Well the long awaited finale to The 39 Clues: Cahils vs Vespers is here! Day of Doom is the 6th book in the series and is written by David Baldacci. After the abomination that was Trust No One can this book top the other books in the series? Or will it fall short of all the books and end this series on a very terrible note?
DISCLAIMER: THIS IS SPOILER HEAVY REVIEW. I WILL LOOK AT EVERY ASPECT OF THE BOOK IN GREAT DETAIL. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
This book is a PERFECT finale to the series. It does everything a finale should do and fixes a lot of problems that reared up in the previous books (Mainly the previous one) I will go through things it fixed first:
Jake: In ALL of the previous books Jake did not feel like a real character with deph to him. He felt like a jerk of an older brother with no real personality at all. While you could see he cared deeply for his brother he was overall just an anoyying character with no real purpose other than he just tagged along for the ride. In this book Jake began to be a useful member of the team. We began to pick out similarities between him and Amy and he also showed some more character traits. Most of this showed through his romance with Amy. That romance felt a alot more real than Evan and Amy's romance(Maybe just because we did not really see them close together for that long) We suddenly learned Jake was loyal, caring, willing to sacrifice himself for the ones he loved, and he was just as nerdy as Amy. Jake became a character with some deph to him rather than a trasparent sidekick to Dan and Amy.
Sandy Bancroft: Lets face it... Before this book Sandy bancroft had less than a page worth of dialouge. He was unimportant then and we knew less about him than we knew about Vesper One. In this book Sandy became a real character as well. He also became a fairly interesting one at that. We learned a great deal about him and suddenly he really felt like a good side villan.
The Hostages: It may just have been the situations the hostages were thrown into. But it really felt like the hostages were back to their old selves (By hostages I mean the original ones (Nellie, Fiske, Reagan,...) and were interesting again. In books 1-3 the hostage scenes were for the most part extremely boring. In Shatterproof the hoostage scenes became intense and were some of the best parts of the book. Trust No One hostage scenes were the worst parts of the book and.... (I could rant about Trust No One forever) This book again took the hostages back to an exciting part of the book. Personally I liked the parts with the hostages more than the parts with Amy and Dan.
Day of Doom had many new aspects to it that took the book to a whole new level of just comeplete awesome:
Isabel Kabra as the secondary villain: To me the villains of each series represent a branch of the Cahills (I'll talk about this after Unstoppable 1 comes out) but in the first series Isabel was a very Tomas type villain. She was all about using force and completely wiping out the battlefield. Even if she is a Lucian I was fine with this. In this series her methods and such did not change one bit. She was still all about brute force and wiping the floor with her enemies. I have a few gripes with her but having her as a secondary villain while we had an AMAZING villain like Vesper One really added alot to the series. While we have seen her methods before the MASSIVE contrast between her an V1 really added something to the book. We have never seen Isabel be in second place to someone else before.It was refreshing to watch her try to work against someone while at the same time be fighting our protagonists. Another thing that made Isabel an AMAZING villain (Way better villain here than she was in series one IMO) was the fact that she had some humanity added to her. The scene where Isabel is telling Ian that she is going to die was possibly one of the best written scenes in the series. (David sucked us right in and made it so that for that time while you listen to Isabel talk she has you convinced she has humanity. You forget just how bad Isabel is for a moment) Even if thatwhole thing turned out to be a lie that little part with V6 at the end did make you realize Isabel has a bit of a heart. Then when Isabel sees her daughter dead everything changes. You AND Isabel remember that she is a mother and that she WILL ALWAYS care for her children deep down. And when Isabel realizes this you really feel for her.(Again David really did an amazing job with this scene) A villain you feel for and care about is always a good villain.
Dark Tone: Right from the beginning you can tell how dark this book is. You can tell how overwhelmed the main characters are and how hopeless things feel for them. Amy and Dan are just fighting with whatever small advantage they can pick up and simply hope it helps. Again the writing in this book was amazing in this area too. David makes things feel dark and really bring it to the forefront.
Romance: Well we knew this was going to happen, The 39 clues are no longer just a kids novel. The romance in this book was well though out and it worked. Jake and Amy really had chemistry and you could easily buy their romance. At times it did feel like the romance could have been a bit better but David or the editors toned it down a bit so parents would not get into a rage.
Character develpoment: The characters in The Medusa Plot and the characters in Day of Doom are completely different. Their core traits remained the same( Amy's nerdiness, Dan's childish sense of humour) however they were different people. The Dan of the first book would NEVER sacrifice himself like that. The Amy of the first book was not this daring nor was she this confident. I could never have seen the Amy of book 1 taking charge the way she has now. I noticed a lot of people complaining that the characters were OOC. Yes they were. They had developed and changed, while a lot of changes seemed forced and happened abrutly in Trust No One, this book smoothed thise changes out and made new people out of the characters we love. So while some people might see this as characters becoming OOC. It was development that the characters needed to undergo to adapt to the enemies they were fighting.
New directions: By this I mean that this book (Series by extension) killed off quite a few characters, all of them we sympathised with and cared about. I'll start with Allastair. He was the funny korean uncle in the first series who was constantly hopping between the good side and the bad. We all (Dan and Amy included) got kind of attached to him and to see him go was painful (Even if it did not feel that way because he died in Trust No One in possibly the worst part of the whole book, I guess the book was so bad it killed him) Secondly we lost Natalie, While I agree through this whole series she was rather anoyying. It always looked like she had a part to play. In the end the part was a tragic death scene that motivated Isabel to drink the serum and go Kiss Kiss BANG! on everything. As we had come to really like Ian over the course of this series to see him in such pain AND to see a very old character like her (We got the sense of who Natalie and Ian were and felt like they would be antagonists right from the beginning) Evan passing on was a touching moment as well. Not as good as Natalie dying but enough to make you feel for Evan. I felt sorry for Evan when he died. Did not really feel for Amy (I knew she was going to dump him)
Closing story arcs is very important to the finale of ANY series. Day of Doom is no exception
Vesper One: The shadowy villain who is possibly one of the greatest villains in literature ever. His identity was finally revealed. So many possible suspects were thrown around. The final verdict was that Vesper One was Damien Vesper III. A decendant of the orginal Damien Vesper. He was also Dave Speminer, Astrid Rosenbloom's assistant and also the one who poisoned and killed her. He was Martin Holds/ Riley Mcgrath. This guy is the definition of puppet master. We have seen how rutheless he is and what he was willing to do. However the changes they showed Vesper One undertake in this movie were rather interesting. It showed that because Vesper One is a puppetmaster kind of guy the only chance you have to beat him is when he moves out from under the curtains. It also showed that Vesper One is not without human weaknesses. The closing of Vesper One's arc was very well done and props to ALL the CVVs authors (YES even Linda Sue Park) for keeping up the quality of this part of the story.
AJT: Turns out AJT was a fake bunch of texts sent by Isabel to Dan. It was a simple ending but a fitting one. I would have liked to actually see their dad alive but it probably was too much to add to an already crowded book.
However as good as this book was it had some VERY minor problems that most people will brush over and can only be noticed if you read with great deatail:
Atticus: Throughout the entire series Atticus has simply been a plot device. He has just been used by ALL the authors to simply further parts of the books. We know very little about this character and his personality. All we really know is that he is smart, lost his mother, and acts a lot like a stupid 12 year old (No offense if you are 12. But he does act stupid and is about 12) His only reason for being in the books is to introduce the concept of the guardians, and to have someone who knows V1 personally.
Isabel's plan: Was incredibly illogical and not even fully explained. Was she really so stupid as to think that walking in on V1 with a few men would beat him? Vesper One is a genius! He has no Lucian serum in his body yet he is smarter than any other character we have ever seen or ever will see. Her final plan was unclear and looked very stupid. Like she had her Lucian serum (which is supposed to make her a master strategist) turned off. (I don't think she ever drunk it due to the fact that it did not really show in the last series either)
Plotholes: The main one that comes to mind was : Who killed McIntyre and why did he recognize them. I personally think that the plan was to make Arthur Trent alive however they cut out most of that for length reasons. The other explanation is that McIntyre knew Dave because Grace had known Astrid but this is unlikely because Dave began working for Astrid AFTER Grace died.
The Guardians: Who are they? What do they do? Why were they never mentioned
The Doomsday Device: I never got exactly how this worked. It all seemed rather illogical to me and times where things could have been explained it felt like David was making things not make sense and confusing because either HE did not get it or that they really could not think up properly how it works so they just confused us into sort of understanding it.
The Writing: While 95% of the time the writing was perfect and this book had some of the most well written scenes in the entire series. At times it felt like David was toning down his writing for a younger audience. He normally writes for older audiences and doing his first book for young people weakned his writing slightly.
Just a small nitpick: They never mentioned Erasmus! I loved him and when he died it was a real shocker! WAAAA =(
Day of Doom is an AMAZING book. It has such small problems that in the grand scale of things can all be classified as nitpicks, and it completes the series perfectly and reminds us all why The 39 Clues is Awesometacular. This book gets a 10/10 score! The only other book in the series worthy of that score is Shatterproof.