I was surprised to find how seamlessly this book worked with book one. After all, with two different authors, you can hardly expect the writing styles to match completely. But if there were differences, I didn’t notice them. It could be that had I read them back to back I might have seen it, but as it was, having two different writers didn’t bother me as all. (I think Rick Riordan also gave the first book a simple style that isn’t very difficult to emulate.)
Amy and Dan’s clues take the first to Vienna and beyond, ultimately landing them in Venice where the only way to get around is by foot or canal. Nellie, the children’s au pair, comes more to life in this book as she takes a slightly more active role in ensuring the kids’ safety. (There’s a little bit of question as to why she really cares so much about the Cahill siblings since she didn’t really have much of a connection to them in the US. I kind of want her to secretly be scheming against them but waiting until the very end to turn–they did say trust no one right?) A part of me also hopes that Amy and Dan find some special letter from Grace to them at some point. Even though they know she’s been giving them hints and information for the contest all along, it feels like it would be nice closer for them.
The series does a great job of making you suspicious of all but still wondering if maybe a temporary alliance might be a good idea. (A very temporary, highly suspicious alliance, but still.) One of the biggest mysteries I’m looking forward to having answered is which branch of the Cahill family are Amy and Dan a part of and how did their parents really die? (And of course, what is this powerful secret, but that will have to wait a long time. 39-40 books is it?)
I’d love to learn more about the history of some of the members of the Cahill extended family. We’ve got bits of history on each but I think there is still more to delve into that could add an extra dimension. Wouldn’t it be interesting if there was reason to feel for the Kabras even as they are awful and sinister?
On a side note, I am exceedingly jealous that this author published his first book when he was fourteen. And more than a little impressed.