The 39 Clues: Vespers Rising (Book 11) by Rick Riordan, peter Lerangis, Gordon Korman, and Jude Watson

The mystery of the 39 clues has concluded: Amy and Dan have won the Clue Hunt in all the ways that matter and they can finally go home to take a well deserved rest. Or can they?

Taking a slightly different approach to the multi-author series, this book sets up the next leg of Amy and Dan’s story by starting way back in the past and following four different generations of Cahills to show us how things became the way they did:

  • First we start with Rick Riordan’s story about the original Cahill family, showing us how the Cahill formula was discovered, how the family shattered, and how the family’s biggest rival came to be. (It is appropriate for Riordan to write this first part, since the 39 clues series were his idea.)
  • Next we follow Madeleine, the fifth child in the Cahill family as she attempts to reunite the siblings she never met.
  • For our third segment, we skip ahead some centuries to Grace Cahill as she finds herself mixed up in the clue hunt and family rivals as a young girl.
  • Finally, we come back to the present when the siblings are drawn back into the fighting before they have had time to settle back into their lives at home. Are they ready for a rival stronger and more vicious than the other branches of the Cahill family ever were?

The major downside to getting a book split into four separate stories (even if they all play a part in the bigger picture of our story) is that we don’t get much time to really get to know the different characters involved. The characters, for the most part, come off as a bit one dimensional until we come to Grace (because we have learned so much about her already) and Amy and Dan (who we’ve been following all along). In particular, most of what we learn about the original Cahill siblings is told to us rather than shown to us, simply because there isn’t time to spend on each of them. I would not have been upset if they had instead written us three prequels that went into the stories in depth. That being said, it was still an interesting and exciting book.

The best part of the story is easily once we get back to Amy and Dan. Immediately the question of how the Cahill siblings would adjust to normal life after such crazy adventures is answered. They have a hard time doing it. Everywhere they look they see danger and assassination attempts. And to be fair, it isn’t all in their heads. They are quickly drawn into another world-hopping adventure, but this time they are fleeing for their lives.

My biggest complaint in this book is that I miss the other members of the Cahill family that we have come to know over the course of the series. Now that they have friends in all of the branches, I wanted to see those friendships utilized in one way or another. (To be fair, there wasn’t a lot of time considering they had only a quarter of a book to finish their adventure.)

I like that Amy and Dan have finally decided to become a bit more proactive and can’t wait to see where things go.


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