Well, I'm not exactly sure what to say about this. I've read The Mysterious Benedict Society at least thrice now, and it's just so much fun. Separating its intrinsic value from the nostalgic value it has for me will be a little difficult since this series is basically my tween life(that was an exaggeration :D).
So we'll start with the synopsis, and then I'll assess the characterization, plot, and writing.
"Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?"
Dozens of children respond to this peculiar ad in the newspaper and are then put through a series of mind-bending tests, which readers take along with them. Only four children--two boys and two girls--succeed. Their challenge: to go on a secret mission that only the most intelligent and inventive children could complete. To accomplish it they will have to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, where the only rule is that there are no rules. But what they'll find in the hidden underground tunnels of the school is more than your average school supplies.
|A picture of the cover I took with my phone. :D|
Trenton Lee Stewart's characters are...interesting. They're well distinguished in habits, speaking style, physical features, and hobbies. But... they lack drive, in a way.
Despite their respective identifying mannerisms, they don't have any real "personable" qualities or anything in the way of dreams, goals, or ambitions until the overarching conflict is introduced.
So, yeah. I like the characters, but they could be a bit deeper. :P
The plot and sub-plots were very well executed. In addition to being inventive and quirky, they pushed the storyline and kept me turning pages. :)
This was one of those writing styles I didn't really take note of. Not exceptionally good or bad. It flows better than others do in many MG novels. As I mentioned before, this was one of my favorite books as a tween, so I was too young to care much about the writing and it's never really mattered to me since.
Anyways, this book is better than I likely made it sound, because most of its worth lies in its humor and entertaining weirdness rather than depth. :D
Try it, tell me what you think, and if you like it, finish the whole series!
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Recommended for fans of: A Series of Unfortunate Events
Have you read The Mysterious Benedict Society?