Saturday, 21 May 2016

Monthly Read: The Mysterious Benedict Society

It's that time of the month again when I get to recommend a book to you. This week's series—again—is a children/young adult book which I loved to read in high school: The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart.  It is also a trilogy, telling the story of four extraordinary children who got recruited by Mr. Benedict to stop Mr. Curtain, a criminal mastermind, from trying to take over the world. These orphans live with Mr. Benedict and his quirky crew, to be surrounded by puzzles and knowledge every single day. There are Reynie, the outside-of-the-box thinker and pack leader; Sticky, the nervous nelly with a bald head and tremendous memory; Kate, the overactive and creative lass with her bucket of tools; and—my favourite—Constance, the temperamental and stubborn girl who likes to create poems when she's irritated. The story is filled with many excellent jokes for all ages, incredibly orchestrated puzzles as well as lovely quirks for all the characters—even Mr. Curtain! The first book is illustrated by Carson Ellis but the rest are done by Diana Sudyka, who does all the covers as well. It's really all well written, with amazing character development and wonderful plot twists—but, really, the puzzles are why we're here to stay.

The series got me so hooked that I actually purchased two extra books to the instalment: Mr. Benedict's Perplexing Puzzles and The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict. The first one, as the name suggests, is simply a book of puzzles, which are supposedly created by Mr. Benedict himself. If you love puzzles—as I do, this will be a great book to have on a train trip when you need to occupy yourself with a task. The puzzles can be quite hard to do too—I'm not even finished with it yet! But the answers can be found at the very last pages of the book, although it really doesn't help you understand the puzzle, just helps you get the answer. The second one is the prequel of the whole series which tells the story of Mr. Benedict's childhood in an orphanage—which is strange because there was no mention of Mr. Curtain at all. It is quite difficult to imagine the helpless boy from this book—though smart from the start—will become the savvy and intelligent man in the series. But it really does help you understand how he can relate so well to the children, especially Reynie. Just talking about this series makes me want to re-read them! Have you read them yet? Let me know what you think!

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