The Mysterious Benedict Society and The Riddle of Ages by Trenton Lee Stewart
Genre – Middle-grade fiction, science fiction
Rating – PG for mild peril
Series – 5th book in The Mysterious Benedict Society
It has been several years since we last met with the society. They have now grown up and matured. Yet, there is a new crisis arising. The Ten Men have escaped and are looking for revenge, and they have teamed up with another telepathic individual. Will the society be able to come together once more?
My Thoughts –
I was so excited when I first heard this was coming out!! I read this series back when I was in middle-school. So this was a sweet treat to be able to visit with some old friends. The older kids are roughly 16 years old, maybe 17. While, Constance is now 8.
This book had a different feel to it then the previous four. (I’m included The Extortionary Education of Nicholas Benedict in the count.) The writing style has changed. The riddles are still there, but the focus has shifted more to how they have all changed.
A key component to this book is growing up and how that affects friendships. I think this one will resonate with kids and adults alike. There are some great moments in there between Reynie and Mr. Benedict which really got to me. I loved that we get an idea of where the kids will go in the future.
I will mention a couple downsides that I feel detract from this book. First, less action and less mystery. I do with there would have been a bit more mystery for the kids to solve. It spent much more time focusing on interpersonal communication.
Secondly, the adults where for the most part are out of the picture. I remember when I first read this series, how positive the adults were portrayed. So, many books these days have awful parenting. This was always a series I could count on showing positive parent-child relationships. Not to say that the parents were portrayed negatively, but their influence was minimal at best. I guess this is due to the kids needed to grow up and take on more responsibility.
Language – None
Innuendo – A character who can read thoughts heard that a some characters had crushes on each other. There is no mention of who crushes were on.
Violence – This series for the most part tries to handle things without relying on violence. Several characters talk about how they do not want to hurt anyone. A bad character throws pencils at other characters, and talks about hurting them. Also a character shoots tranquilizer darts, but overall no one is hurt.
I loved being able to return to this fantastic series. The whit and charm were still there, but the characters themselves have changed. While, there is less action, we get a deeper look at friendship and the lengths one would take to keep it going. This would be a great read-aloud!
What are your thoughts? Have you read this series? Which book is your favorite?
2 thoughts on “Review for The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Riddle of Ages”
I felt very similarly about this book! I loved getting to revisit these lovable characters and I think the author did an excellent job of showing how they have changed, while still letting us know that they are the same people. I resonated with the challenges of growing up and how that effects your relationships. I thought that was well done. But I was disappointed by the lack of engaging plot. The story felt halfhearted and the stakes didn’t feel high enough to truly challenge the characters- especially when you consider the plot twist at the end. Overall I loved getting to see these characters again, but the plot was weaker than I was wanting.
Yes, I totally agree! With the previous books, the society stayed mostly the same age throughout the trilogy. So, it was cool to see things like Kate driving the possibility of Renyie going to college. Too bad there wasn’t more of challenge. Did you read his stand alone book the Secret Keepers? That one is good too!