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Book Review – The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey by Trenton Lee Stewart

August 10, 2011 Leave a comment

Book Description:

The fabulous foursome readers embraced as The Mysterious Benedict Society is back with a new mission, significantly closer to home. After reuniting for a celebratory scavenger hunt, Reynie, Kate, Sticky, and Constance are forced to go on an unexpected search — a search to find Mr. Benedict. It seems that while he was preparing the kids’ adventure, he stepped right into a trap orchestrated by his evil twin Mr. Curtain.

With only one week to find a captured Mr. Benedict, the gifted foursome faces their greatest challenge of all — a challenge that will reinforce the reasons they were brought together in the first place and will require them to fight for the very namesake that united them.

*

I loved Trenton Lee Stewart’s The Mysterious Benedict Society (here’s my review), so the sequel The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey was definitely on my TBR list. Honestly, I was so pumped about immersing myself in the further adventures of Reynie, Kate, Sticky, and Constance – the four exceptionally talented kids who acquitted themselves so admirably in their first mission for their mentor Mr. Benedict.

In The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey, Reynie, Kate, Sticky, and Constance are brought together again one year later by Mr. Benedict for a new mission. The original plan was that the children would be embarking on a surprise adventure – a globe-trotting scavenger hunt where they will have to solve special clues that Mr. Benedict has left for them at each stop. Unfortunately, things don’t go according to plan, and the treasure hunt instead becomes a race to save their mentor’s life. Mr. Benedict has been kidnapped by his evil twin Mr. Curtain, and the only way to find/rescue him may be by successfully completing the treasure hunt! Will the children be up to the task?

The four kid members of The Mysterious Benedict Society and their strong friendship was a huge reason why I enjoyed this series so much – and let me assure you that the kids are as clever and lovable here as in the first book. The children are like family now, and it’s so satisfying to see them working so well together. Another plus for The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey is that the plot is much more fast paced & exciting this time around. Book two is much more action-oriented, and the children have to quickly figure out brain-teasing riddles and puzzles while dodging Mr. Curtain’s henchmen on their hops around the world (going as far as Portugal and Holland!). There’s lots of  twists & turns, plus  tense exciting scenes where I was literally at the edge of my seat – hoping that the kids would be able to outsmart their enemies!

There is a fair amount of having to suspend your disbelief though when reading the book – the children truly have extraordinary talents (especially three year old Constance who develops extra sensory powers) and the non-villain characters are all unbelievably noble & idealistic (for example, Kate’s secret agent father Milligan takes special pains not to kill anyone, even those who would have no qualms about killing his daughter).

And now am off to get the last book in the trilogy!

The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey by Trenton Lee Stewart is available on Amazon as a Kindle Edition ($6.99), Hardcover Edition (Bargain) ($6.55), Paperback Edition ($6.99) and Audible Audio Edition ($29.95).

You can also get the ebook at the Apple iBookstore, Sony eBookstore, Kobo books, and Barnes and Noble.

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Book Review – The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

June 7, 2011 2 comments

Book Description:

“Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?”

When this peculiar ad appears in the newspaper, dozens of children enroll to take a series of mysterious, mind-bending tests. (And you, dear reader, can test your wits right alongside them.) But in the end just four very special children will succeed. Their challenge: to go on a secret mission that only the most intelligent and resourceful 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.

As our heroes face physical and mental trials beyond their wildest imaginations, they have no choice but to turn to each other for support. But with their newfound friendship at stake, will they be able to pass the most important test of all?

Welcome to the Mysterious Benedict Society.

*

My first thought on finishing The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart was: Thank goodness there’s two more books in the trilogy to look forward to! And I can’t wait to discover what further adventures Mr Stewart has in store for us 🙂

Honestly, I felt funny borrowing The Mysterious Benedict Society from my niece, but she was really proud to share something of hers that she loved with me 🙂 But I really liked the cover and I loved the book description, so I thought: why not? Here’s to reading a children’s book! And after reading it, I can wholeheartedly recommend this enchanting story about four orphaned/abandoned/runaway children who have been tasked with the mission to save the world.

11-year-old orphan Reynie Muldoon answers a newspaper ad for “Are you a gifted child looking for Special Opportunities?” – and hence jumps into the greatest (and most perilous) adventure of his life, and gets life-long friends and a family-of-sorts into the bargain too! I loved Reynie’s character – I wished I was half the boy he was when I was growing up for sure. And I also loved the other members of the ‘Mysterious Benedict Society’ – the nervous Sticky Washington gifted with a photographic memory, the circus performer / runaway Kate Weatherhill (aka the Great Kate Weather Machine) and even the extremely trying and infuriating Constance Contraire (she eventually proves her worth in the end!). I thought that Mr Stewart was brilliant in creating these wonderful children characters. Unfortunately, his adult characters pale in comparison – especially his villain Mr. Curtain who wasn’t ever really that scary.

Where The Mysterious Benedict Society really shines are the puzzlers and mini-mysteries that Reynie and his friends get to solve (and we the readers with them). My niece and nephew told me that they had a lot of fun trying to figure things out on their own using the same clues and then finding out how Reynie (or the other kids) solved it.

The book isn’t perfect of course. The plot itself is nothing new – a mad man is out to take over the world, and somehow, only these four kids stand between him and the rest of the world (that’s pretty much the usual Disney movie plot, right?) and many things that occur in the book strain the boundaries of credibility. And maybe because this is written for children, nothing really too horrible (although there’s some pretty ewww parts) or scary happens – which I thought was a pity, because I think that children would find it fun to be a little scared. For example, the character Sticky supposedly has a traumatic experience when he’s sent to a ‘Waiting Room’ for punishment, but we only get that info secondhand. I thought it would’ve been much better had there been a chapter written so we could follow Sticky as he went through his harrowing experience. I have to say that there were parts in the middle that felt dragging / unnecessary to me (Mr Stewart could’ve used a better editor), but the book does finish with a flourish, with a pulse-pounding face-off between the good guys and the bad guys. My inner child certainly enjoyed herself very much! 🙂

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart is available on Amazon as a Kindle edition ($6.99), Hardcover edition ($12.23), Paperback edition ($6.99) and Audible Audio Edition ($3.95). *Or you may choose to get the entire trilogy The Mysterious Benedict Society Collection at $9.99.

The eBook is also available at B&N, Sony eBookstore, and iBookstore.

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Read Online Full – ‘The Mysterious Benedict Society’ By Trenton Lee Stewart

January 26, 2010 4 comments

Product Description:

ARE YOU A GIFTED CHILD LOOKING FOR SPECIAL OPPORTUNITIES?

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 – Reynie, Kate, Sticky, and Constance – 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 labyrinth of the school’s underground tunnels is more than your average school supplies.

First-time children’s novelist Trenton Lee Stewart takes readers on an adventure that puts friends, family, and foe to the test. Are you up to the challenge?

Click here or on the book cover above to be able to read the novel in its entirety online via the Hachette Book Group (hurry, since it’s not indicated when this offer expires).

It’s not really a free e-book in the sense that you can download and read later at your leisure, but hey, beggars can’t be choosers, right?

The site uses “Open Book” technology and looks like pages of pdf actually. Very easy to use and the pages are set at 100% with clear font, so it’s no biggie 🙂 And if you like it, support the author by buying a copy (Where to buy)!

* I was just checking up on this author, and looks like he’s written two more books in the series! The Mysterious Benedict Society has two sequels: The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey and The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner’s Dilemma.

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