Hey there, blog! Just a quick review today.
I wasn’t quite sure what specific criteria I wanted to use when writing these book reviews… It’s been on my mind for awhile now. Should I only write reviews on books that are new? Like review copies? Or should I not do ARCs at all and stick to only books I’ve purchased myself? Is it bad to review books that have been around for awhile?
But I think I’ve decided on what is best. I will review books I find interesting. I’m not going to pick out any ARCs that I wouldn’t have liked to read anyway and I won’t worry about books being newer either. I’m just going to promise myself that I will review only what I feel like reviewing.
So yes, I’ve picked out a book to review that’s been around for a little while. (Just checked the copyright— 2007. How have I not heard of this book until now??) Well, it’s new to me. And it’s one of the nicest pieces of new-to-me fiction I’ve read for awhile. I thought it was cute and interesting and worth talking about a little bit.
The book is called “The Mysterious Benedict Society” and is written by Trenton Lee Stewart and illustrated by the lovely Carson Ellis. It is a series, but I’ve only read the first so far. The cover art is gorgeous and honestly totally my aesthetic. (I try not to judge a book by its cover, but oh my word.)
And, dears, the inside is quite as lovely so let’s get to it.
~ What I Liked ~
The characters are some of the coolest I’ve met for awhile. The main four are Reynie Muldoon, Sticky Washington, Kate Wetherall, and Constance Contraire. Each character has, upon seeing an interesting ad in the paper, elected to take an interesting, and progressively more mysterious, series of test. After the tests — that only the four of them end up passing — they meet the eccentric, narcoleptic Mr. Benedict who proposes they help him in unraveling a conspiracy. And they say yes. And they do.
This book is chock-full of amazing, quirky characters. Sticky, for example, is named Sticky because he remembers everything; it sticks in his brain. But also because his real name is George Washington and that is way too embarrassing. Of course.
And Kate. She carries around a bucket full of necessities like rope, a flashlight, and a spyglass disguised as a kaleidoscope. Mr. Benedict himself is awesome. And Reynie, the main character, is very lovable. Especially when it comes to his dear Miss. Perumal. I’m not going to even set myself going on Constance. I love her to death.
Besides all that, the story itself is very interesting. I loved the conspiracy and the underlying tone set. I felt suspicious of my television for quite some time after reading this book. But, to be honest, I’ve always been a little annoyed/suspicious of television.
One of my favorite things about this book is that it emphasizes that there are different kinds of intelligence. Intelligence could be remembering tons of facts, it could be figuring out the intended solution, it could be coming up with an unexpected answer, it could be refusing to be put in a box. Intelligence is creativity, it is also memory and practicality and stubbornness. It made me realize that perhaps everybody has their very own brand of intelligence. And I really like that.
Another message I took away from this book is that the truth is very important. And it is very, very easy to accept a lie. It may even, in fact, be very enjoyable to accept a lie. The truth is harder, but it is worth fighting for. Each of the kids in the Benedict Society was very different, but what they all had in common was their love of truth. They refused to accept the lies that were fed to them.
And maybe, in the end, intelligence is just a love of looking for the truth.
Oh! And one more thing!! THE ILLUSTRATIONS. I absolutely loved the illustrations (particularly the cover especially, but they were good all throughout the book as well) and I thought they really helped set the tone of the book and were super cute and quirky, just like the characters themselves.
~ What I Did Not Like ~
I always hate criticizing books I overall liked very much, but I do have a few things that keep this book from being one of my absolute favorites. Though, I really actually don’t have much to say against it.
It was a little slow-going at times. Much of the book was confined to one setting and that might bother some people. The writing style wasn’t the most genius thing I’ve ever read, but I liked it enough and it was never obnoxious or distracting.
The book was overall very readable and very likable. It is not my favorite book ever and I may not end up reading more of the series, but I did enjoy it very, very much.
~ Would I Recommend It? ~
Though it was a little slow-going at times and it wasn’t my favorite book of all time, I definitely loved it. It had amazing characters, a fascinating and original storyline, a cool message, and some great plot twists. I’d recommend this to people who liked A Series of Unfortunate Events. If unique and quirky characters and page-turning mysteries are your thing, you’d like this. And this one has a happy ending! And it’s yellow! Yay!
I believe I rated it between four or five stars on goodreads? I think I’d officially give it four. Five = I loved it and I would read it again for sure. Four = I really liked it and maybe I will read it again.
That’s about it for me today. I hope you all have a lovely Friday and a wonderful, wonderful weekend.
— The Great Brooke Weather Machine aka Brookie Lizzy aka -… .-. — — -.- .