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The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Riddle of Ages

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The brilliant and beloved gang from the New York Times bestselling series is back! The Mysterious Benedict Society is a modern classic, drawing comparisons to J.K. Rowling and Roald Dahl, named a Time magazine "Best Young Adult Book of All Time," and selling over three million copies. Some time has passed since the inimitable quartet of Reynie, Sticky, Kate, and Constance have had a mission The brilliant and beloved gang from the New York Times bestselling series is back! The Mysterious Benedict Society is a modern classic, drawing comparisons to J.K. Rowling and Roald Dahl, named a Time magazine "Best Young Adult Book of All Time," and selling over three million copies. Some time has passed since the inimitable quartet of Reynie, Sticky, Kate, and Constance have had a mission together. But with the arrival of a new Society member -- and a new threat -- they must reunite to face dilemmas more dangerous than ever before, including the villainous Mr. Curtain and a telepathic enemy tracking their every move, not to mention a dramatically preteen Constance. In its triumphant return, the Society encounters all new challenges, but the series' trademark sly humor, sweet camaraderie, hairsbreadth escapes, and mind-bending puzzles are all as engaging as ever. Fans of the series will be thrilled to see the Society has grown up a little with them, while a new generation of readers will fall in love with these irresistible adventures.


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The brilliant and beloved gang from the New York Times bestselling series is back! The Mysterious Benedict Society is a modern classic, drawing comparisons to J.K. Rowling and Roald Dahl, named a Time magazine "Best Young Adult Book of All Time," and selling over three million copies. Some time has passed since the inimitable quartet of Reynie, Sticky, Kate, and Constance have had a mission The brilliant and beloved gang from the New York Times bestselling series is back! The Mysterious Benedict Society is a modern classic, drawing comparisons to J.K. Rowling and Roald Dahl, named a Time magazine "Best Young Adult Book of All Time," and selling over three million copies. Some time has passed since the inimitable quartet of Reynie, Sticky, Kate, and Constance have had a mission together. But with the arrival of a new Society member -- and a new threat -- they must reunite to face dilemmas more dangerous than ever before, including the villainous Mr. Curtain and a telepathic enemy tracking their every move, not to mention a dramatically preteen Constance. In its triumphant return, the Society encounters all new challenges, but the series' trademark sly humor, sweet camaraderie, hairsbreadth escapes, and mind-bending puzzles are all as engaging as ever. Fans of the series will be thrilled to see the Society has grown up a little with them, while a new generation of readers will fall in love with these irresistible adventures.

30 review for The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Riddle of Ages

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey (Books for Christian Girls)

    Did I just finish the book—the book I’ve waited seven years for—in less than five hours? Oops. Let’s first talk about my overall excitement, eagerness, and also nervousness about this fourth book. I first read this series when I was about ten and loved it. Book #1 will always have a special place in my heart that is shown through my fangirling and owning approximately half a dozen copies of the first book. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the second and third book—I definitely did—but Did I just finish the book—the book I’ve waited seven years for—in less than five hours? Oops. Let’s first talk about my overall excitement, eagerness, and also nervousness about this fourth book. I first read this series when I was about ten and loved it. Book #1 will always have a special place in my heart that is shown through my fangirling and owning approximately half a dozen copies of the first book. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the second and third book—I definitely did—but it’s the first book and Mr. Benedict’s story that I cannot read fast enough. In preparation of this fourth book, I decided to reread this classic series and I’d like to say that even at ten years later, I truly do love this series. Because of my great fondness, I was definitely nervous about this fourth book: What if it didn’t feel right? What if I was disappointed? Would it be weird to see the characters a bit older? I think these fears were valid and I did read this newest addition on pins and needles. However, I’m quite glad to say that I did really enjoy this novel. It was just as clean as the previous books and had all the same suspense and action fellow fans of the series will notice. There are a few new faces in “The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Riddle of Ages” and while I do personally think the ending was a little rushed, I really enjoyed it and it was oh-so-special to see the much loved characters. It was fascinating to see Renyie, Kate, and Sticky all around my current age now and dealing with their emotions towards their friends and what is next in their lives. The best way I can think to end this happy review is to say how absolutely lovely it was to see The Mysterious Benedict Society again and though it wasn’t my favorite in the series, it was just so good to see them all again. Original review: I literally cannot contain my excitement for this book! Elementary school Lindsey is thriving! :D

  2. 5 out of 5

    Els

    It was interesting? Admittedly, I wasn't in the perfect MBS mood, but it was charming as always (and it's grand to be back!) I laughed so many times, and this one managed to hit on growing up - the same terrors I'm going through - in all the right places. This, and everything Trenton Lee Stewart, will always be a favorite, but somehow this one didn't quite make it to the top. Maybe it's the fact that Kate doesn't carry her bucket anymore, or that I found the riddles boring (I'm not saying they'r It was interesting? Admittedly, I wasn't in the perfect MBS mood, but it was charming as always (and it's grand to be back!) I laughed so many times, and this one managed to hit on growing up - the same terrors I'm going through - in all the right places. This, and everything Trenton Lee Stewart, will always be a favorite, but somehow this one didn't quite make it to the top. Maybe it's the fact that Kate doesn't carry her bucket anymore, or that I found the riddles boring (I'm not saying they're easy, (in fact I only solved one) but they're dull.) ANYWAY. I'll binge the whole series sometime when I'm in a true MBS mood, and I'll probably love it twice as much. Unfortunately, my MBS, along with my The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict, which I desperately want to reread now) are packed deep in moving boxes. Phooey on moving & also my own methods of getting through my TBR.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Aria

    AHHH FINALLY AT LONG LAST! It definitely lived up to my expectations, although, I think the other ones were a bit better. :)

  4. 4 out of 5

    raffaela

    This is perhaps my most anticipated book of the year (although, that's partly due to the fact that most of the authors I read are, well, not churning out any more works anymore). The Mysterious Benedict Society is one of my favorite children's series ever, and right after I had finished re-reading it I found out about this book. Ever since I've been eagerly awaiting it, but I was also slightly nervous that it wouldn't be as good or even that it would ruin the series for me, based on experiences with... This is perhaps my most anticipated book of the year (although, that's partly due to the fact that most of the authors I read are, well, not churning out any more works anymore). The Mysterious Benedict Society is one of my favorite children's series ever, and right after I had finished re-reading it I found out about this book. Ever since I've been eagerly awaiting it, but I was also slightly nervous that it wouldn't be as good or even that it would ruin the series for me, based on experiences with... well, with other series. My fears were unfounded. This book is just as good as the second and third books (not quite as good as the first, but only because it would be nigh impossible to beat that), and it is a beautiful continuation of the series while still being its own unique book. The characters are older, yet still themselves - and the themes of growing up and accepting the change that comes with that while still holding on to the memories and the friends of the past really resonated with me. It's classic Stewart, in other words. I'm sure that I will love it even more reading it for the second time. I'm so grateful for this series, and I'm glad Stewart came back for more. ----------------------------------------- Original Review (pre-release): Release Date: SEPTEMBER 24, 2019. Amazon synopsis: "Since The Mysterious Benedict Society debuted twelve years ago, the series has become a modern classic, drawing comparisons to J.K. Rowling and Roald Dahl and selling over three million copies. Some time has passed since the inimitable quartet of Reynie, Sticky, Kate, and Constance have had a mission together. But with the arrival of a new Society member -- and a new threat -- they must reunite to face dilemmas more dangerous than ever before, including the villainous Mr. Curtain and a telepathic enemy tracking their every move, not to mention a dramatically preteen Constance. In its triumphant return, the Society encounters all new challenges, but the series' trademark sly humor, sweet camaraderie, hairsbreadth escapes, and mind-bending puzzles are all as engaging as ever. Fans of the series will be thrilled to see the Society has grown up a little with them, while a new generation of readers will fall in love with these irresistible adventures." *screams*

  5. 4 out of 5

    Joey T

    WHAAAAAAT?!?! This book- just AGH It’s a bit bitersweet knowing that the series is now over (or as far as I know) which makes me sad. It’s always hard seeing characters you’ve grown attached to grow up and mature. This was my favorite book in the series and probably my favorite book of 2019 which is quite an accomplishment- I’m impressed. Amazing y’all need to read this series if ya haven’t

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    Wow. That had to be one of the most unique books in this series. The originality of this series was one of the things that initially drew me in, but the characters kept my interest. I love them all, but Kate stole my heart. She is daring and adventurous, but one of the kindest and caring ones as well. She's not abrasive, she skydives, ground-dives, is extremely fast, can pick locks, and is fun to be around. Life is never boring with her. Another aspect of this book that made it irresistible is t Wow. That had to be one of the most unique books in this series. The originality of this series was one of the things that initially drew me in, but the characters kept my interest. I love them all, but Kate stole my heart. She is daring and adventurous, but one of the kindest and caring ones as well. She's not abrasive, she skydives, ground-dives, is extremely fast, can pick locks, and is fun to be around. Life is never boring with her. Another aspect of this book that made it irresistible is the team itself. Rennie, Kate, Sticky, and Constance look out for each other and truly care about each other's well being. Their conflicts weren't immature squabbles, but reflected deep issues they had. I mean, let's face it; they've got evil masterminds against them, who needs drama? It only scares the poor reader (ahem, me) to see their miscommunications. And if love triangles will factor into this series anywhere, I might just have a coronary because I love this band of characters and I'm not not letting anything break them apart. Unfortunately (but fortunately) I'm not in charge. That's inevitable when a cast of characters grow up. They go their own ways, and I can start to see that happening already.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Megan {A Barefoot Gal}

    HOORAY. I'm still a tad confused, and confused if I am confused or not... but that probably has something to do with the fact that I read it in about five hours. AHH I LOVE THIS SERIES. I was actually really happy that I got to see the characters grown up! It was interesting how you didn't know what some of what the characters already knew (at least I didn't, again that could be because I missed something?) because I hadn't seen that as much in the other books, but it turned out great! I LOVED IT HOORAY. I'm still a tad confused, and confused if I am confused or not... but that probably has something to do with the fact that I read it in about five hours. AHH I LOVE THIS SERIES. I was actually really happy that I got to see the characters grown up! It was interesting how you didn't know what some of what the characters already knew (at least I didn't, again that could be because I missed something?) because I hadn't seen that as much in the other books, but it turned out great! I LOVED IT. I wasn't a huge fan of the new member, but it didn't bother me a ton.

  8. 5 out of 5

    anya

    The ghost of my former elementary school self and my current self are both screaming in perfect synchronicity right now I NEED THIS BOOK

  9. 4 out of 5

    Haven

    I. AM. SO. PUMPED. FOR. THIS. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Middle school Haven is extremely happy right now... I WAS NOT EXPECTING THIS this made my day!!!!!! ACK!!!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Aiden Heavilin

    **Spoilers ahead** Wow, this hurts. The first "Mysterious Benedict Society" novel is so good its almost unfair to other books. There are many things you can enjoy as a child that then fade as you grow older, that first novel is not one of them. It remains a beautifully plotted and paced story; I love the atmospheric dystopia, citizens of an anonymous city trapped in a vaguely defined political "Emergency", a mysterious academy on Nomansan Island, an exiled genius recruiting **Spoilers ahead** Wow, this hurts. The first "Mysterious Benedict Society" novel is so good its almost unfair to other books. There are many things you can enjoy as a child that then fade as you grow older, that first novel is not one of them. It remains a beautifully plotted and paced story; I love the atmospheric dystopia, citizens of an anonymous city trapped in a vaguely defined political "Emergency", a mysterious academy on Nomansan Island, an exiled genius recruiting a team of children to infiltrate the heart of darkness that is "The Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened." I love the nightmare nursery-rhyme classes and the horrific secrets of the academy, "The Waiting Room" of sludge and insects, the Drapeweed Traps if you stray too far off the path. There is a demented fairy-tale madness to the first novel; Jackson and Jillson, rhymes and riddles... and this old-time atmosphere is married to a steampunk aesthetic and a truly heartwarming story of adventure and friendship. "The Mysterious Benedict Society" is like a perfect brew of Roald Dahl and Franz Kafka, a gripping, engaging, moving story which evokes, chapter to chapter, nearly every emotion one could ask from a book. It is an adventure in its purest form, and I treasure its sheer creativity. Creativity is something that would diminish, slightly, during the following two installments, although they had their moments. I loved the European Treasure Hunt of "Perilous Journey", the terrifying fight in the abandoned town, the mysterious "Duskwort Papers"... It didn't have the magic of the first novel, but it was an admirable sequel. "Prisoner's Dillema" again represented a slight drop-off in quality, but it was still leagues ahead of its competition. And then the prequel "The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict" somehow even surpassed the first novel in the series. "Extraordinary Education" is, in my mind, a perfect novel, the final third of which is almost emotionally overwhelming. It's more than just a children's book, it's a masterpiece. All of this, not to mention the fact that Trenton Lee Stewart's first novel "Flood Summer", (an adult novel with nothing to do with the Mysterious Benedict Society) is.... uh.... my favorite book of all time, might have raised my expectations too high for "The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Riddle of Ages." But... man, I did not expect it to be this bad. Going into the novel, I was looking forwards to the riddles and escapades and adventures, the twisty plot and the comraderie between the team. I was looking forwards to every chapter introducing some new and clever twist or idea. But it seems Stewart's creativity and passion for the series has run out, which I can hardly blame him for. Two exemplary novels and two very good ones is a good enough track record to cement the Benedict books as one of the best children's series of all time... but still. Wow. Almost nothing happens in "Riddle of Ages". And a slow pace has always been a feature of Stewart's novels, the lengthy testing scenes at the beginning of the first novel, the opening scenes in the house of "Prisoner's Dillema." Yet in those previous novels, there is always a strong undercurrent of suspense and anxiety pressing the plot forwards even through pages of quiet conversations. During the first 200 pages of "Riddle of Ages", almost nothing happens. Only one character even *leaves the house* for the first half of the novel. Pacing is one of the main problems. The previous novels spaced the story out over weeks, even months of action, allowing for a real sense of scale and time. The events of "Riddle of Ages" occur within exactly two days, which comes out to about *200 pages a day*. This leads to the story seeming both rushed and dragged out. Almost nothing happens, but it takes forever when it does happen. The actual story itself is immensely disappointing. A group of Ten Men are attempting to break Mr. Curtain out of prison. Okay, that would be a good first few chapters maybe to set off a new story, but that's the *whole plot*. The entire book occurs in two locations, Mr. Benedict's house and the prison on Nomansan Island. For the first 200 or so pages, the society sits around talking, explaining, and summarizing days and days of backstory that could have been *shown* rather than told. It annoys me to no end when the exposition that characters explain during team meeting scenes would have made a better story than the *actual plot of the book*. After this interminable opening half, the society go to the prison on Nomansan Island to stop the Ten Men and save Mr. Benedict. Nearly every scene during this half of the book consists of technobabble and standing around in dark hallways. Gone are the inventive locales of "Prisoner's Dillema", the secret passages of the original novel, the gothic mansion of secrets in "Extraordinary Education." This entire book except for one or two scenes takes place indoors in hallways. This book feels like a low budget movie that couldn't afford to shoot on interesting sets. I remember a hilariously awful description of two Ten Men avoiding Milligan's tranquilizer darts by moving left and right as if in a "lethal dance". This is described as something going on in the background as Kate attends to a different task. Also, this is probably the best scene in the book, which might tell you something about the quality of the surrounding scenes. This book possesses no magic, very little creativity, and an extreme reliance on nostalgia to evoke emotion. The only true emotions I felt during this book came with a few cameos of characters from "Extraordinary Education." In other words, the best parts of this book were when it was reminding me of other, better books. I'm honestly shocked by just how poorly written, uneventful and *boring* this book is. Trenton Lee Stewart has honestly never let me down before. Even his novel "The Secret Keepers", although deeply flawed, was a fun and unique story. Stewart is truly one of my favorite writers. Like I mentioned earlier, his novel "Flood Summer" is my *favorite book ever written by anyone ever* Maybe this book was a contractual obligation, or maybe it was just written to pay the bills. I don't know. "Riddle of Ages" does not make me think less of the previous novels, nor does it make me think less of Stewart as a writer; not even a little bit. This is a misstep, to be sure, but, man, the first Mysterious Benedict Society book really is just *that good*. So is "Riddle of Ages" an example of wasted potential. Honestly, I don't think so. "Prisoner's Dillema" was imperfect, but the ending was honestly excellent, leaving just a perfect amount of ambiguity and wrapping up the most important threads. There was no point to continue the story, the story was over. And it's weird to me that all this novel does is undo the"Prisoner's Dillema" ending and then quickly return it to the same state of equilibrium again. Maybe here's a better way of stating that. In "Riddle of Ages", all four of the society's members are looking at different, personal paths. Reynie has been accepted to dozens of top universities, Sticky has been offered the opportunity to head up one of the top science labs in the country, Kate is becoming a secret agent for her father's agency, etc. Each are afraid to pursue these routes though, because they know it would mean the end of the Society. The arc this seems to be setting up is an acceptance that people change with time and that you can't keep holding on to the fun things of the past. I was looking forwards to a scene of Reynie heading to Harvard, Sticky entering the laboratory on his first day, etc. This would have been an emotionally powerful way to end the story. But at the end of "Riddle of Ages", the society ends up agreeing to *delay or even cancel entirely* these personal paths, and to stay together at "home", which seems like not only a tepid, pathetic conclusion to what could have been an emotionally powerful, meaningful story arc, but also a metaphor for the novel at large. This book is a refusal to move forwards and move beyond, a story that relies entirely on nostalgia and faded laurels to court reader goodwill. In short, it's a story that like the characters at the end, refuses to grow up.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Iris

    WHY DID I NOT KNOW THIS WAS A THING HELLO THESE BOOKS WERE MY CHILDHOOD OMFG I'M SCARED

  12. 4 out of 5

    Constance

    I'M GONNA CRY THERE'S A FOURTH BOOK???!!!! The Mysterious Benedict Society has always been one of my favorites, I literally cannot wait

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ben Howard

    HOW DID I NOT KNOW THERE WAS GOING TO BE A FOURTH ONE?!?! need to re-read the series and then pick this up asap

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sadie Joy

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I didn't go into this book with any expectations, so I wasn't disappointed. I was excited to see Reynie, Kate, Sticky, and Constance again(I promise, Constance, I didn't put you last on purpose), and the addition of Tai was interesting and cute, if a little annoying at times. People tapped their noses far too often, but that isn't really a complaint- it made me laugh. The only thing that intimidated me about this book before I read it was the time that had passed. But after I read it, I felt lik I didn't go into this book with any expectations, so I wasn't disappointed. I was excited to see Reynie, Kate, Sticky, and Constance again(I promise, Constance, I didn't put you last on purpose), and the addition of Tai was interesting and cute, if a little annoying at times. People tapped their noses far too often, but that isn't really a complaint- it made me laugh. The only thing that intimidated me about this book before I read it was the time that had passed. But after I read it, I felt like the "older" Society was well developed, even if it was a bit jarring to think of Constance as anything but 2 years old. But it didn’t ruin my previous image of the Society, which made me happy. So, I have a few quick things that I really loved in this book. Kate Weatherall Kate is a one of a kind heroine; the author should have kudos for writing her. I love that she can be confident and amazing and strong, but can still maintain a femininity that's all her own. She's a heroine I can actually look up to. She doesn't want to be masculine, even if she does "masculine like things" and she doesn't want to be anybody but herself. Mr. Benedict! There’s not very much I can say here, but I wish he was real, because he is about the nicest person I’ve ever met in a book series. I really want to get a green plaid suit. Constance I love that Constance was ALMOST considerate in this book(not really) you can tell she's grown up a bit, but you can also tell that she’s still over the top grumpy, which I like. I can't imagine a non-grumpy Constance. But the near-the-end scene(without spoiling it) made me really happy, because it shed a new light on Constance that we rarely see in the previous books. So, to close. Yes. There were things in this book that I didn’t really like, but I didn’t read this book because I wanted to tear it apart. I read it to enjoy it. And because I did enjoy it, I don’t feel like the things that “I didn’t really like” are important enough to write down. I’m just so happy we got a book four! It was so good to see these characters again. I am hoping for a book five, but if that isn’t meant to be, I’ll just re-read them until I memorize them. :P

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kailey (BooksforMKs)

    The whole gang is back for another adventure! Reynie, Sticky, Kate, and Constance are a little older now, contemplating their next move into adulthood, and worried that the Society will lose their special connection as they grow up. They band together one last time to stop the evil Mr. Curtain from escaping from his high-security prison. I love everything about this book! The character development is excellent, and the friendships within the Society are just perfection. The plot kept The whole gang is back for another adventure! Reynie, Sticky, Kate, and Constance are a little older now, contemplating their next move into adulthood, and worried that the Society will lose their special connection as they grow up. They band together one last time to stop the evil Mr. Curtain from escaping from his high-security prison. I love everything about this book! The character development is excellent, and the friendships within the Society are just perfection. The plot kept me guessing right up to the end, and I was surprised at every turn. I love the witty writing style, and all the puzzles and codes and conundrums that are solved as the team work together to save the day!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Belyea

    Years after the defeat of Mr. Curtain and the Ten Men, the Mysterious Benedict Society finds their old enemies rising once again to attempt a breakout, and with their new young friend Tai along for the ride, the group will need all their wits about them if they hope to succeed! Stewart brings fans another enjoyably charming and exciting adventure that holds its place with the original trilogy, full of witty banter and entertaining puzzles galore. With the group drifting apart into futures of the Years after the defeat of Mr. Curtain and the Ten Men, the Mysterious Benedict Society finds their old enemies rising once again to attempt a breakout, and with their new young friend Tai along for the ride, the group will need all their wits about them if they hope to succeed! Stewart brings fans another enjoyably charming and exciting adventure that holds its place with the original trilogy, full of witty banter and entertaining puzzles galore. With the group drifting apart into futures of their own, will they be able to hold together long enough to stop the Ten Men, or will their worries trip them up one too many times?

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tirzah

    This was like reuniting with old friends and it was great! It's been four years since I read the previous ones, so I had to relearn some minor details and characters AND also get into logic mode. The Society has grown up and while they are facing growing up issues, they are still the same endearing, quirky geniuses from ago. Tai is a fun, youthful addition...do I sense a second series with Tai as the main character? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, I am glad Trenton Lee Stewart delighted readers wi This was like reuniting with old friends and it was great! It's been four years since I read the previous ones, so I had to relearn some minor details and characters AND also get into logic mode. The Society has grown up and while they are facing growing up issues, they are still the same endearing, quirky geniuses from ago. Tai is a fun, youthful addition...do I sense a second series with Tai as the main character? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, I am glad Trenton Lee Stewart delighted readers with another Benedict Society story!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    This is such a great series, and this book did not disappoint. There was one reveal that seemed a little too pat and easy to me, but otherwise, the puzzles and mysteries were engaging. I loved seeing these characters age and figure out how to hold on to the Society through that, and Tai Li was an excellent new addition.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    Library copy. Consistently popular series that I once had copies of in my own home. Just not my favorite, although I did enjoy the prequel.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Hailey Hudson

    I don’t love these as much as I did when I was younger by any means, but still pretty good. — “Are we under imminent attack, or is there time for a sandwich?”

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dia

    Fun addition to the series

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Callahan

    I love these characters and I’m so happy he decided to pick back up the series. This book had great tie-ins to the prequel, as well as the other books.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jane Potter

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I LOVE THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY!!!! So so so happy to have discovered this fantastic series and feeling rather bittersweet about finishing my reading about the adventures of Reynie, Sticky, Kate, and Constance. There is a lot of good closure in this book. But I also just want to hear more about the society! I feel like it's hard to write a sequel that is so distant from the previous books in timeline. Like the Penderwicks book 5 was just a bit not as good as the firs I LOVE THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY!!!! So so so happy to have discovered this fantastic series and feeling rather bittersweet about finishing my reading about the adventures of Reynie, Sticky, Kate, and Constance. There is a lot of good closure in this book. But I also just want to hear more about the society! I feel like it's hard to write a sequel that is so distant from the previous books in timeline. Like the Penderwicks book 5 was just a bit not as good as the first 4 because characters got too old and distant from the plot. Not so here. The characters are as feisty, intelligent, and endearing as ever. And in many ways, they mostly feel like they are still the little kids we met and rooted for in the original book. I was glad to see that while they are all working through big decisions about life and their futures, they also come to realize how important friendship and family are. I did not think Stewart could surprise me again. I didn't think he could possibly have more crazy twists up his sleeve. But he does! The plot is full of surprising twists and turns that had me turning pages as fast as I could and staying up late to finish the whole thing. The ending is crazy good!!! I love a great twist like that. No more here--go read for yourself. Love the characters. Reynie finally showed some flaws which I appreciate. He feels more real this way. Sticky is great. Love that he is trying to use his given name but it doesn't work. Kate is even more impressive than in the original book with her skydiving, running world record times and her own dart gun. And of course, Constance is fantastic. I am impressed how Stewart uses the telepathy to build his story but it doesn't take over. There are rules about what Constance can do and how much she is capable of. And I loved the addition of Tai Li. I think he makes this book fit with the rest of the series because he is so much younger and sees things from a child's perspective. He is so darling. And of course I love love love Mr Benedict who proves his genius once again :) A great finale to a great series! Sad to finish it for good, but I will definitely be back for more rereads especially with my kids in a few years. Thanks MBS!

  24. 4 out of 5

    A.M.G.

    Rating: 4.8 / 5 The gang is back, many years later both in our world and in their fictional world, and, if I may say so, everything feels like it's done just right! About 9-10 years later I'd guess, and all our MBS members have grown up--well, compared to how they were before, anyway. They're all still together under the caring guidance of Mr. Benedict, but Reynie's now an average-looking young man with an above-average mind, and being offered scholarships into prestigious universities; George Rating: 4.8 / 5 The gang is back, many years later both in our world and in their fictional world, and, if I may say so, everything feels like it's done just right! About 9-10 years later I'd guess, and all our MBS members have grown up--well, compared to how they were before, anyway. They're all still together under the caring guidance of Mr. Benedict, but Reynie's now an average-looking young man with an above-average mind, and being offered scholarships into prestigious universities; George "Sticky" Washington is a pro chemist who's offered his own chance at running a top-secret lab; Kate "The Great Kate Weather Machine" Wetherall is getting into the secret agent gig with Milligan; and Constance Contraire is an extremely powerful young telepath. Enter into the picture a five year old Tai Li, and you've got the beginning of the "Riddle of Ages" with our young heroes. As always happens with nostalgic reads that are done right, I felt everything that I felt when first reading this series as a kid: namely, excitement and the feeling that I was smart for understanding what was going on. Big words, complicated codes, and a lot of tricks and twists around every corner--all the good stuff that Trenton Lee Stewart has given us from the series. In a way though, I felt that the "risk" element was diminished a bit since the characters are now adults rather than "defenseless" children, and that's about the only reason that I took .2 points off out of an otherwise perfect 5-star rating. There's just a lot of time set aside for filling in the gaps of those 10 or so years from the time skip, putting the characters' emotions and developments into perspective. Not that this wasn't fun and all, but I did feel that for characters that are so smart and perceptive most the time, it wasn't 100% likely for them to be as confused as they were. In any case though, I did appreciate this as an aspect overall, since it did make sense in the context of the story. Not my favourite in the series, as many people keep saying, but definitely an instant favourite as well, and right up there only shelves along with the rest of the series, where it belongs.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    It was a lot of fun to be reunited with the characters from the original trilogy, now a bit older and trying to decide if they should use their genius to go off to college or start careers in their teen years (with Constance feeling left out, as usual). The book had too many plot twists for my taste and was overly convoluted (or maybe I'm just slow), but it almost didn't matter because the heart of this book was not puzzles and problem-solving. It was, at its core, a meditation on growing older, wri It was a lot of fun to be reunited with the characters from the original trilogy, now a bit older and trying to decide if they should use their genius to go off to college or start careers in their teen years (with Constance feeling left out, as usual). The book had too many plot twists for my taste and was overly convoluted (or maybe I'm just slow), but it almost didn't matter because the heart of this book was not puzzles and problem-solving. It was, at its core, a meditation on growing older, written for children. The friends are trying to navigate the tension between opportunities for independence and the comfort they have in being together. They've lived in close quarters for so long and know each other so well that they can wound one another with a single thoughtless word, and they don't know how to close the gaps that are appearing between them as they each pursue their own unique interests. At times it was perhaps a bit too blatant — the title itself refers to their reflections on how things have changed as they age — but nonetheless it was sweet to see the characters navigating their feelings about each other and their own lives. I wouldn't say it's exactly a continuation of the original trilogy because the tone is slightly different, but it is a nice send-off into adulthood for these beloved characters. Oh! And there's a delightful new character who's right around my son's age, and it's always nice when authors actually write children that act their age :)

  26. 4 out of 5

    J

    This book opens several peaceful years after the original trilogy. The escape of the Ten Men pulls the Society back into action from their various new lives. Familiar and believable, yet unpredictable and interesting as always. Fans of the series will love this new book. Great for young adults to read - there was a section around pg. 100 that talked about the distinction between thoughts, words and actions. Great influence for kids! Disciplined children model good behavior dealing wit This book opens several peaceful years after the original trilogy. The escape of the Ten Men pulls the Society back into action from their various new lives. Familiar and believable, yet unpredictable and interesting as always. Fans of the series will love this new book. Great for young adults to read - there was a section around pg. 100 that talked about the distinction between thoughts, words and actions. Great influence for kids! Disciplined children model good behavior dealing with middle school aged understandings and hurt feelings with excellent character. I did find the section where Rhonda and Number 2 appear (pg. 235) odd. It read like they were a pregnant lesbian couple to my adult mind. We know Rhonda is married and that her spouse is a "charming physicist" (pg. 29) but that is all. Rhonda and Number 2 arrived separately, but it still led me to wonder if the book was secretly suggesting she was married to Number 2. At the end of the book, however, her "husband" is briefly mentioned (pg. 373). It could just be innocent awkward writing (the only such writing in the book). But it was so blatant, it wouldn't shock me to find out that it was purposely confusing and intended to mislead. I recommend starting with the first book to really appreciate this series.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Maria Copeland

    This much-anticipated book takes on a challenging dynamic: What if the Mysterious Benedict Society grew up? For a middle-grade book to blend late-teen characters with a rather juvenile plotline is ambitious, but Trenton Lee Stewart firmly grounds the moments of emotion and philosophy with the humor and pragmatism of an added character (Tai was easily one of my favorites things about this story) and maintains believable suspense while creating a scenario that fits both with the direction of past This much-anticipated book takes on a challenging dynamic: What if the Mysterious Benedict Society grew up? For a middle-grade book to blend late-teen characters with a rather juvenile plotline is ambitious, but Trenton Lee Stewart firmly grounds the moments of emotion and philosophy with the humor and pragmatism of an added character (Tai was easily one of my favorites things about this story) and maintains believable suspense while creating a scenario that fits both with the direction of past books and the growth of the characters at this point in their lives (delving into the telepathy aspect seemed like a solid choice to me). It wasn't the same as reading any of the previous ones, because the narrators' heads have changed, and the ending seemed a bit hasty to fully unravel a fairly complex plot. If not entirely satisfying, it was entertaining, and for a college student with far too many research papers to write, that's good enough.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Frederic

    For about the first third or so of this one, I wasn't sure I was buying in. There's not a lot of back-references to help bring characters and events back to mind, if one hasn't recently read or re-read the previous books, and of course they aren't really the same characters anymore -- they're years older, and the relationships have shifted as a consequence. Then there's the introduction of Tai Li, a new, younger character, who threatens to be a "Short Round" (of Indiana Jones and the Temple of D For about the first third or so of this one, I wasn't sure I was buying in. There's not a lot of back-references to help bring characters and events back to mind, if one hasn't recently read or re-read the previous books, and of course they aren't really the same characters anymore -- they're years older, and the relationships have shifted as a consequence. Then there's the introduction of Tai Li, a new, younger character, who threatens to be a "Short Round" (of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom fame) (and IMO never really rises above that, although there are some good points and reasons for him here). But as the story progresses and the main characters come back together in somewhat different relationships, the quality of the writing overall wins out. Not the best MBS book, but nevertheless a good read and a pleasure to return to those characters.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    When I saw that there was another MBS book, well, the excitement was real. I absolutely love the original trilogy and The Extraordinary Education was great too. So why four stars???? I would say that the subplot of this book is growing up and dealing with change. A good topic for sure. It’s hard to grow up and have friendships shift and drift apart. I know. However, the awkwardness and angst among the group was really sad. It left kind of a cloud over the book. An untold amount of yea When I saw that there was another MBS book, well, the excitement was real. I absolutely love the original trilogy and The Extraordinary Education was great too. So why four stars???? I would say that the subplot of this book is growing up and dealing with change. A good topic for sure. It’s hard to grow up and have friendships shift and drift apart. I know. However, the awkwardness and angst among the group was really sad. It left kind of a cloud over the book. An untold amount of years has passed since the last book and our Society has a little trouble working together again but they are just as brilliant and creative as always despite interpersonal problems. My favorite part? Tai!!! He is SO CUTE!! I loved him. Constance was amusing but never lovable. I’m glad I read it but I’m probably going to stick with the three OG books in the future.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Germaine

    An okay conclusion that sort of explores the fears of growing up (a theme I wish was resolved better). I will always love the first three books and The Extraordinary Education of Nicolas Benedict more, but this was a welcome return to the Society. Although the plot was a bit boring (it kinda undoes the events of the third book and then ties everything up again), there were a few especially exciting scenes (most involving Kate). I also enjoyed all the cameos other characters made, but mostly the An okay conclusion that sort of explores the fears of growing up (a theme I wish was resolved better). I will always love the first three books and The Extraordinary Education of Nicolas Benedict more, but this was a welcome return to the Society. Although the plot was a bit boring (it kinda undoes the events of the third book and then ties everything up again), there were a few especially exciting scenes (most involving Kate). I also enjoyed all the cameos other characters made, but mostly the ones from Extraordinary Education. Overall: not great, but interesting and satisfying enough. The new Society member is lovely but mildly annoying at times (like most small kids when you spend too long with them, probably). People tap their noses a little bit too many times.

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