Monday, March 28, 2016

Book Review: The Mysterious Benedict Society

The Mysterious Benedict Society
by  Trenton Lee Stewart
Date Read:  3/25/16
Rating: ★ ★ 

A colleague of mine recommended this series to me when I mentioned I'd been listening to the Series of Unfortunate Events during my commute to and from work.  I decided to pick it up.

The reader of this audiobook was hard to get used to at first.  It was a low voice that almost sounded like it had an echo. At first I thought it sounded like he recorded it in his home…but I think it’s just his voice. So if you’re listening to the audiobook, just ride it out. You’ll get used to it after a while.

The story itself was way longer than I expected.  Being that it’s a children’s book, I expected it to be more along the lines of the The Lemony Snicket books or How to Train Your Dragon books. I ended up having to listen to this while I was at work in order to finish it in the 2 weeks the library provided me the audiobook (which took me 3 months to get!).

It was a very interesting story about super intelligent children and a man who brings them together in order to complete a mission. I enjoyed it for the most part. There were a few times that I got bored while they were trying to figure out a clue (specifically the one about a gemini…and it took these super intelligent children 10 minutes to discover it meant twin). Otherwise I liked that all the children were “intelligent” and important based on the different skills and abilities they brought to the table.  It didn’t mean that they were all book smart. One thought out of the box, one was book smart, one was great at reading people, and another always challenged them. It was a great way to show kids that everyone is different but everyone possesses valuable skills – and just being book smart isn’t everything. While I do think understanding the basic book smarts is important, there are a lot of other things involved in being successful in the world. This book shows us this.

Like I said, I ended up having to listen to this while I was working, as well as in the car like I normally do, so I know I missed a few things. The subliminal messages the guy was sending out still didn’t make 100% sense to me. I didn’t fully understand how it worked. I’m guessing it’s because I missed something at the beginning…or perhaps it wasn’t fully explained.

I felt like it was a little longer than it needed to be. I think this is made for much older children who aren’t really in to the whole “young adult” yet or just want to read about younger children – but the length of this is like a young adult book.

I enjoyed the characters. Most of them were likeable. I still didn’t particularly like Constance by the end – though she was tolerable by then. At the very end there’s a bit of a twist and it made me like her a little bit more.  I like Kate, Renny and Sticky a lot though. It was fun to watch how these intelligent and different kids were able to form a friendship and complete this mission.

I’m looking forward to seeing what’s in store next for the Mysterious Benedict Society!


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