The first installment is written by Rick Riordan, and read by David Pittu. Pittu does an admirable job inventing accents and distinct voices for the many characters of varying nationalities - no small feat and very helpful in sorting out the many members of the vast and varied Cahill clan. One minor complaint -his voice is not ideally suited for portraying the young female characters.
I don’t think that this series will be Scholastic’s answer to the Harry Potter void, but The 39 Clues concept has a lot of potential. The accompanying online game (http://www.39clues.com/) and trading cards add interest and intrigue to a story that contains enough of both to stand on its own. Several kids have told me that they enjoy the online game. The online quest does not require the player to read the book (a shame in my opinion).
As a public librarian, I'm not too sure about how the enclosed trading cards will work. The cards contain a code that can be used to obtain clues for the online quest. The downside - the code may only be used once - making them impractical for public library circulation. I understand that future library editions will not contain trading cards. Hopefully, the cards are not essential in solving the mystery.
It will be interesting to see how future authors will pick up on the threads of Rick Riordan, and if the interest will grow with each new book. Anything that entices kids to read is a winner in my book, so I hope the multi media concept is successful!A co-worker described Maze of Bones as "National Treasure meets Spy Kids. " I can't sum it up any better than that. Enjoy!
Book #2 is due out in January and will be written by Gordon Korman.
NOTE: I just discovered something! The audiobook has one more chapter than the print version does...more intrigue for followers of the 39 Clues!