Yes, I did finish One False Note by Gordon Korman while in Vienna. I thought that it would be a nice touch feeling through this second installment to the 39 clues while in the actual country where the book’s main characters Amy and Dan Cahill were. Since it’s a fairly fast read, I was able to finish reading the book in around four installments of 30 minutes per reading.
Truth be told, I was not too keen on reading through the rest of the series (see my review of Book One here), especially since I also brought The Westing Game with me during my travel, and I was truly vacillating which one I should devote my energies to. Well, my addiction for series won out and I am glad it did. While this still did not reach my expectations of what a riveting YA novel should be like, I could understand the tweeners’ fascination with the book. And as I said, any book that would encourage children to read a book must have some redeeming qualities. I like how the reader is also able to virtually ‘accompany’ Dan and Amy through their globe trek as they search for clues that would make them the most powerful family on the planet.
Following Amy and Dan’s Footsteps in Vienna. This was my original intention. But as life would have it, we can’t always get what we want. Haha. The clues are leading them straight to Mozart. Dan and Amy were in possession of musical notes that Mozart himself penned down and sent to Ben Franklin in Paris: KV 617 one of the last musical pieces Mozart wrote before he died. Naturally I searched Youtube and I found the music as you could see here:
Their visit to Mozarthaus at Domgasse 5, a museum/library dedicated to Mozart led them to one of the key clues here in Book 2.
This clue happens to be the original diary of Nannerl Mozart, the older sister of Wolfgang Amadeus. Amy describes Nannerl in this fashion:
“She was just as talented as Mozart, but she never got the training or exposure because she was a girl.” (p. 23)
“Nannerl was one of the greatest musicians of her time. And yet very few people have even heard of her. She was a great genius – every bit as brilliant as her brother. But in those days, girls were just supposed to get married, and cook, and clean, and have babies.” – Amy Cahill, p. 54
Unfortunately, Jonah, their teenager celebrity relative (also a contender for this race to the 39 clues) has beat them to it. And so the chase continues to The Royal Hapsburg Hotel where Jonah stays – and right to the heart of the Salzburg Catacombs, where once again Amy and Dan have been left for dead by their cunning and wealthy relatives.
Venice. The City of Gondola Love. The fiasco in St. Peter’s Cemetery and the catacombs soon led the Cahills to Vienna, said to be the Romance Capital of the world and a wealthy merchant named Fidelio Racco (believed to be another member of the Cahill family). It was somewhere around here that my attention kind of lapsed – could be an overload of all the sights, sounds, police chase, men in black, not-to-be-trusted relatives and so on. It is fast-paced yes and I could imagine this being made into a film – but I found it difficult to connect with the characters, again they seemed flat and two-dimensional to me. As per usual, the rest of the book can be characterized as an intense race for clues which unlock more clues, betrayal, arrests by the Polizia and the final clue which would lead them to Tokyo – in Book Three!
Gordon Korman – The Author. Korman was born in Canada but now lives on Long Island, outside of New York City with his family. He has a total of 55 books to his name (and counting) – source here. If you wish to know more about him, this is his official website.
An Excuse to post photos from Vienna. Since almost half of this book is based in Vienna, allow me to digress a bit and share with you some of the lovely photos I have taken around this lovely city. As described by Nellie, the Cahills’ au pair:
“Vienna is a really beautiful city. Look at the architecture – I’ll bet some of those buildings date back to the thirteenth century!”
Amy pointed. “I think that’s the tower of St. Stephen’s cathedral. It must be as tall as an office building back in the US!”
Everywhere, gargoyles and elaborate carvings decorated stone facades, and gold leaf accents gleamed in the sunlight. (p. 19)
And so, here is my tribute to the streets of Vienna:
The 39 Clues, Book Two, One False Note by Gordon Korman. Scholastic Inc., NY., 2008. Book borrowed from the NIE library.