Friday, December 26, 2008

The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey

It's been a year since the kids of the Mysterious Benedict Society foiled the evil Mr. Curtain's plans to take over the world with his Whisperer machine. Sticky, Reynie, Kate and Constance are gathering back together to go on a fun expedition, courtesy of Mr. Benedict. It's to be an international scavenger hunt of sorts, that will rely on all of the children's many talents to lead them to the clues. Nothing, however, seems to result in smooth sailing when these four are supposed to work with Mr. Benedict. This time, before the expedition can even start, there is a kidnapping. Mr. Benedict and Number Two are kidnapped by none other than Mr. Curtain.

The police are working on the case, but the children know that Mr. Curtain has followers high up in government, and they are sure that the case will be most likely be foiled. The children take it upon themselves to find Mr. Benedict and Number Two. What else are they to do?

What follows is quite the "Perilous Journey". The children start out on the original scavenger hunt thinking that Mr. Benedict is most likely being held at the final destination. But whereas there was supposed to be adult supervision on the hunt (Milligan and Rhonda were to come), on this dangerous mission the children are on their own. From ship to land to air and back to land again, they get into and out of scrape after scrape, but the action really intensifies as they get closer to their destination.

This is a title that really cannot be read without reading the original Mysterious Benedict Society. While the characterization goes deeper in this volume, readers really do need the history of the individuals as well as the knowledge of their time together at the school. Jumping into The Perilous Journey first, may end up confusing readers as well as make the storyline seem more of a shallow treatment than it actually is.

This is a dense book, as was the first, but I found this to be a bit more of a slow starter. Don't get me wrong, the action starts quite quickly, but readers simply know from the sheer length of the book that the scrapes will be gotten out of. I do think that fans of the first volume will eat this up, and if they slow down enough to listen to some of Mr. Benedict's monologues on the state of the world, they might find a degree of comfort in the seemingly dangerous world of Reynie, Sticky, Kate and Constance.

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