Monday, March 02, 2009

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart


Books Completed: 50
Completion Date: February, 2009
Pages: 485
Publication Date: March 7, 2007

Reason for Reading: New Author Challenge.
Dozens of children respond to this peculiar ad in the newspaper and are then put through a series of mind-bending tests, which readers take along with them. Only four children-two boys and two girls-succeed. Their challenge: to go on a secret mission that only the most intelligent and inventive children could complete. To accomplish it they will have to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, where the only rule is that there are no rules. But what they'll find in the hidden underground tunnels of the school is more than your average school supplies. So, if you're gifted, creative, or happen to know Morse Code, they could probably use your help.
I wasn't sure what I was going to think of this book. It sounded really good and I have read good reviews of it, but I was not sure if it was my kind of book. I am not even sure why it popped into my head the other day, but I found myself requesting it from the library. I had decided to take a chance on it and see if it was any good. For some reason I was under the impression it was for a younger reading bracket than it wound up being for, so I was surprised by the size of it when I went to pick it up. Once you get sucked into the story, though, you find that there is so much going on that it is impressive it is not a much larger book!

The book has essentially four main characters. When the book starts, we meet Reynie Muldoon. He is a very gifted orphan whose special tutor finds an ad for gifted students. The ad appears to be written to children instead of adults, which Reynie finds very odd. Looking for a chance to challenge himself, he decides to answer the ad and winds up taking some very interesting tests. He succeeds in the testing with three other children: George (Sticky) Washington, Kate Weatherhill, and Constance Contraire. Sticky is a very nervous child! He has an exceptional mind, but is often scared to use it. Kate is full of life and has lead a very entertaining life so far. She was recently in a circus, so she brings some interesting skills to the table. Then, there is Constance. She entirely lives up to her name throughout the novel, but in the end, I think she might have almost been my favourite character. She just takes a while to grow on you; like she takes a while to grow on the rest of the group. These four children go to meet the very mysterious Mr. Benedict who launches them into an adventure they won't soon forget.

I found this book enjoyable. In many ways the whole book is like a giant puzzle that you don't find out all the pieces to until the last chapter. As things start to come together, though, you find yourself quite taken up in the story. Or, at least I was. The children bring different things to the story, which works out rather well. I found that I was thinking throughout the story, so it is not exactly a 'simple' read. It is a book that will keep you are on your toes throughout. I will be very interested to see what happens in the next book, which I have sitting here to read very soon.

Another recommended read!

23 comments:

  1. Hmm, I like what you said about it being like a puzzle. So yeah, sounds good, and plus I love the cover!

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  2. Nymeth: Yeah, while they are figuring things out, you have to figure it out too. Good concept

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  3. ohhh good review kelly!.. i have this book in my tbr pile.. when i get back to serious reading i will push it up the pile!

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  4. Well it looks like you may be getting a point for this one ;) And if the story itself wasn't a seller, that cover would be! Oh...and you're getting a point next week (most probably...if it comes in on time). You'll have to wait until then to find out what it's for though ;)

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  5. This in one of those books that looked so darn good I bought it as soon as it came out...and yet here it still sits unread. :( So glad to hear you enjoyed it though!

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  6. DesLily: Sounds good! I hope you enjoy it!

    Chris: I can see you enjoying this book. I look forward to my point. lol Now I am, of course, trying to figure out what the other book is... I've read a lot lately...

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  7. Debi: I hope you get a chance to read it and enjoy it! I really liked it! Now I want to read the sequel... hm... Guess I know what book I am reading tonight!

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  8. Constance is my favourite too. I love how stubborn she can be. :)

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  9. Court: Yeah, she is a fun character. :)

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  10. Another one for the list! I like the sound of this one.

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  11. I just read and reviewed this one too. You can see it here, if you'd like: http://thewrittenword.wordpress.com/2009/02/17/the-mysterious-benedict-society/
    It was a really fun read!

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  12. Jen: I hope you enjoy it! I did!

    Stephanie: Come to think of it, I was trying to remember why I decided to put this book on my library list all of a sudden. I think it was because I read your review. Maybe you should've got the point!

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  13. Sounds interesting! I think my son would like it too.

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  14. Jo: It was good. I hope you enjoy it!

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  15. I love the cover illustration. I think that's what put this book on my radar to begin with! I may end up giving it a go one of these days as it sounds a bit different from my typical read but good fun.

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  16. Iliana: It was good fun! I hope you do take a chance on it and enjoy it.

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  17. Wow this book has 485 pages?? But it looked kinda small the other day I spotted it at a bookstore. Anyway, love the cover. It does have a mysterious aura about it!

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  18. Josette: Yeah, I was surprised by the size, too!

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  19. I just have a few more pages to go. I'm going to come back and read your review when I finish.

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  20. Nan: I hope you enjoy it! I have the sequel here to read. I am hoping to get to it in the next few days!

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  21. I think I'd really like this one. I keep hearing so much about it!

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  22. Tink: It was really good! I have to get around to reading the sequel.

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  23. Anonymous7:24 PM

    I read both of the books and I can't wait for the third book to come out. The Mysterious Benedict Society is my favorite book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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