Friday, July 4, 2014

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

Synopsis: "Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?" ad attracts dozens for mind-bending tests readers may try. Only two boys and two girls succeed for a secret mission, undercover and underground into hidden tunnels. At the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, the only rule is - there are no rules.

My thoughts: this book talks about the adventures of four children, who must defeat Mr. Curtain (the villain) before he wins everybody minds. The kids are: Reynie Muldoon, an orphan boy with a golden heart and leadership; George “Sticky” Washington, a runaway kid with the ability to stick – that’s why his name – everything that he reads into his bald head; Kate Wetherall and her bucket, an orphan girl whose mother died and father disappeared, making her runaway with the circus, where she learned as many abilities as you can imagine; and last, but not least, little Miss Constance Contraire, the most gifted of all – and the most annoying. Together they are the Mysterious Benedict Society, the most gifted kids and only hope for the world.

                At first, I thought that I would be able to draw a rank with my favorite and hated character among the children, but now I find it impossible to do so. Simply because they are adorable and unique, making each one, in its own way, important for the success of their mission.

According to booklist, this book is compared to Harry Potter’s saga, and although I agree in most of it – the common villain that together they must defeat, the danger to everyone if they fail etcetera – their genre doesn’t match (in my humble opinion): The MBS has the small kids between 6 to 13 or 14 years old as their target, while The HP focus on everybody in a general matter, but mainly juvenile people.

The book altogether was very entertaining and fun, I had my share of laughter, surprise and caring for each chapter and each character – except for Mr. Curtain, obviously. Despite all efforts, I couldn’t find a book category for it, since it has adventure, mystery, a fiction, action, comedy, differently from the other novels that I’ve read over the years – mostly of them fits in the romance and historical romance category. So I can say, with a certain amount of security, that it pleases all tastes.

Even though it’s a childlike book, the focus, for me, wasn’t only in the games and enigmas that the book gives you to solve together with the heroes, but the messages within the book itself: you’re never alone if you have friends; everyone is especial and important for something or someone, no matter what they are like or what they do; there is no 100% right side in politics or in everything in life, for that matter; family isn’t only the one with blood-relations. That’s why I had such a hard time finding a place to put them in :P
Here is the website from the book, with games and everything:
Welcome to The Mysterious Benedict Society!


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