39 Clues Book 8: The Emperor's Code - Review
The 39 Clues Reviews Page - View Suggested Activities
Gordon. (2010) The 39 Clues: The Emperor’s Code.
New York, NY: Scholastic Inc. ISBN: 978-0-545-06048-6.
Recommended age level: 9-12.
description: As the race to find the 39 Clues builds
to its explosive finish, Amy and Dan must explore an
ancient culture and steal a Clue guarded by thousands of
the world's best-trained soldiers. It's the most
dangerous Clue search yet. As their enemies crowd in,
Amy and Dan find themselves separated for the first time
ever. The choice lies before them – find the next Clue,
or find their way back to each other.
Respect for self and others: This
includes integrity (adherence to a code of
conduct or value system), honesty vs. manipulation or
lying, compassion, caring for others (characters not
focused on getting their way no matter what) self
respect--main character does not let others
denigrate him or her; use of self control and
self-discipline ; taking charge of own behaviour;
fairness to others (such as taking turns and
avoiding the blame game). Reader should ask themselves
“How does the protagonist depict their peers?” “Would
you want others to treat you this way? Should everyone
act this way?” This includes true friendships
that do not involve regular lying, deceit or
manipulation; considering consequences of actions
prior to acting; owning up to responsibility once
an action has been taken.
for owning up to responsibility for their own actions,
Amy and Dan each take responsibility for their argument
and show remorse. Yet we see natural sibling banter,
such as Dan realizing his sister was “annoying, but he
had to admit they made a pretty good team” and Amy
referring to him as a dweeb.
Caring for one another is
an extremely strong current throughout this story. Dan
and Amy worry about the welfare of the other. Dan
particularly worries about the consequences Amy may
suffer as a result of his actions and answers.
Secondarily, through self-talk of Alistair Oh and
especially Nellie, we see their compassion and concern
for the kids. Finally, even Jonah Wizard decides to go
back and help save Dan rather than leaving him to a
potential death. And Amy saves Ian’s life in spite of
his past treatment of her. So no acts of revenge, greed
or selfishness for Amy and Dan...although they weigh
their options and remember how others mistreated them,
the final decision is always good.
Broderick Wizard, Jonah’s father, is highlighted in how
he is disrespected by the Janus clan for not being a
Janus (married into the family). Dan, as a good guy, is
respectful of him, and even in awe of his hidden
talents. This contrasted with Jonah’s disrespect for
his own father creates a dissonance needed to contrast
with respectful behaviour.
Portrayal of Authority
figures: The positive portrayal of parents, teachers, police officers and other “good” authority figures common in a child’s life is a positive influence upon the child’s own moral development. This includes
actively-parenting mother and father figures. Minimization of parental involvement in the character’s activities or the portrayal of authority figures as
inferior present poor role models. Also to be avoided are main characters that
deceive parents and teachers to accomplish goals, and overuse
sarcasm towards authority figures. Ask yourself “Are parents seen as positive or negative influence in the character's life?”
Authority figures take a back seat
in this story as they are unnecessary. Dan and Amy do
voice their doubts and lack of trust with Uncle
Alistair, but not in a mean or disrespectful way.
Guards, police and tour guides are respected and obeyed
all the while the kids are plotting how to get out of
the situation. After Dan was missing for several days,
Amy does consider turning over the search for Dan to
Patriotism: Loyalty to family, team or group, school, community and world; caring for and being considerate of these
groups. Pride to be part of that group or nationality.
Loyalty, loyalty, loyalty! At one point Amy says “ now
it was starting to sink in. Without Dan, she had no
life”. As Dan succumbs to the materialism of Jonah
Wizard, he struggles where to place his loyalties.
“Angry as he was with his sister, he couldn’t do that to
her...”. In their reflections upon their parents and
Grace, we see this family’s strong bonds contrasted with
that of the Wizards, whose mother uses her son and
husband like pawns in a chess game.
Justice and Balance: A just distribution between good and evil (with
good outweighing evil in the presence of the storyline);
demonstration of right and wrong; making decisions to enact the above values rather than simply choosing from two bad possibilities; Ask yourself “Is the emphasis on the positive elements or negative?”
As much as the kids
inflict self-torment over the discovery of becoming
Madrigals, there is a constant rebound into a state of
hopefulness that they too will not be evil like their
cousins. While the other Cahill clans seek the highest
level of power for their branch, Amy and Dan seek to win
the race in order to prevent evil-doers from gaining
this power. Thus the selflessness of the good guys
always overcomes the bad guys. In fact, it is this deep
desire to be and do good that creates the inner turmoil
for Dan and Amy. It’s called a conscience.
While the book misses the opportunity to provide us with
rich descriptions of the natural beauty of China and
Tibet, the details are sufficient for us to feel the
bumpy train rides, amazement of being at the top of the
world, and immense wealth of cultural heritage. A
positive, uplifting tone is held throughout the story.
Aesthetic aspects Of
life ExperienceLook for a storyline portrayal of
beauty, health, and selfless love vs. hedonistic behaviours (sexuality, selfishness, obsessiveness, materialism),
profanity, gore and violence. Are nature and environment respected or exploited? Look for
dark elements; watch out for humor that is negative, denigrates others excessively, uses metaphors to
denigrate the sacred.
Book 8 definitely belongs
to Dan. We see his struggle as he envies Jonah’s fame
and fortune, ease of lifestyle, and charisma. Dan gets
caught up in the misperception that fame brings power.
The important thing is that this is a clear struggle for
Dan, going against his nature and all he has previously
viewed as truly important in life. Ultimately Dan pities
Jonah for never being perfect enough in his mother’s
eyes. Thus hedonistic behaviours of selfishness and
materialism are shown for what they really are: false
Other things to
Consider:Other aspects of this book of interest or importance. For example, does it portray Wiccan practices and accurate use of tools of which some parents might object, does it contain
hidden meanings in metaphors that may prove offensive to some families; does it address
personal issues such as puberty or pregnancy.
Name of God used in three places.
Excellent story and highly
P.s. Those of you playing the online game should make
note of the circled words throughout the book :>)
So what do YOU think? Read our thoughts on the book and join in the discussion:
Litland's Blog 39 Clues Book 8
Activities] [Return to
The 39 Clues Main]