Reviews for Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey


Booklist Reviews 2008 March #2
The daring foursome from the well-received The Mysterious Benedict Society (2007) returns in a second perilous adventure. As the book opens, the children reunite at Mr. Benedict's home, where he has arranged a treasure hunt. Alas, they discover that Benedict and his assistant are being held captive somewhere, and dire consequences will result if Benedict's evil twin doesn't receive the information he desires in four days. The children undertake a worldwide journey to save Benedict and find the duskwort that will cure his narcolepsy. Lots of backstory is needed to set up this sequel, which makes for a choppy beginning. In the previous book, the protagonist's personal stories provided heft, but this is pure adventure--lots of racing, scheming, fighting. Punches are pulled on the violence front, but the threat is always there, creating page-turning tension. It's this roller coaster, along with the essential goodness of the characters (except, perhaps, for Constance), that will draw kids to this breathless follow-up. Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2008 Fall
When their beloved leader and father-figure Mr. Benedict is kidnapped by his power-hungry twin Mr. Ledroptha Curtain, the four gifted members of the Mysterious Benedict Society discover that a playful puzzle-quest Mr. Benedict designed for them may hold the key to his rescue. As canny Reynie, athletic Kate, memory-whiz Sticky, and cantankerous toddler-prodigy Constance solve riddles, work codes, and follow clues on a speedy cargo-ship en route to Lisbon, Holland, and an uncharted Scottish island, their footsteps are dogged by Mr. Curtain's creepy henchmen, the Ten Men, so named for their signature briefcases that pack ten ways to hurt you with lethal office supplies. Save for a few treacly initial scenes with the children's overprotective caregivers, Stewart keeps interest high throughout the journey with first-rate brainteasers, interludes of physical danger, and the children's own complex dynamics, which reveal an understanding of the emotional needs of gifted youth. In particular, main protagonist Reynie, who has the greatest insight into human nature, struggles against cynicism when faced with the pervasive evil of Mr. Curtain's organization, a struggle felicitously addressed in the climax. Readers charmed by the first Mysterious Benedict Society's unexpected plot twists and quirky details will find this sequel a worthy successor. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2008 #3
When their beloved leader and father-figure Mr. Benedict is kidnapped by his power-hungry twin Mr. Ledroptha Curtain, the four gifted members of the Mysterious Benedict Society discover that a playful puzzle-quest Mr. Benedict designed for them may hold the key to his rescue. As canny Reynie, athletic Kate, memory-whiz Sticky, and cantankerous toddler-prodigy Constance solve riddles, work codes, and follow clues on a speedy cargo-ship en route to Lisbon, Holland, and an uncharted Scottish island, their footsteps are dogged by Mr. Curtain's creepy henchmen, the Ten Men, so named for their signature briefcases that pack ten ways to hurt you with lethal office supplies. Save for a few treacly initial scenes with the children's overprotective caregivers, Stewart keeps interest high throughout the journey with first-rate brainteasers, interludes of physical danger, and the children's own complex dynamics, which reveal an understanding of the emotional needs of gifted youth. In particular, main protagonist Reynie, who has the greatest insight into human nature, struggles against cynicism when faced with the pervasive evil of Mr. Curtain's organization, a struggle felicitously addressed in the climax. Readers charmed by the first Mysterious Benedict Society's unexpected plot twists and quirky details will find this sequel a worthy successor. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2008 April #2
The seemingly ordinary young members of The Mysterious Benedict Society (2007) reunite for another grand adventure, though the author's mannered prose style, his habit of explaining things that need no explanation and his protagonist's compulsive need to ruminate over the ethics of every action may wear down less patient readers. When beloved sponsor and narcoleptic genius Nicholas Benedict goes missing, Reynie, Kate, Sticky and now-three-year-old Constance set out to the rescue. Fortunately, Benedict has left a trail of not-too-cryptic riddle/clues to follow. Unfortunately, his evil twin Ledroptha Curtain and minions are usually a step ahead. Also unfortunately--for the story, at least--the author trots in so many grown-ups to help the young folk along that in the end their own abilities only fitfully come into play. The rescue is ultimately accomplished, although as Curtain escapes, there may well be more outings for the Society down the road. Though still entertainingly quirky, this second doorstopper episode has more of an air of trading on the previous one's cleverness than building on it. (Fiction. 11-13) Copyright Kirkus 2008 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2008 May

Gr 5-7-- What was supposed to have been a reunion with Mr. Benedict turns into trouble for the four young heroes of The Mysterious Benedict Society (Little, Brown, 2007). Mr. Benedict and his assistant Number 2 have been kidnapped by the evil Mr. Curtain while abroad, so Reynie, Kate, Sticky, and Constance set off to rescue him, aided by a set of clues Mr. Benedict left before his abduction. Adventure and danger await the four onboard an unusual ship, at a castle in Portugal, in the Netherlands, and finally on a mysterious island, where they fall into the hands of Mr. Curtain and his henchmen. It is a combination of courage and their amazing talents that allows the youngsters to squeak out of every predicament. The action takes a while to get going in earnest as more attention is given to the worries and thoughts of the children and to their interactions with the various helpful, eccentric, or nasty adults they meet in their travels. They also learn to understand themselves and one another a little better by the end of their harrowing journey. As a result, this is not just a rip-roaring adventure with plenty of clever twists and hair's-breadth escapes, but also a warm and satisfying tale about friendship.--Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library

[Page 140]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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VOYA Reviews 2008 April
Reynie, Sticky, Kate, and Constance return for another round of adventures in this sequel to Stewart's debut young adult novel The Mysterious Benedict Society (Little, Brown/Hachette, 2007/VOYA February 2007). This time, the adventures get more personal as the friends fight the clock to save Mr. Benedict and Number Two from Mr. Curtain's (Benedict's evil twin) latest plot. As with the first book, this story is filled with quirky characters, gifted youngsters, puzzles, and rigorous quests. The sequel starts slowly, with an explanatory tone and lots of backtracking and reintroductions, but the action soon sails along when the four friends hit the high seas on the cargo ship Shortcut. Its length may be daunting to some readers, but those who dive in will be rewarded. These characters are decidedly not standard issue, and each one's strength is crucial to the mission. Resourcefulness, physical prowess, memory, and intuition are all necessary if the characters are to succeed. The tale is physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging for the young characters and for readers who follow the clues with them. Occasionally it dips into the overly sweet but with a self-consciousness that is just right for young teens. Even the sometimes convoluted twists and turns do not detract from the overall charm of the story. Trust, friendship, human nature, pride, and courage underlie the story and add depth without preaching to readers. This classic struggle of good versus evil also includes the many layers in between.-Cheryl French 3Q 4P M Copyright 2008 Voya Reviews.

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