Join the Mysterious Benedict Society as Reynie, Kate, Sticky, and Constance embark on a daring new adventure that threatens to force them apart from their families, friends, and even each other. When an unexplained blackout engulfs Stonetown, the foursome must unravel clues relating to a nefarious new plot, while their search for answers brings them closer to danger than ever before.
Trenton Lee Stewart is the author of the award-winning, bestselling Mysterious Benedict Society series for young readers; The Secret Keepers, also for young readers; and the adult novel Flood Summer. He lives in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Letters to the author may be sent to:
Trenton Lee Stewart PO Box 251358 Little Rock, AR 72205
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I really loved the first book in this series, the second a bit less, and this third one by far the least. It's got the same characters I loved before, but now they are no longer regular, clever kids - Sticky sits down to memorize the entire library catalog in case they need it, Reynie starts to have some mysterious sixth sense where he can sense something is wrong, and Constance, this one killed me-she's venturing into Obi-Wan Kenobi territory by reading minds and pulling Jedi mind tricks. My favorite Kate is even a little far fetched this time, how she moves with super human speed and can throw a flashlight in the dark with deadly accuracy. Really? Even Milligan, the master of disguise who always comes out on the right end of a fight, is tiresome. Can't he bring more than a boomerang as a weapon? The whole thing got long and increasingly silly and I was disappointed with this last book in the series.
Once upon a time, I was ordering birthday gifts and this was on sale so I bought it for myself and lived happily ever after. The End.
This book got to travel around with me a bit more than books usually do which probably is a testament to how good it was. XD
I ate up every clever and heart-filled moment of this book. I especially enjoyed moments when the Society was working together and Constance’s backstory. (Seriously, wow. I never expected to get to know it, but when we did, it made soooo much sense.)
Mr. Benedict completely wrecked my heart in this one. He was so giving and selfless and brave. Reynie was great too, as always, and everyone. Constance was fun as a satire of a typical little kid--noticing patterns, getting her way, and subtly letting adults know what she needs.
Something I especially loved in this book (and the whole series, really) is the family relationships both by blood and adoption. Don’t get me started on the amazing loyalty between Kate and her dad, Milligan. Also, the Washingtons and Sticky are sweet, and even though I relate to him least of all, Sticky is growing on me and it’s neat to see his character develop. There was even a hint of this sort of relationship on the evil side which was surprising and interesting… So much love and trust and loyalty in this book. (I mean, I should have expected that from the title. XD )
It ended on a truly triumphant note, and I’m so glad to have read this series. <3
Just a note, the Ten Men can be very threatening, and there are injuries, kidnappings, and a lot of general peril on about the same level as the other books.
Best quote: Reynie felt an old, familiar ache. He instantly recognized it as loneliness--or in this case anticipated loneliness--and not for the first time he lamented his too-vivid imagination.
(And then there’s the beautiful sentence about Milligan on pg. 337, but it’s a spoiler, sweetie.)
Altogether, this was quite satisfying, and I understand now why this is well-beloved. ;)
It remains to be seen whether or not I’ll read the prequel and the new book. ;)
The third book in the Mysterious Benedict Society series, is pretty much perfect. We solve all sorts of mysteries like Constance's past and Number Two's real name while trying to stop Mr. Curtain at the same time.
I love how these books are so smartly written. He doesn't write down to children at all. There's so much conflict and a lot of it isn't even Big Bad conflict, it's bureaucracy and government red tape. They're, for lack of a better word, grown-up problems, the kind that make you really frustrated.
I love books where things seem so hopeless, so ridiculously tangled that you think, 'how the heck are they going to manage to get out of this in the next 100 pages?' and then, because it's a children's book, they do and not only do they get out of it, they get out of it in a way that is clever and makes sense for the characters involved.
If you haven't picked up the series, I'd definitely recommend it. As I said above, it's really clever children's literature.
A fun, fast read, even for adults. However, I cannot pretend that it is anywhere as good as The Mysterious Benedict Society, or even quite as good as book #2, The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey. The situations are increasingly strained as far as believability, as well as being simply less weighty than the original book's. Certain elements - Mr. Benedict's narcolepsy at inopportune moments, Milligan's ridiculous tendency towards injury, etc - are becoming rather rote at this point. Still, it's enjoyable - I get a kick out of the silly names like the silver-haired "Ms. Argent" and the grasping "Covett S. Gaines." We'll see if the author can improve the series in future books.
Absolutely loved the first book, liked the second book, and thought this book was good as well.
Let’s do the positives first:
I absolutely adore Milligan and his snide comments while he’s fighting. Also love that Sticky has grown into such a brave boy — he’s grown so much since the first book! All of them are so witty, brilliant, and brave, and I loved witnessing their growth. All of the characters are so dear to me — It actually made me tear up a little at the thought of how much Milligan sacrifices himself to protect others.
Now, for the not-so-great points: It’s getting a little ridiculous now that Constance (and Reynie) are basically able to read minds or plant thoughts in other peoples’ heads… but I still really enjoyed following along with their journey. This book actually took me a while to get through, and some parts seemed to drag on and on. But I did really like the latter half of the book.
Now, excuse me while I go pick up the final book. I don’t want this to end!
I really enjoyed this book in the series, especially since most of it took place in familiar places. The friendship between the kids is my favorite part of these books. The way they look out for each other and always help out is awesome. The characters are just so incredibly vivid. S.Q. being one of my favorites. And all the clever names, make the book so much cooler. The ending of this book was so satisfying. I was surprised to hear there's another book out since it's been so long since this one was published. I am almost afraid to rock the boat after such a good ending. ;D I didn't really like all the telepathy. Personally, it makes me a bit uncomfortable. So since that was such a major part of the book, it brought down my rating a bit. Overall, a fun series. =)
It just keeps getting more and more ridiculous. In a world where grown men electroshock small children, hit them on the head with pipes and threaten to break their legs, NO ONE THINKS TO BRING A GUN. What do they bring to combat electricity shooting masochists? Rubber gloves (that can defy physics and REPEL electricity. Yeah, I know, lame) and their other tool. A boomerang.
It's like a bad episode of MacGyver. "Oh no, MacGyver, there's only 35 seconds on the bomb. What will you do? It's ok, I just hand me your left earring, that shoelace and a piece of bubble gum. I'll have us out of here in 12 seconds"
And then for some reason, the "baddens" keep leaving these children alone. Children who are geniuses, who have shown remarkable talent for escape and planning before. Why would someone do that? It reminds me of Austin Powers when this takes place:
Scott Evil: What? Are you feeding him? Why don't you just kill him? Dr. Evil: I have an even better idea. I'm going to place him in an easily escapable situation involving an overly elaborate and exotic death. Dr. Evil: All right guard, begin the unnecessarily slow-moving dipping mechanism. [guard starts dipping mechanism:] Dr. Evil: Close the tank! Scott Evil: Wait, aren't you even going to watch them? They could get away! Dr. Evil: No no no, I'm going to leave them alone and not actually witness them dying, I'm just gonna assume it all went to plan. What? Scott Evil: I have a gun, in my room, you give me five seconds, I'll get it, I'll come back down here, BOOM, I'll blow their brains out! Dr. Evil: Scott, you just don't get it, do ya? You don't.
Now, I must sound very violent to some people. But seriously. This book has so many holes and plot lines that just don't make sense. It angers me.
So, somebody take out the nasty violent children-attacking men. If I hear about one more electroshock, or welt on the head or split lip I'm going to call the publisher directly. PLEASE. Because I really have no more time for these shenanigans.
(I apologize if you liked these books. I kept reading thinking they would get better. They never did. But maybe you will like them. The first part of the first book was the best. It was all downhill from there)
The MBS’s third adventure gives them two missions: find and stop the on-the-run Mr. Curtain who has a new mind controlling scheme and find their runaway friend Constance after a strange man claims that he’s her father and puts her in a distraught position, but they know that they could be put in Curtain’s sinister clutches. Third’s the definite charm and the most coziest. A (100%/Outstanding)
When Constance finds out that she is adopted, she runs away out of sadness. She can’t control her emotions, and can’t think of anything else to do. All the grownups in the house go out on a search party to find her, leaving Kate, Sticky and Reynie home alone. All seems well until a mysterious vehicle arrives at the house. They soon find out that Mr Curtain is out to capture them. The children attempt to run away. In the process, they find Constance but unfortunately get captured as well. They get taken to an abandoned prison, where Constance is able to send “mental messages” to Mr Benedict. He soon finds them, and through all the children’s teamwork, they manage to escape, and send Mr Curtain and the Ten Men to jail.
One theme in my book was power. I think this theme was very important, because Mr Benedict and Mr Curtain both had the power to run a very important machine – The Whisperer. The Whisperer was a machine that could control other people’s minds, and if it got into the wrong hands, it could do a lot of damage. Mr Curtain was the antagonist, therefore he wanted to rule the world, and control people’s minds. Mr Benedict was trying to prevent him from doing this. Mr Curtain also “ruled” certain people, and had a lot of power over them. A quote from the book that shows power is “S.Q.! Come to the rear end of the prison at once – at once S.Q.! Do not make me –““But?” Mr Curtain snapped. “But? You may not say ‘but’ to me, S.Q. Pedelian!” This quote shows power because Mr Curtain obviously ruled over S.Q., and didn't like him very much.
Another theme that shows in the book is rivalry. I think this theme was very important, because there was lots of rivalry between Mr Benedict and Mr Curtain. They were long lost identical twins, but had completely different minds and personalities. They were against each other. Mr Curtain wanted to rule the world and brainwash people, but Mr Benedict was trying to stop him from doing that. A quote that shows rivalry is “How dare you tell me when anything is finished, Benedict? No! No! No! I shall tell you when it is over right now!” And flipping a switch on his wheelchair, he glared at Mr Benedict with such hideous intensity that it was alarming even to look at his face. (Page 354) This quote shows rivalry, because Mr Curtain was getting mad at Mr Benedict, and clearly hates his brother.
Another theme in the book was teamwork. This occurred most in the book, because the whole book was about trying to work as a team, and the children had to work together to escape Mr Curtain. One quote that shows teamwork is “I’m not counting on me this time, I promise. I’m counting on us.”(Page 281) This quote shows teamwork because Kate knew that she couldn’t do it by herself, but she needed the others as well.
I thought my book was engaging because it used very descriptive language. There were many words that I had never heard before, and enjoyed learning, and trying to remember the meanings. Some examples of descriptive words that I learned were: bureaucratic, egomaniac, and naïveté. I had never heard some of these words before, and I learned the meanings!
I think this book is good for a 6th or 7th grader. I think it is a good book because most of the time it was captivating. For example when one chapter was finished, it would sometimes be a cliff-hanger, and leave you wondering what would happen next. I think this is a very good style of writing because it makes you want to read more, and you can’t put the book down. These bits in the book were very exciting, but sometimes the book got a bit boring. The story would slow down, and nothing much would be happening. Luckily, soon the story would pick up again, and make you want more. Another good aspect of the story (as I already said) was it had many descriptive words. The story was filled with vocabulary, and made you want to learn the definition! This means that the book was also somewhat educational as well as exhilarating.
I definitely think this is my least favourite of the series, but it's still so nostalgic and so much fun! The character development in this one is top notch, and I'm ahhhhhh 🥺
I do want to note that the treatment of disability (in this whole series, but especially this book) is uh . . . iffy. It's my only real issue with the series, but it's definitely something to be aware of going in.
Prepare yourself for another wild yet amazing adventure! This time Reynie, Sticky, Kate, and Constance are back again to save The Whisperer from its wicked inventor, Mr. Leodroptha Curtain.
The story begins with an explanation of the prisoner's dilemma, which I found quite interesting. The problem started when Constance was missing. Her runaway was followed by a total blackout in the town, causing chaos everywhere. The chaos was used by Mr. Curtain and his gang, The Executive, to trap the children with findable clues and breakable codes. Unfortunately, the children got into the trap and they were kidnapped.
When they found out that they were brought to a faraway prison that was under renovation, they began to set some tricks to get out. Again, the luck wasn't on their side. The Executive found them and locked them again in a tower. Not running out of ideas, Constance used her ability to send the news by vision to Mr. Benedict, and she got a vision back from him, telling her that he and all the agents would save them.
Okay, I won't tell you the rest of the story. All I can say is, this book is breathtaking. It reminds me of Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix, where Harry and his friends were got into Voldemort's trap (just like the children were got into Mr. Curtain's trap), fought against the Death Eater and Voldemort himself (in this case, The Executive and Mr. Curtain), and got help from the members of the Order of Phoenix (just like the children got help from Mr. Benedict's agent). The difference between Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix and this book is, it's MUCH better than Harry Potter, because no one died in the end and they all had happy endings.
I should give the author more credit, though, for making such genius riddles in this book. The riddles were brilliantly made, and it definitely adds to the excitement. I read the riddles and couldn't stop wondering the answers, and when they were revealed, I was flabbergasted. They're just smart, genius, and brilliant!
When I finished reading this book, I felt some satisfaction. What satisfaction? Well, when when everything turned out to be okay, it's enough to make me satisfied. I recommend you to read the two previous books before reading this one, or you'll get confused because the story is continual.
Happy reading and enjoy the adventure!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
In their third adventure, the Society (and powerful machine known as the Whisperer) are under heavy guard at Mr. Benedict's house. The government wants the machine, as does the nasty Mr. Curtain, who is not above kidnapping the children to get it. Fearing the worst and frightened by her new mental powers, Constance runs away; it is then that Curtain’s Ten Men strike, and the children are on their own, hoping to save the day.
As with the previous entries in this series, I enjoyed immensely the mind puzzles, the codes, the scenes of peril and adventure. There's truly something for every youthful reader to admire here: those who yearn for stories of athleticism and bravery and those who like more cerebral heroes. With the mental faculties Constance develops in this book, there’s now a supernatural element as well. And as before, Steward fully realizes every character, giving Curtain and his bungling assistant S.Q. motive and method. They don’t think of themselves as "bad guys," as S.Q. explains. They’re trying to do what they think is best, even if Curtain thinks certain ends justify rather costly means. The sheer novelty has worn off, but this is another well-written, thoughtful, amusing adventure.
As much as I have enjoyed the first two novels in this series, I have felt exactly the opposite for this one. I simply can't recognize the characters I fell in love with. They become different in this book.
Sticky: Memorizes library catalogues. Reynie: Depelops sixth sense. Kate: Becomes The Flash. Constance: Becomes a mind reader.
Even though many unexplained mysteries unfold in this novel, the rest is pretty much boring. The part till Constance's past being revealed was so dragged on that it took me a week to get through these pages. The children seemed to have lost their naturally magnificent ability and they act way beyond their characters. Even the adults were dully portrayed here.
I became highly disapoined at the last instalment of my once favourite series. I wish the characters were a bit more lively here and the storyline a bit stronger.
Now THIS is the Mysterious Benedict Society we know and love! No plodding travel, disobedient kids, and scarcity of riddles. Just our favorite characters saving the world the way they do best!
The opener is an enthralling real-life Prisoners Dilemma, with the Society locked in 2 attic rooms. Recapping and hashing through it brings to light that the children are all naturally loyal, possibly with the exception of the still cranky Constance, that Kate's physical prowess can still get them out of just about any scrape, and that Reynie still excels at out-of-the-box problem solving.
The Society, their parents, and Mr. Benedict's crew are essentially under house arrest in the Benedict manor as the government vigilantly watches over the Whisperer housed there while continuing in the fruitless search for Ledroptha Curtain. While chafing under the restrictions, the children welcome the opportunities to baffle and sneak past the guards, as well as spend this regular time with each other. Constance is brought to the forefront in an alarming way as, just as Mr. Benedict is about to adopt her, a stranger claims he is her father instead! This throws the household into a tizzy as measures are taken to refute this claim (also leading to the dubious finding that Constance previously survived by living in libraries), but unawares a dastardly plan of Mr. Curtain's is being put into action.
Things soon kick into high gear. A blanket of darkness covers the city as all the electricity goes out! A wave of terror is unleashed as Curtain's Ten Men go out on the march in full force, seeking both the Whisperer and Constance for her mental powers. This time, the kids don't have to sneak off for the story to get anywhere, but there's a natural progression of story for the adults and kids to get separated and each shine in their own talents and abilities. In search of Constance, escaping from the Ten Men, and traveling the darkened streets: the Society does it all together.
The stakes are heightened and the ante is upped with the extra sneakiness of Mr. Curtain and the Ten Men. By now, they know the Society and the kids they're up against. Reynie utilizes his cleverness, Kate's agility, and Sticky's knowledge in deciphering secret messages, brainstorming solutions, and executing retaliations. But the bad guys have a few tricks up their sleeves, making everything much more scary and exciting!
A standoff against the Ten Men does not end well this time. The kids' out-of-the-box solution to the Prisoners Dilemma comes in handy against the cruel fiends, and they'll need all their quick thinking and swift action to help themselves and Milligan (laughably underequipped as always) out of the stickiest situations yet.
(Note: If you are planning to read this book and update on Goodreads, the updating format will be a bit strange. It will say that there are only nine pages in the book, meaning that you can only update one Goodreads page when you have really read about forty-three and a half pages in the actual book. This will make more sense once you read the book.)
Actual Review: I liked this book. I felt like the new plot was interesting, with the Stonetown blackout and all. But, I did have some problems, as you can see in my deduction of two stars. My biggest one was the children themselves. That's right. Now, why would I have a grudge against the lovable Reynie, Kate, Sticky, and Constance? It's not because of their personalities, but because of their powers. I won't tell them - that would just ruin the fun. But, still, even though these powers show the aging of the Mysterious Benedict Society, the overall cleverness they possessed in the first and second books was almost diminished. Meaning, there aren't as many parts in the third book that would make you smile and feel guilty at the same time ("Wow, why couldn't I think of that?") as there were in the first and second books. I was a bit disappointed with this book, as I expected a bit more from the ending of the series. Still, I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys kid-power books, not-too-violent reads, and, as a general rule, adventures in the contemporary world.
The bad guys in jail, the children back home, it really feels like the end. They reflect upon this melancholy feeling after all the conflict. If it weren't for the Whisperer and evil Mr. Curtain, the kids would have never met each other, let alone going on missions together! If there's one thing I've learned from these books, it's that sometimes you need to experience some bad to see the good. Without knowing what's considered unpleasant, you would never know what's not. The Society back together like birds in their nest, joyful to be home. But this can't be! After all, there is a fourth book! What possibly could be the plot of this next book? Perhaps a prison break? Internal conflict? It just doesn't feel right to have more conflict after such a wholly "ending". Maybe I'm wrong. I guess the only way I'll find out is to keep reading!
This was a great ending to the series! I loved the way they finished the book! If anyone likes mystery and/or action I would recommend them reading this book. These books are about a group of four kids, Kate, Reynie, Sticky, and Constance, who all in their own way are very different. Kate carries a bucket full of tools and supplies that uses sometimes, Reynie is very good at noticing small details and solving riddles, Sticky has an almost perfect memory and is very intelligent (he isn't smart in the way that Reynie is though), and if I told you why Constance was special it would be spoiling the series so...
It's ooovvvveeeerrr.... :( I will greatly miss these characters. I know, I know, I can just re-read it, but it's never the same is it?
This third installment of the Mysterious Benedict Society's adventures was nearly as good as the first book. I love the characters so much. They need to make a movie, a good movie. Anyways, this book was really great. I especially liked how everything wrapped up at the end. Though some of it was a little too perfect of a happy ending I'm happy that the characters all get to stay together and everything wraps up nicely.
A nice read! My real rating would probably be a 3.5, but I rounded up a bit because why not.
Plot rating: ⚠️ I'm not sure there really was a plot. It just seemed like a bunch of events mixed together. Yet somehow I still found it interesting.
Character rating: ✅ I loved all the characters! Maybe not Constance, but definitely Reynie, Sticky and Kate! I do wish some new characters would have been introduced to give it some spice.
Realistic Rating: 🛑 Sorry, but half the things the characters did were TOTALLY unrealistic. The way Kate threw a flashlight through total darkness and still hit the Ten Man? Very unlikely. And the way that Constance had telepathy was definitely unrealistic.
Overall a bit of a mixed review! I am currently reading the third one and I really like it so far!
The Prisoner's Dilemma is the third book in the Mysterious Benedict Society series.
For those not in the know, The Mysterious Benedict Society is a children's series by Trenton Lee Stewart. It follows the escapades of four specially gifted children as they work with their mentor, the wise and benevolent Nicholas Benedict, to thwart the plans of his evil twin brother, Ledroptha Curtain.
I think it’s easily the best new series to hit children’s lit since the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary (that’s right, J.K. Rowling. I’m dismissing Harry Potter into the annals of crappy children’s lit – where it belongs) and the best mystery for kids since Ellen Raskin’s The Westing Game, which, in my mind, is the best children’s mystery novel of all time.
The kids are usually somehow separated from all of their adult friends and must band together to figure out what Mr. Curtain is up to and stop it. Usually, the reader can play along by trying to decipher the clues that the MBS get.
But my favorite thing about this series is not the mystery. No, that’s just the meat sauce covering up all the carrots and spinach that Mom snuck into the spaghetti. My favorite thing about Stewart’s series is that the kids are refreshingly good.
I don’t know when it became okay and even respected for kids to sass their parents and treat one another like crap. Characters in books don’t say things anymore. They scream them. It’s like they’re constantly yelling at one another because of the terrible burden of whatever mission it is they’re trying to accomplish.
But the kids in MBS only shout when they have to in order to be heard. They do get annoyed with each other, but they *gasp!* do their best not to show their annoyance. That’s, like… mature behavior! I hope to God that some of the celebutards out there will someday read these books and think to themselves, “Hmm, I should exercise some self-control every now and again.”
And the kids don’t just refrain from treating one another badly. When one of them makes a mistake, instead of sniping at one another and pointing fingers, the others leap at the opportunity to encourage their teammate. Each of them has a different skill: Reynie is a critical thinker, Sticky has a photographic memory, Kate can climb anything and outrun most adults, and Constance has the gift of extraordinary stubbornness. Oh, and ESP.
Each of them may have a special talent, but they all know that they need to work as a team in order to succeed. There’s no “lone wolf” mentality in these books. They encourage community and teamwork and friendship.
In this specific installment of the series, the evil Mr. Curtain is after Constance for her ability to read and control minds. The plot involves a power outage, a showdown, and some fun clues to figure out (they’re doable if you’re well-versed in riddling).
This installment was just okay, but the series as a whole still gets a solid rating from me.
I’d highly recommend this series to anyone with kids ages nine or ten and up. Screw the wizards. I want to be a secret agent.