The Mysterious Benedict Society, by Trenton Lee Stewart

This is the kind of book that I would have read six times a week when I was younger. I have always been big into puzzles and riddles and whatnot, and the main character in this book (and series, apparently) has a keen eye for solving them, too. In fact, he’s perhaps a little better at it than I am — or perhaps he’s just a better guesser. Which is a good skill to have.

And especially in this story, as the main character, Reynie Muldoon, finds himself drafted into the titular society, whose aim is to bring together gifted and brave young souls to save the world. Silly world, always getting in trouble! This time, the world is facing some vague Emergency (isn’t it always?) and the Mr. Benedict after whom the society is named has figured out that there are unsettling messages being transmitted into adult brains by children (because adults won’t notice children talking to them, ha!). The exact point of the messages is unknown, but Benedict decides to send in his best and brightest on an undercover mission to the institute from which the messages are coming.

It’s pretty exciting, is what I’m saying. Lots of danger and intrigue and lateral thinking. Reynie is the puzzle-solver of the group, while a kid called Sticky (because facts stick to him) has practically an eidetic memory, the Great Kate Weather Machine is a brute force to be reckoned with, and Constance Contraire is just stubborn, which isn’t quite as useful.

At first, I wasn’t quite getting into the story because it’s all rather fantastic — I expected any minute to find out that everything was just some giant ploy to gain something or other. But no, this is a children’s book and therefore quite attached to its ridiculousness. So just go with it. Once I did, I found myself enjoying it a heck of a lot more, because even the predictable bits of the story are infused with a self-aware humor that cuts a lot of the annoyance I had with The Sea of Trolls.

I will definitely be picking up the next book in this series, and then the one after that.

Recommendation: For kid geniuses, wannabe kid geniuses, and kid geniuses at heart.

Rating: 9/10
(A to Z Challenge)

2 thoughts on “The Mysterious Benedict Society, by Trenton Lee Stewart

  1. Alison says:

    No! Don't wait! 🙂 It's excellent on audiobook and not terribly attention-intensive… you could pop it in your car and listen on the way to work.

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