Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Premature Book Review: The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey

Trenton Lee Stewart's Mysterious Benedict Society was supposed to be a one shot book, but is now on its third title. The Perilous Journey is the second in the series, and reunites the children with their former mentor.

For those unfamiliar, four orphan children with remarkable talents were identified and put to work by Mr. Benedict, a scientist and freelance government agent. They were sent on a mission to defeat Benedict's brother, Mr. Curtain, who had devised a machine that would facilitate world domination. The machine required children to operate it, so Benedict needed children to infiltrate Curtain's organization.

If this sounds dark, it is. This is a children's book, but it is not lighthearted. Similar to A Series of Unfortunate Events, it confronts a lot of issues, and is very scary at times, even for an adult.

Initially, this book seemed less in the mold of the original. It was less dark, and more child-friendly, but at around the halfway point things took a serious turn. There are a lot of very vicious villains, beside the returned Mr. Curtain, and there are many life-and-death situations to be dealt with.

If you enjoy children's literature, or have a, maybe twelve-year old (I'm not sure, as I have no kids), both these books are excellent. They are not corny, and do not patronize. The children are gifted, but flawed. The villains are ruthless, and tend to undercut and/or fear each other. I would put this in the class with Treasure Island in being for 'tween to adult readers. Definitely read the first book to catch much of what is going on in the second.


Keith said...

I hadn't heard of these before, but I'll have to check them out. I've got some young cousins.

Nathan said...

I've read the first one, and I'd like to read the second one at some point, but there's a lot of other stuff I want to read first.

Lorelei said...

Who has time for recreational reading? ;-)

Maria Jensen said...

I have read the first one and i fell in love with it from the first sec! I wish i would have time to read that second one too!

Great blog!

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