Book talks for readers at Chisago Lakes Middle School.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan

The Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan is the first book in the new series called 39 Clues.

Honestly, this book has been sitting on my night stand at home since August. Each time I tried to pick it up I thought of a reason why I didn't want to read it. All of us have reasons, good or bad, as to why some books don't interest us.

I would like to share with you some of my reasons why you shouldn't pick up and read this book. You can decide later if you think my reasons are justified.

My list of 11 Reasons why you shouldn't read Maze of Bones: Book One of The 39 Clues:

(Disclaimer: This is not an ORF test, so before you read these outloud (or silently) take a second to realize that I'm intending the tone of this book talk to be sarcastic, ironic or facetious. Whenever someone is using these kinds of tones you have to slow down enough so you can figure out what their true feelings are. Some of their feelings may be sincere, but they may also be pretending as well.)

1. Do you really think anything with trading cards should be on a reading list?
2. Shameless, over-the-top, cereal-box-like marketing schemes just manipulate mindless youngsters.
3. The plastic that holds the cards in has to be utterly ripped apart from the cover of the book. You know that all kids should follow the cardinal rule of librarians: Thou shalt not hurt books.
4. There's advertising on both sides of the book. On the front cover it says: "Read the books, play the game, win the prizes." Again, this is just another example of someone trying to manipulate you poor kids.
5. Prizes? Win $100,000 in prizes? What's next, chocolate bars with lottery tickets inside? If that's what it takes to get kids to read, what will it cost parents to get them to do their homework-Certificates of Gold Deposits? Spare me, and what kid is going to blindly obey an advertisement to win prizes by going to I know you guys won't.
6. President-elect Obama had to meet all the Governors from all 50 states there. Roland Smith had to have part of the setting of his new book I.Q, there. The movie National Treasure had many of its important scenes there. Now this book has to have part of its setting there too. What gives? Why does Independence Hall in Philadelphia have to be thee place for everything?
7. Shouldn't Scholastic throw its millions into marketing the toys, prizes, and websites AFTER the book has caught a following, like it did with the Harry Potter series instead of BEFORE the book has become popular?
8. Seriously, are kids going to appreciate following a story line that seems straight out of the movie, National Treasure? What an original idea to have a team of three following a trail of clues that involve famous founding fathers such as Ben Franklin. Are kids going to be intrigued by Franklin's secret messages or the by fact that someone is on the main character's heels, trying to get ahead of them or possibly kill them? Does it matter that two of them, Grace and William, refused their inheritance of a million dollars each in return for getting a piece of paper with a riddle on it that offers virtually no hope of finding the answer? And then of course there is the predictable conflict with the predictable sinister character. I should probably say, character with an "s" attached. Grace and William happen to belong to a large and greedy family, some of them also decided to forego their million dollar inheritance in order to look for answers to clues that may eventually make the winner the most powerful person on earth. There are no rules and for their greedy relatives anything goes. Being from the same family means nothing, even if two harmless weaklings like William and Grace get in the way and have to be snuffed out. I mean how unrealistic of a plot can you get?
9. Talismans, secret passages, gadgets, narrow escapes, explosions. Come on, who wouldn't be expecting these?
10. Different authors? What gives? How does having different well-known authors write each new installment of the series make any sense? Whatever!

11. My last reason-just because I say so. Rick Riordan... Well, Rick Riordan, the author of the Lightning Thief and the rest of the Percy Jackson series, he may be the exception to this list of reasons not to read Maze of Bones. He's a terrific author and all, and well, I suppose you could give the book a try, but think it over. I know you'll take this adult's opinion seriously before checking it out. Remember, think it over.

By the way, if any of you don't heed my advice and actually read Maze of Bones, the next installment is already out. That no good, dog loving, adventure seeking author named Gordon Korman has already written, One False Note, Book Two of The 39 Clues.

Note to reader: I should probably admit I did open the book this past weekend and I'm already on page 108. I can't seem to put it down, but that doesn't mean I won't find more to complain about later. Remember, think it over.

(I hope you know that I was mostly kidding, but I was put-off at first by all the marketing that went into the book. If you can look past all the commercialism you'll discover that Maze of Bones is truely a fun mystery-adventure story for everyone. M.S.)

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