Saturday, September 1, 2012

Rereading The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma by Trenton Lee Stewart

In a city called Stonetown, on the third floor of an old, gray-stoned house, a boy named Reynie Muldoon was considering his options. He was locked inside an uncomfortably warm room, and the only way out was to make an unpleasant decision. Worse, locked in the room with him- and none too happy about it- was a particularly outspoken four-year-old named Constance Contraire, who from the outset of their confinement had been reciting ill-tempered poems to express her displeasure. Reynie, though three times Constance's age and probably fifty times as patient, was beginning to feel ill-tempered himself. He had the hot room and the cranky girl to endure. Constance couldn't possibly want out more than he did. The problem was what it would cost.

This is the third (and final) book in the series. After the Mysterious Benedict Society escaped from the island, life has been pretty dull and boring. Everyone's confined to Mr. Benedict's house for safety. But then Mr. Curtain takes out the whole power system of Stonetown, it's up to the four children to save everyone. But the Ten Men are closing in on them, and Mr. Curtain has his own nefarious plans. Once again, this book has plenty of riddles and puzzles, and I wanted to share a particularly good one with you, one that Mr. Benedict gives to the children for them to figure out why Mr. Curtain keeps S.Q. around:

"The answer to this riddle has a hole in the middle,
And some have been known to fall in it.
In tennis it's nothing, but it can be received,
And sometimes a person may win it.
Though not seen or heard it may yet be perceived,
Like princes or bees it's in clover.
The answer to this riddle has a hole in the middle,
And without it one cannot start over." (pg. 78.)

Let me know if you figure it out! Anyway, this one is just as good as the others (I'm refraining from mentioning the title because it's so long.) It's quite suspenseful too, and is a good wrap-up to the series. If you're wondering about Constance's past, this one clears some of that up; at one point Mr. Benedict uses the Whisperer on her.

I think my two favorite characters of the series are Kate and Reynie. Reynie is really smart, not necessarily because he's good at memorizing facts (like Sticky), but because he has a logical brain that's good at working out problems. And Kate- Kate is so amazing! She's smart, but also active and just overall, awesome. That's the only way to put it. I guess it makes sense, since Milligan, her father, is a secret agent himself.

So, this was a very good conclusion, and as I said, wrapped things up nicely.

Read The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma:
  • if you want to read the final book in the series
  • if you like mystery/adventure/fantasy (though you have to read the first two books first)
391 pages.
Outstanding Book That Will Stay On My Bookshelf For Rereading (jf I own it)!

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