May 28

Review: The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

I received this book for free from ARC received from publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee StewartThe Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
Series: The Mysterious Benedict Society #1
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on 2008-04-01
Genres: action & adventure, crime & mystery, fiction, junior fiction, middle fiction
Pages: 496
Source: ARC received from publisher
Buy on Amazon

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.

Ever have one of those “why haven’t I heard about this book before now?” moments? One of the disadvantages of living in the land Down Under is that it sometimes takes a while for information to drift far enough south for us to hear about it.

So, I have only just found out about the fantastic Mysterious Benedict Society series, as the first book was only released in Australia in May 2009. In the same month, the paperback version of the second book, The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey, was released in the US and a third book, The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner’s Dilemma is due for release in the US in late 2009.

The Mysterious Benedict Society has the same kind of feel to it as Harry Potter and the Lemony Snicket books. Action, adventure, great characters, and themes about friendship, loyalty, courage etc for those interested in getting a deeper message from the book. Before you send me heated emails declaring that it is nothing like HP, I’m referring more to the use of language and style of adventure than the content. No wizards or magic in MBS, but lots of great interaction between characters and exciting plot developments.

I particularly enjoyed the very clever use of language in this book. There are some great puns in the character and place names (the evil LeDroptha Curtain has established his Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened on Nomansan Island).

It is so exciting to find such a clever, well written and exciting book suitable for the tween market. The four children, two girls and two boys, who are selected by Mr Benedict to work as spies at Curtain’s Learning Institute are interesting and quirky characters that tweens should find appealing. There is a great sense of fun and humour in the book running alongside the more serious themes.

I don’t want to spoil the suspense by giving away details of the plot, but I highly recommend this book for both boys and girls who love to read adventure or mystery stories. I gave it to my 10-year-old son to read and he loves it.

Now I just have to decide whether to buy the second and third books in the series from the US or wait until they are available in Australia. *sigh*

Recommended for readers aged 10+

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  1. Sandy Fussell

    I love the sound of this series. And I love a good pun. It just so happens I’ve got a book voucher looking for a reason to leave home.. Thanks for the recommendation:)

  2. Gemimah S. Colliwald Cornilia*

    i luv the series, i read the first two books but i never noticed that pun in his name lol its halarious i can’t wait for the 3rd book either too bad it comes out in australia later u should by it from america oh and also too bad ur a grown up
    .-= Gemimah S. Colliwald Cornilia*´s last blog ..Booking Through Thursday – Recent “Big” Reads =-.

  3. man eater eats man

    awesome book its one of my favorites.

  4. m. lykes

    I love these books they have become my fav. series

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