Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The 39 Clues Book Five: The Black Circle by Patrick Carman

The 39 Clues Book Five: The Black Circle by Patrick Carman (Rated: C)
Scholastic Inc
ISBN: 978-0-545-06045-5
Published August 11, 2009
Hardcover, 168 pages

I am now halfway through this exciting series, which ends with Book Ten coming out August 2010. The Black Circle begins with a telegram that lures to Russia 11 year-old Dan Cahill and 14 year-old Amy Cahill—a brother and sister team who are in the race to uncover the 39 clues leading to great power. I must admit I had flashbacks of James Bond spy movies as I read this book.

What caught my interest this time is that Dan and Amy go through a whole risky adventure, even traveling from Cairo to Russia on their own without Nellie, their au pair. Instead, it is the Holts, particularly Hamilton, who assists them, working together with them to uncover the next clue. A camaraderie even forms between them by the end.

My maternal instincts, of course, rebelled against the fact that they were unchaperoned by an adult throughout their dangerous mission, but my reader and writer instincts tell me this was done for a reason. It emphasized the reality of their orphaned state and how they were unknowingly prepped by their grandmother Grace to take on this challenge. And adults who have been aware of the 39 clues for years assisted them in other ways. Throughout the whole book I wondered why Nellie was not involved, and then something occurs toward the end that leaves the reader wondering about her role in all of this.

The Lucian stronghold is the one we learn about this time and like all the other strongholds, there is always its powerful leader ready to strike their rivals. The force of the Madrigals, their enemy, is felt strongly too as Dan and Amy race with them close on their heels, along with the rest of the extended family who is taking part in the hunt. The man in black that makes a brief but sinister appearance in all the books does so again at a crucial moment (as usual), raising yet again the big question as to who he represents exactly. We also wonder more about Irina Spasky whose past loss cause an internal struggle for her and affect her actions.

Clearly, the clues that will answer all these questions are undoubtedly scattered throughout the books from the start, making me want to go back and reread them all. But for now I’ll just move on to Book Six.

Haven’t read any of the books? Check out my reviews on the previous books and stay tuned for the giveaway I will post tomorrow to win the first 5 books in this series!

Book One: The Maze of Bones
Book Two: One False Note
Book Three: The Sword Thief
Book Four: Beyond The Grave

Disclosure: Thank you to Nikole from Scholastic Canada for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.

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  1. Sounds like a great series! I know what you mean about unchaperoned kids in books, but I think it gives the young reader a strong sense of independence.

  2. I would have to agree with you there, And it is fiction after all.

  3. Like your review. I am into family history and like how this involves their dead grandmother and other extended relatives. Looks like a great read.


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