- Author's Voice
- World Building
All good things come to an end, eventually. The same can be said for good book series – especially for good book series, actually. The wonderful journey by the side of Dan and Amy Cahill is finally over, and thanks to Margaret Peterson Haddix, it was a finale most spectacular!
Now that the Cahill orphans have accepted their roots and true connection to the family, things are about to get even more dangerous. Everyone hates the Madrigals, and despite the fact they finally understand the truth behind their branch’s actions, even Dan and Amy are not sure they want to help them. How can they be expected to forget and forgive all that has be done to them by their relatives? How are they supposed to unite a family that does not want to be united to begin with? And how can they win this race that has finally come to its end, when so many dangerous enemies block their way and still try to deceive and hurt them?
Into the Gauntlet is the final book of the 39 Clues series – and it was an installment that didn’t disappoint. One would think that the final part of the series would just wrap things up nicely, and be done with it in a hurried and amateur move. But Margaret Peterson Haddix did anything but. In fact, she took the series to a whole new level – not only was she thorough at tying up all loose ends, she also delivered a powerful punch right before she closed the story, with an indefinite cliffhanger that promises more! (and sheesh, I just know it, a trip to the bookstore to get the next series is due, oh, God…)
In this final showdown, all Cahills taking part in the Hunt are gathered in the same place at the same time. Just thinking about it gives me the shivers… The famous Cahill this time around is Shakespeare, so we get a little bit of insight to his work and life, too – which is a very nice feature, considering most of us are in love with the Great Bard.
But the real stars of the story were the Cahills. I’m not talking about Dan and Amy – although they do count in that group, too. I’m talking about the Kabras, the Starlings, the Holts, Alistair and Jonah. And it’s here where the key of success was for Into the Gauntlet. Its characters made the flow quick, and gave the reader so much to ponder on, so much to wait for in the books yet to come.
You see, it’s the youngest Cahill generation that had me literally inhaling the book with only a few breaks. Because none of them, no matter how selfish, evil, and cunning they appeared in the previous books, was what they seemed. Each had their own reasons for their hideous actions, their demons to battle, their parents to escape from or please. And yet, despite all their troubles, despite how dangerous it would prove for them should they fail to do as instructed, they still left the previous generation’s faults behind, striving to fight together, to be a true family. All because of their mutual respect and hidden affection for Dan and Amy – the ones who were doomed to fail from the start, the outcasts.
And that, I believe, is what made the difference in a series full of books that were each better than the other. This is what set Into the Gauntlet apart from its predecessors. Well done, Margaret Peterson Maddix, well done!