he said it wouldn't be good if they weren't. OK. There were some parts he told me about that I thought were totally unrealistic. His take was that it's just a story.

There's also cards that come with these books. We didn't get them with our copy. My son said he usually didn't use them anyway, but just liked reading the books. That tells me that the story is good enough to carry itself without the multi-media aspect. My 20YO daughter, however, loves to get her hands on the cards and check out the online stuff.
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on January 23, 2012
Having read the entire 39 Clues first 11 books
I was a little bit disappointed with the new series.
They went to some length in the previous books to say how the Cahills are the smartest most powerful family in the world, and here they have them being blackmailed into committing criminal acts by the Vespers.
It is good light reading even if dubious in plot and setting a bad example for ethics.
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on June 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This review was written by my daughter, who is a fan of the 39 Clues series:

Amy and Dan Cahill are members of the most important and dangerous family in history. When their beloved grandma Grace dies, they and a bunch of distant relatives are given a choice. They can get a million dollars or...a clue to start them on the greatest scavenger hunt the world has ever seen. Clue by clue, Amy and Dan uncover the secrets of the Cahill family and unravel the mystery behind their parents' death.

At the start of this new series, Amy and Dan have won the 39 Clues hunt and reunited their family. Now they face an even scarier enemy. The Vespers have kidnapped seven members of the Cahill family, including the siblings' guardians, Nellie Gomez and Fisk Cahill. Now Dan and Amy have to do what the leader of the Vespers says, or he will kill one of the hostages each time Amy or Dan disobeys him. In this book what he wants them to do is steal a work of art known as the Medusa. Oh, and if things aren't bad enough, Amy has to deal with her boyfriend, who is trying to find out where she is and what's going on. Will Amy find a way to tell him the truth? Will Amy or Dan break under the pressure and get one of their family members--maybe even one of their beloved guardians--killed?

I think this book was awesome, a great kick start to this new series. I love the new characters like Atticus, and Amy's boyfriend Evan. Also, there are characters that changed for the better, like Ian Cabra and Sinead Starling. If you thought the first part of the 39 clues series was great, you ain't seen nothing yet!
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on July 13, 2011
In a coordinated attack spanning seven time zones, several members of the powerful Cahill family are simultaneously kidnapped - and that's just the prologue of this sequel to the 39 CLUES. The first chapter of Book 1 of the new CAHILLS VS VESPERS series attempts to bring new readers up to speed without boring die-hard fans. Speaking of bored, that's how Dan Cahill is feeling now that the great clue hunt is over. He should have been more careful about what he wished for...

This preview - full of mystery, danger, and middle school angst -- will draw most readers in, though kids new to the series should consider starting with Book 1 of the 39 Clues. And fans probably don't need the sneak-peek to be hooked. Be forewarned, though: these are not quite the same Dan and Amy you last met. Time (and the Clue Hunt) have a way of changing things...
Oh, and as usual, there is a code for readers to unlock to open up a mission online. Good luck!
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on April 23, 2012
The book was delivered as promised in new condition. The book series is great for the kids & fun for adults to read as well. It takes kids all over the world & to different cultures & situations. This will keep you & your kids engaged in the process of reading, I guarantee it! Go back & start with the first book & work your way thru it to completely understand the events in this book. Enjoy!
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VINE VOICEon September 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )|Verified Purchase
The rest of the title of this one is The 39 Clues: Vespers vs Cahills. It is the first book in a new series that continues Amy's and Dan's adventures against a new, unknown enemy. Time has passed. Amy is now sixteen, has a boyfriend, and has spent the last two years training. Dan is thirteen. He has been greatly changed by the events of the 39 Clues. He is a loner and much more serious. Amy says that he gets lost in his own head.

When seven Cahills are kidnapped, including Uncle Fiske and Nellie Gomez, Amy and Dan must get together with the other young Cahills to try to rescue them. Their first task is to steal a painting of Medusa by Carvaggio from the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy. They are assisted by Jonah Wizard and Hamilton Holt. Supplying information back home and trying to find out more about the Vespers are Ian Kabra and Sinead Starling. Dan and Amy's adventure goes from Florence to Lake Como and to Rome. Along the way readers find out a lot about art and the Roman Colosseum.

There are clues to follow by looking closely at the pages. Readers will have a code to break on pages 39 to 62. There are also cards to collect and a website to visit which allow readers to have an even more interactive experience. I think that middle graders will enjoy this new series of adventures and be as eager for the next book as I am.
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VINE VOICEon November 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I had not read any of the previous 39 clues books but picked this up on a whim. My daughter (9) really enjoys them.

I was happy that the plot didn't seem too confusing to a newbie to the series. I really enjoyed the pacing of the story and the plot. I was a little concerned at the level of violence; while nothing ever really bad seems to happen to the main characters, there was a fair amount of violence and suspense to other characters in the book. For that reason I don't think I will be allowing my daughter to move on to the second series right away, and I will want to go back and read a couple of the original series to make sure they're not too violent.

I found the plot to be refreshing and enjoyable. While the kids are independent of adults, it's not because the adults are incompetent, as can be seen in other books, rather that the mystery is for kids.
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VINE VOICEon September 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )|Verified Purchase
Two years after the due hunt, seven Cahills are kidnapped by the enemy known as the Vespers, who are believed to be lead by Vesper 1. The only way to ransom the hostages have Amy, Dan, Ian, Hamilton, Somah and Sinead doing whatever Vesper 1 tells them and the rules are "no cops, no outsiders, and don't be late returning anything." To break these rules could mean that one of the hostages will die. The first task Vesper 1 gives the remaining Cahills is that they must steal a priceless painting,and they make their plan. From a high security mansion, they find the painting was a fake and the Vespers steal the real one. The revenge is promised to be taken out on one of the hostages and they must retrieve another item before the hostages are released.

This series has been a total favorite in my family, and we enjoyed the cliffhanger that this book is. If you love mystery, intrigue, and suspense, this book and series is a must read!
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VINE VOICEon May 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )|Verified Purchase
After waiting to hear from Amy and Dan since the hunt for the 39 clues we get to meet up again.
As with the original series these adventure stories are easy to relate to with timely refrences. They move quickly from chapter to chapter so no wiorries about dragging along waiting for action. There is plenty of suspence and danger to keep you on the edge of your seat but the villians are characturers of what you would expect from an evil villan.

If you read the first series, you should check back in and follow the new adventures, you won't be disapointed.
As with all the 39 clues books, you can always jump right in and not be lost.

Great to see it on Kindle!
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