Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Review: The Black Book of Buried Secrets

The Black Book of Buried Secrets
The Black Book of Buried Secrets by Mallory Kass

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I finished this book, all I could think was, "This is The 39 Clues version of The Demigod Files." And I say that as a good thing. It was a great way to reacquaint oneself with the major players before the Cahills vs Vespers series starts, plus is a great jumping off point for learning more about certain figures in history. Now, as far as I know, there is no great family of Cahills that have been maneuvering the world for 500 years (and if there was, since I'm not a Cahill, I wouldn't know, would I?). But it is interesting to think what various historical figures would have done in their search for the clues. (I don't think it's been addressed, but I could imagine Agatha Christie's disappearance would have been because of a clue hunt.)

It's a good book for when you have short bursts of time in which to read. Each part is only a few pages long, yet it still packs a ton of information into each bit without it feeling overwhelming. Like I've said in the past, I think the 39 Clues series is a great one for getting kids interested in history and historical figures. It tells just enough about them to whet the appetite and leave kids (and adults) anxious for more. I've got several people that I don't remember hearing about that I'm going to be reading up on thanks to this book.

There were two parts of this book that I enjoyed above all others - the introduction, written by Rick Riordan and telling the story of the first face to face meeting of the Cahills responsible for putting the story of the 39 Clues out there in the hopes of protecting Amy and Dan. It was a fun read and I loved having a different look at the authors.

The other were the agent reports. Written as short vignettes rather than factual information blurbs, it helped bring the reader back into the world of the 39 Clues very easily. But then again, I really like good fiction.

I would definitely suggest waiting until after you've read the first ten books before picking up The Black Book of Buried Secrets, unless you don't mind being spoiled. It doesn't give away every little bit but it does have some pretty major spoilers throughout. It's not a necessity to read before you start the Cahills vs Vespers series, but I do think you would thank yourself for reading it.

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