I’ve read a lot of rave reviews for The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart, so I was pretty excited when I finally got my hands on a copy, but tried to be realistic, too – how many amazing books can a person expect to find in this world? But luckily my expectations were more than met with this exciting children’s book about a group of exceptionally smart orphans who form a secret society in the hopes of overcoming very great odds and defeating a very smart, powerful enemy. The job requires various forms of smarts, perseverance and bravery and the children are constantly tested in areas that they have no idea if they are capable of passing, but in the end they come through – possibly by the skin of their teeth, but for a cluster of small, scared children this is still quite remarkable.
I loved testing myself along with the children while reading this and was very impressed when I didn’t know the answers that they did – and proud when I did know. I loved all the characters and rooted for them with glee. All of the characters were very well written, the story impressive and addicting – I had a seriously hard time putting this book down and thus finished it very quickly. I’m already anxiously anticipating the second book in the series, The Perilous Journey.
This book combines everything which is great about the Harry Potter series and Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events, but still manages to be it’s own entity – a fresh, exciting new plot that keeps you guessing, with a new memorable set of characters that children will be able to relate to and cheer on. The writing style is very good, and like the Snicket books it’s an excellent way to sneak in some learning with your fun – lots of words are defined without it feeling forced (usually one of the main characters simply asks for a definition when they find they don’t know what a word means) and the tests the children take can show readers how you can solve a problem in many different ways, still arriving at the right answer – how being smart is not confined to one area – that you can be clever in different ways and that all those ways are important.
I don’t think I could say enough good things, in fact, I don’t think this review is sufficiently explaining how much I liked it, so you’ll just have to take my word for it, and try reading it yourself – I don’t think you will be disappointed. This book would make an excellent present for any reader in your life (it’s aimed towards kids in 9-12 years old) – I bought a copy for my cousin for Christmas and my husband is already planning to read my copy now that I’m done with it. I really think The Mysterious Benedict Society could be the Next Big Thing.