I hate, HATE books that are written just for the sake of raking in the money. HATE! Unfortunately, the 39 Clues "franchise" seems to be heading down that path. While I enjoyed the "39 Clues" series, the spin-off series, "Vespers vs. Cahills" is just plain annoying. The plot is stretched beyond reason and is SO CONTRIVED! What could have been wrapped up in one book is now being dragged over five! It's ridiculous.
When the first book ended, Vesper One had Nellie, Fiske, Alastair, Ted, Reagan, Natalie and Phoneix captive, and he had sent Amy and Dan on a treasure hunt of sorts to bring him five ancient artifacts for some unknown reason. Nothing had changed by the end of book two. In book one they found one artifact, in book two they found the second one. I'm guessing they'll take five books to find all five artifacts and until then the seven Cahills will still be held captive.
Meanwhile, to fill up the pages inbetween, new characters are being introduced and connections are being forced between them and the Cahills and/or Vespers. All of a sudden we are told that a random character we met in the last book ONLY NOW remembers that he is a "Guardian" or some such and is vital to the plot, and that Amy and Dan's dad is still alive and is a Vesper, who ONLY NOW decides to surface.
The fact that each book is being written by a different author is the series' main downfall. The plot seems to be barely connected and though the authors try very hard to mantain the essence of the characters, each author seems to introduce new traits in the characters and the effect is very jarring (Did anyone else get irritated by Jonah's newfound
constant phrase "Dawg"? *eyetwitch*)
It's almost as if the authors sat down at a table and went "Ok, people! We have FIVE books to fill. How do we manage that? Let's throw some ideas around. What can we have two teenagers do that even the most skilled soldier can't accomplish without losing a limb? How can we stretch the plot so that nothing of consequence happens till book five and STILL keep the reader interested enough to buy our books? Any ideas? Any at all?"
I'm dangerously close to writing this series off.