Cahills vs Vespers Book One: The Medusa Plot by Gordon Korman

Summary from the Back Cover:

Thirteen-year-old Dan Cahill and his older sister, Amy, thought they belonged to the world's most powerful family. They thought the hunt for 39 Clues leading to the source of that power was over. They even thought they'd won. But Amy and Dan were wrong.

One by one, distress calls start coming in from around the globe. Cahills are being kidnapped by a shadowy group known only as the Vespers. Now Amy and Dan have only days to fulfill a bizarre ransom request or their captured friends will start dying. Amy and Dan don't know what the Vespers want or how to stop them. Only one thing is clear. The Vespers are playing to win, and if they get their hands on the Clues . . . the world will be their next hostage.

I had my eye on 39 Clues for awhile now but I haven't really gotten around to acquiring one so I was thrilled when I was one of the winners at the Filipino Reader Conference Raffle and got this book as my prize. (Special thanks to Scholastic for sponsoring the giveaway!) 

For those of you who haven't read any of the other 39 Clues book yet, there is no need to worry because I was able to follow the story despite that. It's fast paced and exciting especially since siblings Amy and Dan have to race around Europe in an attempt to fulfill Vesper One's wish that they steal the Medusa Painting by Caravaggio for him, in a heavily guarded Museum. Failure to do so will result in the death of anyone of the seven Cahill family members being held hostage. But it just doesn't stop with stealing the painting they also stumble upon clues and puzzles that might lead them to uncover who Vesper One is as well as get an insight as to what he really wants to get which is way beyond the acquisition of the Medusa painting. The puzzles are definitely intriguing since they are connected with historical personalities like Carvaggio, Da Vinci, and Marco Polo. The story also took me on a tour of Florence and Rome. I love that there's a history lesson here and there. I particularly learned a lot about the nooks and crannies of The Coliseum. And a little bit about Caravaggio and Da Vinci and The Ufizi Museum in Florence as well as events like the flood of the Arno River and the involvement of the Mud Angels. I could go on and on about many other things that I've picked up from this book. It reminded me a bit of Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code, a for-the-younger reader and less controversial version of it. 

I also love the idea of a powerful family with various branches, each of which have their own special skills. Just like Harry Potter's four houses, or The Game of Thrones' houses. I like the characters well enough. I'm always a sucker for genius kids. Dan with his photographic memory and knack at puzzle solving and his sister Amy who, thanks to being a reader, knows every historical fact in existence. She is also been known to kick ass with martial arts. They go through what most siblings do, there's the teasing and the arguing but deepened by feelings of isolation on Dan's part as Amy shares a relationship with Evan, her boyfriend. Amy on the other hand also feels sad with Dan's occasional withdrawal from the world and into his own shell. This kind of conflict added a nice touch to the story.


All in all, its an exciting read with a fun history/humanities lesson to boot. It's hitting two birds with one stone. I'm pretty curious about the other books in this series especially that they are authored by different people. 

Comments

  1. I love this series! I always look forward to the release dates of the next books of the series. I agree with you that the historical information presented makes the book more interesting to read. I also learn a lot from it. You should read the rest! The third book was just released yesterday. ^_^

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    1. Hi Rhin! I'd definitely want to read the rest. I hope I'd also get the chance to read the first series too (39 Clues). But for now, I'd prioritize the second series (Cahills versus Vespers). I wish there's a cheaper copy of the books though, a paperback version maybe. Haha. :D

      Oh, the third book is just newly released? I'd better get a move on with book 2! :D

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  2. Hi Tin! I read this book just this month and like you I enjoyed it too. It reminds me of my Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys days where puzzle solving and clue hunting literally took my breath away. AND... I also won my copy from the ReaderCon raffle! YAY! :)

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    1. Hi Lynai! Oh, you won this one at ReaderCon raffle too? Double Yay! :) I love puzzle and clue hunting too, think Mysterious Benedict Society. Although I'm not really very good at solving them. :D

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