“The Mysterious Benedict Society” Review


There are thousands of books published each year. Many come as hard-bound or paper-backed books. There are, but, newer forms of publishing a book that has come to light as a consequence of technology. Let’s know “The Mysterious Benedict Society” Review.

"The Mysterious Benedict Society” Review

It may be in the form of electronic books, or e-book for short. It could also be books that are to serve a particular market, an audio-book. 

There is even a format that is for the sight-impaired individuals living anywhere in the world.  knowing a different and local dialect but understanding a common language system. 

With this, they can enjoy a secluded time of “reading” a book on their own through the method of the Braille system. 

But no two books are the same even if they are of the same subject matter. Even more than that, not all books come out as top sellers or best sellers, if we have to stick to the term. Only a few come out with shining colors, once in a blue moon.

The Best Selling 4-Book “The Mysterious Benedict Society” Series

The first book in the series – The Mysterious Benedict Society – has been in the market for more than a decade. It has gained ample prominence that it is today a four-book volume. It had been devised by a crafty but unfamiliar writer, at that time, anyhow, by the name of Trenton Lee Stewart.

Who was Trenton Lee Stewart? We will go into a rough detail of the person and his professional writing career in the next section.

The book was published in the year 2007. It had the title with the same name, “The Mysterious Benedict Society”. Some say the very first book in the series was first published in 2008 but with no mention of why the discrepancy. It was only available to the public for sale in April 2008. 

Although it is too early to say definitely if this is the only one yet, but this one has caught the eyes of Disney. A series of episodes are already finished and made available for viewing last June 2021.  

In 2008, another book from the same author came out. It had an extended title but marked of the same name, “The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey”. A third novel came the year after.  The title was “The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner’s Dilemma”. 

The fourth in this series is “The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Riddle of Ages. This book  got published by the author under the same publishing house in 2019.

The Author

Trenton Lee Stewart. An unknown personality in the world of authorship, journalism, or any view for that matter. He has a handful of books under his name. His passion and dedication to his field as a writer is a testament to the man that he is. His wandering mind and the thoughts he can conjure are simple indications of the brilliance of a writer at hand.

Trenton is an American and lives in Little Rock, Arkansas, though he was born in Hot Springs (Garland County), also in Arkansas. Many would equate him as a male equal of the British prolific, J.K. Rowling. The circumstances of his transfer to Little Rock are not known.

So far, most of his books and short stories are targeted at the young adults market. He had been fascinated with writing since third grade. He went on to finish a degree in English and a master’s as well.

Born in the year 1970 on the 27th day of May, he has an older sister. Though he is separated from his wife, he has two young boys that live with him. His children are his sources of inspiration

He had to do odd jobs to support his family since writing was not that easy yet. After his first novel, his break finally came in. The Mysterious Benedict Society was published in 2007 and remained on the best-selling list of the New York Times for a year.

The year after came the second installment of the hit series, The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey. Then in 2009, Trenton published the third book of the series, The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner’s Dilemma.

Three consecutive years but Mr. Stewart came up with the fourth novel a full ten years after the third book. During that decade, contrary to what others might think, Trenton was not idle.

He had published two other completely stand-alone books, one in 2012 and another in 2016. The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict (2012), despite its affinity to the series, may be considered a prequel to the series but not so as admitted by Mr. Stewart. 

Book One Summary and Review: The Mysterious Benedict Society

Four exceptional and talented children, two boys and two girls, are recruited by the narcoleptic Nicholas Benedict but only after passing a series of tests. Their names were Reynard Muldoon (Reynie), George Washington (Sticky), Kate Whetherall, and Constance Contraire, the youngest at two years old.

Along with three other adults – Milligan, Number Two, and Rhonda – Mr. Benedict convinced the four kids of the strange transmissions coming from the island nearby that is causing subliminal harm to the people of Stonetown. He had to select children for the mission since the island has a school for kids called the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened (LIVE) and the transmission voices are children’s voices.

The children agreed and taught themselves morse code having chosen it as the method of communication between them and Mr. Benedict. They gained entry into the Institute on the island and learned the Institute’s owner was a certain Mr. Ledroptha Curtain, the twin brother of Mr. Benedict.

The children settled into their routines on the island and their schedules at school. Soon enough, by their intelligence, Reynie and Sticky were elevated to the status of Messenger. This would allow them access to the inner workings of the Institute and know exactly where and how to disable the Whisperer.

Unfortunately for Kate, who was more adept at using her physical strength, failed in one of the regular exams in LIVE. As Institute policy, the failed student has to leave the island on the next barge departure. 

By some twist of fate, on her way to the barge, Kate was challenged to a round of tetherball by Martina, the demanding captain of the LIVE tetherball team. She defeated the captain, told to join the team. Forego of the barge, and re-entered the Institute by Mr. Curtain himself.

A series of misfortunes befall Mr. Benedict’s mission: the discovery by the LIVE staff of morse code transmission at night the children had to stop it; the untrainable falcon; the submarine went wrong with Milligan in it. 

While the children struggle in their mission, Mr. Benedict and his remaining team members cross the sea and into the island. He convinces the Whisperer he is Mr. Curtain and proceeds to disable the brain-sweeper.

After their first sortie with Mr. Curtain, Reynie became the son of her tutor, Ms. Perumal, through adoption. Being a runaway, Sticky went back to his family. Kate reunited with his father, the loyal Milligan, who was himself a victim of Mr. Curtain’s brain sweep. The ever-complaining Constance got herself a new name, Contraire Benedict; she got adopted by their mentor himself. 

REVIEW: The book is large at more than five hundred pages so a little patience might help. One may opt to see the series on TV but there could be some omissions somewhere like what happened to other TV and movie adaptations of best-selling books.

There are a few that recommend the contraction of the physical book itself by omitting those drab and dragging moments. If such were to be done by the author, would it be as attractive as it is for New York Times? Also, the mystique of the story will suffer if harried and hurried.

The vocabulary is very much adult but not that its readability is way over the grade level. A little bit above its intended target market – the young adults. This is compensated by the author with wily dialogues and vivid descriptions of the life of the people of pre-modern era Stonetown and the island.

All in all, the first book of the series is very much fitting for young adults and even children. It is definitely an adventure even though it is across a small island. It has its spell of thrills, and twists, and turns.

The characters are wacky in each way. Mr. Benedict, when full of emotions, falls to sleep whenever or wherever he may be, standing, seating, eating, or talking; consequence of narcolepsy. 

A soft-spoken but intelligent Reynie, a memory wizard Sticky, blood-pumping Kate and a very grouchy and grumpy but a mental medium two-year-old Constance. All these add to the color and detail of the story that makes it excel and page-turner as well.

Book Two Summary and Review: The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey

The first book in the series had a conflict that needed to be proven and scoured by the four kids. Until Ms. Perumal saw some alarming event in Stonetown with the people and her very own mother, the conflict was touch and go for Mr. Benedict.

This time around, though, the conflict, or problem in this edition, is identified at around the start of the book. Mr. Nicholas Benedict, the narcoleptic genius, the sponsor and benefactor of the four-kid society, has disappeared, has gone missing, along with Number Two.

But not without a letter of a riddle left in the care of Rhonda for the children to open once they arrive. Beforehand, the four children were given invitation by Mr. Benedict to join an international treasure hunt to train their individual skills. The kids had gathered at Kate’s farm before leaving for Mr. Benedict’s abode.

The kids came to learn as well that Mr. Curtain was the culprit and that he demanded a plant that he needed badly otherwise the two captives will have very uncomfortable situations alike but apiece. All four decide to help their mentor and Number Two in secret but hope to know what that plant is all about.

After solving a couple of clues, they all end up in Portugal. Obstacles and perils along the way, they come into a library and come to know of what the plant is: a very rare duskwort, may even be extinct to date. 

They did some research on the plant and found out that it was both a bane and a boon for all. When burned, it is like a narcotic drug. It will send everyone into sleep without knowing for how long that will be. It may even send one to the afterlife.

Even so, the plant is known to be a cure for narcolepsy. A very essential plant for the likes of Mr. Benedict and all the others in the world with the same affliction. Such a marvel of a find but such a snake if it is that at the same time.

Along their path of rescue, they meet two men called Ten Men which Milligan, who had followed the kid’s path, brushed aside. Milligan now accompanies them and they all find the location of a living duskwort in an uninhabited island.

They all meet up there and a few scuffles and truffles, they managed to find the ship that had brought them to Portugal with a captain who is a friend of Mr. Benedict. The general ending of which is another scuffle with Mr. Curtain and Ten Men with a bomb before the Coast Guard arrives.

They all arrive back at Mr. Benedict’s house and stay the night over. 

REVIEW: A mere few pages lesser than the first book, it still is thick. The New York Times would not be agreeable to any contraction ever. This one got into the list as much as the first book. It could not be any finer.

You can not praise everyone at the same time. In this edition, the author has employed a lot more adults than usual as the first to aid in solving the riddle or in finding the path they seek. Many find this disturbing as it distracts or inhibits the children’s abilities.

The reader must remind himself or herself that this is the first time the group has gone out of Stonetown. Not all but even less than a handful are known as benign, so, the richest source of information for the group in their mission of rescue are the adults of that place.

It is intended for kids and it shall be that way. An excellent novel by itself, and a far more enthralling adventure for the team. And the series.

Book Three Summary and Review: The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner’s Dilemma

Playing a game and ending up in the real world as the game is an absolute shock. This is the start of the third series where Reynie and Constance play Mr. Benedict’s game of “The Prisoner’s Dilemma”. All the kids of the Society are involved including members of the staff of Mr. Benedict.

With the lure of world domination ingrained, Mr. Curtain devised a plan to send a fake personality to investigate the history of Constance Contraire. Mr. Benedict and his group listen to the revelation that sent Constance on a distraught and desperate escape from where she was. Everybody then was after her.

This deception leads to puzzles and chases that eventually make all four Society characters fall into the hands of the evil character, Mr. Curtain. While in prison, Kate Wetherall, the athletic one who almost dropped out of LIVE at the first island in the first series, uses her physical skills to know where they were and went back to the group. 

This led the group, with Reynie at the head, to realize that they were in a real prison. They needed to let Mr. Benedict know where they were and the only way possible for them at that time was no other than through Constance. 

By her mental prowess, Constance, the grumpy and grouchy and ever-complaining girl that she is, was able to send her message to their genius sponsor and even receive a response from there. The Society, the group, the kids, read and discuss the message before it all ends.

REVIEW: The book is the same as the first and the second in the series. It is not a 200-page novel. You can never deliver a thorough and explicit story with just that number of pages. Let it come as it is. If there is disagreement somewhere, then think about why New York Times chose it again in its best-selling list for that year.

Trenton Lee Stewart has invariably made a chaotic relationship among the four members of the society in this episode. This nefarious problem put upon the characters has made the story even more admirable making it a real come-on in page-turning.

Book Four Summary and Review: The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Riddle of Ages

The four children have considerably grown through the years which is natural. Each had been on his or her own adventure in life since it had been quite a time since they had been together. Growing to adulthood also has its own drawbacks as all the four kids realize.

Being adults now, and Constance, being the adopted daughter of Mr. Benedict himself, had beforehand telepathically invited the fifth character into the group, Tai Li. By the name alone, the new member is of a lighter shade of skin and Asian descent. 

Constance remarked to everyone that the new kid is five years old and as psychic as she is. She missed, by purpose or for everybody else’s surprise, the bubbly garrulous part of the new member, as it is.

The group needed to reunite as dire news had reached them that the evil genius of Mr. Curtain and his Ten Men had escaped the walls of prison by some treacherous manner. It is by coincidence to note that the wily Curtain band had acquired the services of a telepathic member as well, negating any advantage of the Benedict group, if that should be so.

From the mansion of Mr. Benedict on the land where they all started to the island where they first had their troubles, the Society still had their small squabbles, tiffs, angst, and flurries. Reflections on the actions they are going to take, the morality of everything they have to do, were all in consideration before they all set off for the riddle of ages.

REVIEW: Still filled with the patent childish insecurities, the friendship’s openness to all things that matter, and even to the frank doubts cast by the Society members on each other, the fourth story is as enthralling and captivating as it has been.

The group needed to chase the quarry, devise some stratagem, improvise at times even, to ease a particular situation. With more dangerous situations ahead, and an enemy with an equally telepathic cohort that monitors their every movement, the ensuing turmoil of twists, thrills, sly humor along the way, and wranglings of any sort, the gang of the Society comes through.

The title, with all certainty, is not without reason. The reader even, at times, is invited on his own merit to solve a puzzle on his own before engaging on to the next paragraph. Reminder to those who do, yet, that this is not, and never has been, an adult novel; expect lesser than what you think. 

The whole episode, as expected, turns out in the favor of our favorite protagonists. A detailed casting of the complete scenario of the episode of the currently last installment of the series would render this review as nothing more than a spoiler.

The only question remaining which the author has the sole right to answer is if this will be the last of the series? Harry Potter survived a long series where Trenton Lee Stewart has some comparison with the female British author, J. K. Rowling.

Harry Potter was an exception but could this be one in the making? It has four books now and it could try for another one. We have to wait and see.

“The Mysterious Benedict Society” Review

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