Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Review: The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma

Title: The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner’s Dilemma (The Mysterious Benedict Society #3)
Author: Trenton Lee Stewart
Illustrator: Diana Sudyka
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication Date: October 27th, 2009
Genre: Juvenile Fiction, Adventure, Mystery

The four young members of the Mysterious Benedict Society are feeling a little like prisoners, since they are all living in Mr. Benedict’s home and are under strict surveillance for their own safety. The house holds the Whisperer, a dangerous and powerful machine that is able to plant thoughts into people’s mind, or erase them altogether. The Whisperer is the creation of Mr. Benedict’s brother, Mr. Curtain, who will do anything to get it back. Reynie, Kate, Constance and Sticky will have to use their considerable talent to save all of Stonetown from Mr. Curtain’s nefarious scheme.

This is the third and final book about the Mysterious Benedict Society, a group of gifted children selected by Nicholas Benedict to help save the world. I adored the first two books in the series, and I started The Prisoner’s Dilemma with high hopes. In the end, I was left feeling unsatisfied. After reading reviews, I had to ask “Is it me?” I read this book on December 24th, so at first I wondered if my stress about Christmas got in the way of my enjoyment. After mulling it over for a few days, I think that it’s the book, not me. Not to say this isn’t a good book; it was actually great. The plot was fast paced and exciting, and I liked that it once again centered around the Whisperer. It was an exciting story that made me forget about everything else going on. We learn about Constance’s parentage and mysterious past, which was one of my favourite things about this book. We see how the children have grown and developed as characters, while they are still as amazing as they were in book one. While all these things made me really like this book, there were a few things that stopped me from loving it. There were less clever puzzles and I don’t remember a single moment where something got past me. In the previous books, I was constantly reminded how brilliant Trenton Lee Stewart was with the many puzzles and riddles. Sticky, who is the group’s walking encyclopedia, was put in the background in this book, which I disliked. There were some things that we just too over the top for me, such as Constance’s powers, which I felt were unnecessary. Despite all this, I had a lot of fun reading this book. While it didn’t live up to its predecessors, The Prisoner’s Dilemma had some pretty big shoes to fill. I am very glad that there is going to be a sequel about Mr. Benedict’s youth, and I’m hoping it will be filled with intelligent puzzles like the earlier books in the series. If you’re looking for mystery, adventure and creative writing, then look no further than The Mysterious Benedict series.


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