Reviews for Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma


Booklist Reviews 2009 December #1
The third (and perhaps final?) book about the Mysterious Benedict Society picks up with a brain teaser as Reynie, Constance, Kate, and Sticky try to figure out the conundrum known as the Prisoner's Dilemma. This artificial construct moves into real-life danger as Mr. Curtain et al. once again set their sights on the Whisperer. Questions about Constance and her past are answered here, and other loose ends are neatly tied as well. Displaying much of the charm of the first book, this would make a fitting end to the series, but the Society's legion of fans probably wouldn't say no to more. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2009 #6
The members of the Mysterious Benedict Society -- intuitive Reynie, athletic Kate, eidetic Sticky, and obstreperous four-year-old Constance Contraire -- are virtual prisoners in the house of their benefactor, Mr. Benedict. They've been sequestered to keep their nemesis, Ledroptha Curtain, from capturing and using them as hostages in his eagerness to regain control of the Whisperer, a brainwashing machine currently under the protective custody of Mr. Benedict. Their incarceration is enlivened by puzzles set for them by Mr. Benedict and the unusual powers of telepathy beginning to be evidenced by Constance, but when Mr. Curtain and the deadly Ten Men hijack the Whisperer and the children fall into a trap laid for them, they must bring all their puzzle-solving skills -- and Constance's telepathy -- to bear in their attempts to escape and neutralize the Whisperer. As in the previous series entries, the children's well-delineated characters are believable as those of young prodigies, the narrative puzzles mesh with thumping good action scenes, and the good-versus-evil plot balances the warmth of family connections with the excitement of deathly peril. Copyright 2009 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2009 October

Gr 5-8--Reynie, Kate, Constance, and Sticky return for a third adventure. This time, the megalomaniac Ledroptha Curtain schemes to regain his deadly Whisperer machine. As Constance develops her powers of mental telepathy, Reynie and the others use their gifted minds to puzzle through Curtain's master plan even as they fall prey to his kidnapping attempt. Imprisoned by well-meaning and sinister characters alike, the Society members face choices that test their loyalty as well as their intellect. Sequels sometimes lack the intensity of the original works, and Prisoner's Dilemma struggles with this syndrome at times. The children's unique talents, long since revealed, are past the startling sparkle of their introduction. As character development yields to a dominant plot, the story lacks the facile agility of its predecessors. On the other hand, the opening gambit is fresh and frightfully funny, as is Constance Contraire always and forever. The writing is replete with rollicking metaphors. Finally, as in the best of E. L. Konigsburg's novels, Stewart's introspective characters examine the significance of their experiences. Unlike most adventurers, these special children see the world surrounding their story and share it with readers. If this is the last Society installment, readers had better, as Reynie says, "acquire a taste for the bittersweet."--Caitlin Augusta, Stratford Library Association, CT

[Page 138]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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VOYA Reviews 2009 December
The Society is back. In the months since their daring rescue of Mr. Benedict and Number Two in The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey (Megan Tingley Books/Little, Brown, 2008/VOYA April 2008), the foursome have been kept under protective lock and key. Evil Mr. Curtain and his treacherous Ten Men are still on the lam, whereabouts unknown, and no one is safe. When word comes that the Whisperer is to be moved out of Mr. Benedict's control, they know that Mr. Curtain will strike again. Will Reynie, Kate, Sticky, and Constance be ready when he does As with the other series books, readers receive both an adventurous ride and a heart-warming story of friendship and family. The characters continue to learn more about themselves and each other, discovering new strengths, facing weaknesses, and grappling with the tensions of so much time spent together and fears that they will go their separate ways soon. They also maneuver through riddles, puzzles, traps, and other dangerous feats of body and mind that will keep young teens greedily turning the pages to see how the story plays out. This third adventure builds slowly but spends less time filling in back story and does not try so hard to explain everything. Yet there is still enough history for readers unfamiliar with the series to dive right in. Although some of the foreshadowing is still heavy-handed, most readers will be too caught up in the story to care.--Cheryl French 3Q 4P M Copyright 2009 Voya Reviews.

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