Three of the four stories were very good. The book opens with an origin story by Riordan about Gideon Cahill and his family, written with his usual panache. This story introduces the rivalry between the Cahills and Vespers and answers a lot of questions about the original four Cahill children. The short length of the tale limited the amount of historical explorations to brief cultural references, but I enjoyed the ones that were included and how they were used to illustrate the characters of the people involved.
The Lerangis story was welcome because Madeleine is one of the most mysterious characters I can remember in recent YA fiction, and I've been quite keen to learn more
about her. It was nice to get some insight I to her journey. I hope we get more than just this taste in future installments. What she faced and was able to achieve was even more astonishing than what Dan and Amy were able to do, considering that she was entirely alone and at a time when women were more vulnerable and had more restrictions. The historical angle of this story was a bit disappointing, it was cute but felt weak.
Unfortunately, Korman's story about Grace was a huge disappointment. I think he got her spirit well enough, and i liked that it felt mkee like one of the 39 Clues books where she had a mystery to figure out. But everything was too easy, it talked down to the readers as though they wouldn't realize how ridiculous it would be to land half way around the world (after a perilous journey) and instantly find the very important person you're looking for. It was too simplistic and very irritating. Maybe it was ok for the very youngest of the age range the books are appropriate for, but certainly not for the full tween to young teen audience.
But at least it ended on a high note when we finally arrived back in the present with Amy and Dan. Watson struck just the right tone again with their family dynamic and with the adventure. She reminded me in their little trip just how big the world is, a theme that this series certainly continues to teach readers of all ages. And I really liked the way it ended. I thought it wove the first 10 books and this book into a comprehensive story really well.