Monday, June 29, 2009

Mystery Book Review: Beyond the Grave by Jude Watson

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of Beyond the Grave by Jude Watson. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Beyond the Grave by Jude Watson

The 39 Clues

Scholastic (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-545-06044-3 (0545060443)
ISBN-13: 978-0-545-06044-8 (9780545060448)
Publication Date: June 2009
List Price: $12.99

Review: Witty, suspenseful, perilous—three words that merely begin to describe the newest book in The 39 Clues series. Beyond the Grave by Jude Watson is the 4th installment in The 39 Clues series. Each of these books is written by a different author, and each has succeeded in drawing in its readers. But Beyond the Grave is the best one yet. Series characters Amy and Dan have returned for a trip to Egypt.

After narrowly escaping Hideyoshi's hiding place back in Korea in The Sword Thief, the Cahill kids, Amy and Dan, and their au pair Nellie, travel to Egypt in Beyond the Grave in search for their next clue to uncovering the secret to the Cahill family. Although the heat becomes unbearable, and the hustle and bustle of Cairo is very nerve-wracking for the kids, the natural kindness of the Egyptian people soon calm their nerves—but only for the time being. Nothing could prepare them for the hardships that would occur during their trip. Amy and Dan must face broken hearts, clues from the past, and remnants of Grace Cahill, their deceased grandmother. Engrossed in one of the most fascinating civilizations of ancient time, Amy and Dan struggle physically, mentally, and emotionally in their quest.

The title for this book is very appropriate due to the great Egyptian belief of life "beyond the grave". Also the most crucial help that they receive comes from beyond the grave. This book is extraordinary for anyone in late elementary and middle school. Nellie's crazy antics will bring comedy such that reading it without laughing or smiling will be impossible. The book is also loaded with non-stop action and adventure to keep readers on the edge of their seats as they follow the children around in their quest to solve the mysteries of their family and to ultimately win the hunt. Watson's writing style thoroughly engages the reader so much so that it can almost be read in one sitting. Along with the book comes the next set of clues for the online game adventure. The game is an exciting interactive quest to solve The 39 Clues. Together with the in book clues, there are also clue packs for sets of books. These cards are then used to solve puzzles and other games with an ultimate goal to win a monetary prize.

In the end, I would give this book a 4 Star rating. The content of the book is very rich and it is exceedingly suspenseful. Though it isn't a hardcore mystery, it still would qualify as a great action adventure mystery novel. One of the draws to this series is that each book is written by a different author, which brings in the appeal of a series, but also the style of a stand-alone book. The internet game, though seemingly somewhat more difficult than the reading level of the books, is equally enticing. I will look forward to August when Book 5: The Black Circle is released.

Special thanks to Alex Nauert for contributing his review of Beyond the Grave and to Scholastic for providing a copy of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2009 — Alex Nauert — All Rights Reserved — Reprinted with Permission

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Synopsis (from the publisher): A clue found in Book 3 sends Amy and Dan jetting off to find out just what's behind the fierce rivalry between the Tomas and Ekaterina branches of the Cahill family. Was a Clue stolen from the Tomas branch? Where is it now? And most important, can Amy and Dan get their hands on it before their rivals do?

It's a wild race that will take Amy and Dan deep into the bowels of the earth … and right into the hands of the enemy.

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