19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Book Report by a 7th grader
, February 22, 2009
The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey
by Trenton Lee Stewart
I give this book 5 asterisks out of 5!
This book has engaging characters, imaginative settings, and an exciting plot. As the story evolves,the characters grow and change. Also, the plot has many, often unexpected, twists and turns, but not so many that the reader feels lost. This book is a sequel to "The Mysterious Benedict Society". The reader will not be lost if he/she had not read the first book, as this book has a new conflict. The only thing the reader will lose is a small amount of character development. My favorite part of the book is the climax when the villain, Mr. Curtain, tricks the four unsuspecting protagonists into a trap-you will have to read the book for the details. The book is 440 pages so a lengthy read but definitely worth your time. I would recommend this book to good readers between the ages of 9-14 who want a book with adventure but without sacrificing a strong message or characterization. Fans of the Alex Rider series might also enjoy this book.
In The Perilous Journey, the setting is the least important of the three narrative elements because, as the title suggests, it is a journey story. The most important of the many settings is the uninhabited, rocky island on which the climax takes place. Since it is not named in the book I will simply refer to it as "the island". The island is described with great detail multiple times, "a very large oblong land mass in the middle of a watery nowhere." and "that isolated, wind-blasted place." are just two examples of this desolate place. The largest effect of the setting is the feeling of isolation that it lends to the later part of the book, which subsequently affects the character's actions. For example, when they needed to escape the island, they had to bring in a boat and had nowhere to run until it arrived. Also, they could not bring in any help from the police because of the island's remote location close to Great Britain, in the cold northern Atlantic
This book contains a lot of direct and indirect characterization and the characters are continuously changing. The four main characters are Constance, a whiny, sleepy, uber smart three year old girl, who towards the end of the story has premonitions. Reynie is the most normal of the kids, although he has a heightened sense of logic. Sticky is unsure and shy and has an incredible memory. Kate is an ex-circus performer and an amazing athlete and an optimist. All four of them must use their gifts to solve the puzzles laid out for them by Mr. Benedict to help find him when he was kidnapped. During the story the characters all change and evolve as different situations confront them. Kate becomes more concerned when she worries about her father. Sticky realizes what he is capable of and gets braver. Reynie questions his own judge of character and Constance becomes more mature. These character's development make them dynamic and add to the depth and message of the story. Therefore, the settings greatest impact is its effect on the mood, making it more isolated, and on the plot.
"The Perilous Journey" has multiple conflicts but the overarching one is that of Mr. Curtain, Mr. Benedict's evil twin brother, who is searching for Duskwort, a powerful sleeping agent that Mr. Benedict doesn't want him to get a hold of. This would be categorized as Man vs Man. Another main conflict is when Mr. Curtain kidnapped Mr. Benedict and the kids mentioned in the previous paragraph, desperately wanted him back. This again would be Man vs. Man. There were also some internal conflicts; Constance struggling to contain her premonitions and Reynie second guessing his judge of character. All of these conflicts combine to create an exciting story that will teach the reader many lessons.
I rated this book 5 asterisks out of 5 because this book combines an action-packed conflict, a strong message, and dynamic characters into an entertaining and engrossing story. As I said in the beginning, I would recommend this book to an adventure seeking 9-14 year-old who is a proficient reader. Once I picked this book up I couldn't put it down until I read all 440 pages of it. It is well worth your valuable time.