The 39 Clues: The Black Circle (Book 5) by Patrick Carman


Amy and Dan are trying to figure out where to go next, when they get a mysterious telegram signed simply NRR. To find out what it means, they must leave Nellie–their faithful babysitter–and Saladin the cat and follow the clues they are given within a time period so short that it seems impossible to succeed. Their search takes them to Russia where they are forced to deal with the Holts–their not so intelligent but very militant cousins–and they only agree to continue because of one thing: the chance of discovering what really happened to their parents.

Like all the other books, this one is filled with the usual clues and mysteries (though not so much of the usual betrayals) and it was certainly enjoyable, but I did find that it was missing some of the heart and back story of some of the other books. We get a few more hints about Irina Spasky (they are in her homeland after all) and we get to know the Holts a bit better, but it doesn’t have the same emotional impact of the other books.

I think that the thing I like least is that it felt like we halted the real story in order to chase a different mystery (which conveniently gave them one of the 39 Clues at the end). Even so, it didn’t feel like much of an intrusion and has taken us one step further in the quest. Now if only we could find out what branch of the Cahill family Amy and Dan are from. SOMEONE must know!

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