Book Review: The 39 Clues [The Clue Hunt] #3 – The Sword Thief

Title: The Sword Thief
Author: 
Peter Lerangis
Year of Publication: 
2009
Series:
The 39 Clues: The Clue Hunt
#:
3
Goodreads Rating (Avg.):
3.87
Goodreads Rating (Mine):
2

the sword thief

Plot Description: Dan and Amy head to Tokyo, and then Korea in the footsteps of Toyotomi Hideyoshi. I’m guessing the antics of a brutal warlord are diluted because it’s supposed to be a book for children – one of the first things written about Toyotomi in his Wikipedia entry is the fact that he once ordered the death by crucifixion of 26 Christians.

I do not appreciate Peter Lerangis’ skill in writing, primarily because he seems to think that being a child means to be incredibly childish – indeed, he takes this to nonsensical levels:

I’m figuring maybe the subway was built into the already existing tunnels!”
The Holts shut up at once.
“Dan — ” Amy warned. “You’re telling this to them!”
Dan looked up, bewildered. “I was telling Uncle Alistair.”
“But we-ee-ee heard you,” Reagan sang in a taunt, and stuck out her tongue.

– The Sword Thief, The 39 Clues #3 by Peter Lerangis (emphasis mine)

Take the above exchange. They’re all sitting in a small car. Your typical 11-year old is not, in fact, incapable of understanding that sitting in the same car means that the people next to you can hear what you say.  Whoa. Did I just blow your mind, Lerangis?

I have absolutely no explanation for this passage, why the author thought it a good idea to include it, why the editors let it pass, and so on. None whatsoever.

This book is the big one for alliances. Irina and the Kabras are working together. Alistair and the Cahills are working together. And then Alistair, the Cahills and the Kabras all join forces so they can discover a clue in a cave… After Ian spends like, half the book flirting with Amy, the Kabras promptly betray the Cahills once the clue is found, and Alistair promptly abandons them so Amy is left holding onto all sorts of unresolved feelings.

There, there, Amy. Lack of closure thanks to unreliable males in your life is something I can assuredly relate to.

Fortunately for them, the Cahills are beginning to get with the program. Dan gives the Kabras the wrong clue, sending them haring off in the wrong direction.

Between alliances, a hint as to the real objective of the quest, continuous betrayals, and the Cahills beginning to understand that they really shouldn’t be trusting their opponents, plot development seems to take a few steps forward. Sadly, the book is very badly, childishly and unrealistically written, and the Ian-Amy angle reminds me that they are in fact cousins. Certainly, enough generations have passed since the first set of Cahill siblings for it to not matter much, but it’s still kind of icky.

Pet Peeve: “Schist” is mentioned – a joke that also appears in Riordan’s Son of Neptune. I wonder whether he asked Lerangis to put it in here, or whether Lerangis inspired him… If it’s the latter, let the record state that I’ve always thought that joke to be in bad taste.

“Schist,” said an angry voice from the grass.
Hazel raised her eyebrows. “Excuse me?”
“Schist! Big pile of schist!”
– Son of Neptune, Rick Riordan (Heroes of Olympus #2)

Next in this Series: The 39 Clues [The Clue Hunt] #4 – Beyond the Grave

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