Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey

We finished reading The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey a while ago, but I didn't have the chance to blog it until now.  We are halfway through the third book in the series now... hopefully I will be more prompt about blogging that one!

The Story:  The members of the Mysterious Benedict Society reunite for what was supposed to be a wonderful adventure set up by Mr. Benedict, but instead turns into a rescue mission to save their benefactor and Number Two, who have been kidnapped by his nefarious twin brother, Mr. Curtain.  The intrepid children have to avoid capture by Mr. Curtain's henchmen, the Ten Men, and travel around the globe on their search.

The Good:  The characters are as good as ever... and the adventure is exciting.  The search for Mr. Benedict brings them through different countries, following clues left for them on what was supposed to be a kind of scavenger hunt.  They are very engaging as characters.  Evalina particularly likes Constance, the precocious toddler in the group.

The Bad: There are times when it's scary... it's unclear if the children will prevail, and they end up in some tight spots.  But, in my mind, that just makes for a good story.  Adults are often portrayed as untrustworthy, and that could be a problem for some.  The children also do not usually listen to the instructions of the adults in their life.  This could also be seen as a problem.

The Verdict:  I actually think I liked this story better than the first one.  The adventure was more targeted, if you will.  Also, one person mentioned that the first book was basically Mr. Benedict throwing the children into a dangerous situation and hoping that it all worked out for the best... this one is the children taking the initiative to save their friends.  Amazon lists this book as for ages 9-12, and I would agree with that for children reading independently.  Evalina is 8 1/2 and it probably would have been a bit much for her to read on her own.