The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey

by Trenton Lee Stewart

Paperback, 2009

Call number



Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (2009), Edition: Reprint, 464 pages


Reynie, Kate, Sticky, and Constance, all graduates of the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened and members of the Benedict Society, embark on a scavenger hunt that turns into a desperate search for the missing Mr. Benedict.

User reviews

LibraryThing member invisiblelizard
Fresh off my enthusiasm of the first book in this series, I picked up the second the very next time I was in my local Barnes & Noble, brought it home, and sat down to read it. And I wasn't quite as impressed. Granted, one of the nice things about the first book (which may be said about almost any
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"first book" in a series) is the "getting to know the characters" phase. Since we already know these characters, I didn't get to enjoy that the second time around. Some authors remedy this by introducing new characters (which can lead to a glut, if not kept in check), which Stewart does here as well, but instead of fleshing them out, he merely drops them in "as is" with little-to-no explanation of who they are, why they are acting the way they do, nor any sort of growth and development. Pity, because I think he could have done a nice job with some of them (namely the ship's captain, if you've read the book).

The plot, also, is not as exciting. The first was (ever so lightly) a cerebral mystery (for kids, you understand). This one seemed to be more of an action/adventure. I could almost see the author, Steward, visualizing the movie that might ultimately be made from this book as he was writing it. Which, in my mind, is not a good reason to write a book, nor a good basis for one.

The writing is about the same as the first go-round. Nothing to rave about, but nothing that offended my delicate sensitivities either.

All in all, this was a passable sophomore effort. I'm always encouraged by (and I try to be encouraging of) writers who succeed in creating a universe worthy of subsequent outings. (I read a lot of "series" books as a kid.) This universe was worthy of more entries. Sadly, it didn't get what it deserved. But for all that, it's not a bad book. I'm sure kids who enjoyed the first will enjoy the second and will be anxiously waiting for the third. Myself, I think I'll move on to different pastures.
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LibraryThing member sarah-e
I was eager to see what the Benedict kids would be up to in this book, but I had multiple false-starts because the first chapter was so tedious. It picked up, but never got as far beneath the surface of the story as I thought the first book did. The children meet a variety of interesting folks on
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their perilous journey; they are wary of some and trusting of others. Though a good chunk of storytelling relays how the kids' trust of one another's instincts (especially Constance's) has developed, it doesn't amount to much character growth or any surprising realizations. I applaud the author for writing a chapters-long action sequence that didn't lose me or bore me. Pages before the end of the story I was convinced I knew what was about to happen, and he still managed to change it all up convincingly. I enjoyed this book and will probably read the third, but it won't be a priority.
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LibraryThing member sinnohregion
Exceptional. One of the best books I've ever read. I love this amazing page-turner!!!
LibraryThing member SandSing7
Although the concept was interesting (a worldwide adventure directed by mysterious clues), the plot seemed to have holes. Glaring jumps in the logical progression of the story undermined its validity.
LibraryThing member klarsenmd
A great follow up to the first book! These books don't talk down to their young readers and the adventures are ridiculous and sensational! So much fun for the family to read together!
LibraryThing member annekiwi
I don't know why, but this book was not nearly the enjoyable read that the first was perhaps because it was the first book rewritten? Aside from a new locale and a missing (as opposed to hiding-in-the-shadows) Mr. Benedict, the plot is the same from one book to the next. Also, there was not the
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curious way that they all met and the introduction to their quirks which were already mostly well defined from the first book. There was definitely more character development for Sticky and Constance, but for the most part it wasn't even close to being as interesting as the first installment.
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LibraryThing member theokester
This is the second book in the "Mysterious Benedict Society" series and while it can definitely be read as a stand alone book, I would recommend reading the previous book before starting in on this one. The previous novel gives a lot of character development and some insight into the nuances of the
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characters as well as what to expect. Besides, the first book is great and shouldn't be missed if you can help it.

That said, we enjoyed the second book as much as the first. The same wonderful characters are present and ready for a new adventure. The setting is 1 year after the previous book ended. The children are on their way to a reunion with Mr. Benedict who has planned a sort of treasure hunt for them to hone their skills on the road to a great celebration. Unfortunately, Mr. Benedict is kidnapped before the children even arrive and thus the situation changes slightly.

The puzzles and around-the-world adventure are a ton of fun. The characters themselves have grown over the 'past year' and have some new mannerisms and skills. Constance in particular has developed some new traits that will serve the society well.

The overarching mystery in this book is once again thoughtful and fun to unravel. The framing of the adventure within a globetrotting treasure hunt is a lot of fun. Personally I would love to go on that sort of an adventure. Bringing back Mr. Curtain's threatening bodyguard/mercenary "Ten Men" added a great element of suspense to the chase. The climactic confrontation with their adversaries was fairly intense, especially for a children's book.

I found this book just as enjoyable as the first book and am glad to see that the story has been successful enough to warrant a series. I'm looking forward to seeing what sort of adventures the kids encounter in future books.

4 out of 5
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LibraryThing member bell7
The Mysterious Benedict Society, made up of four extremely and intelligent children - Reny, Kate, Sticky, and Constance - of various ages and talents, is back in this amusing tale of clues and mystery and dastardly plots. Mr. Benedict, their benefactor and friend for whom the group is named, is
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missing, and the evil Ledroptha Curtain has him in his clutches. The children begin following clues that Mr. Benedict has left for them, hoping against hope that they can follow them to Mr. Benedict himself and save their friend.

I enjoyed this story of smart kids and mysterious clues, though it had been so long since I read [The Mysterious Benedict Society] that I had trouble recognizing even familiar characters. Also, this is a tough book to listen to before bed - it's the equivalent of 11 CDs long, and it took me so long to finish it that I'd forgotten a lot of what happened in the beginning by the time it was over. But Reny and Kate, Sticky and Constance are smart, fun characters and I enjoyed their travels and banter. I may consider reading the third book in the series, but would probably reread the books first to better follow the story.
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LibraryThing member skier123
The Mysterious Benedict Society embarks on a new journey to save Mr Benedict and Number Two but they face challenges with the dangerous Ten Men.
LibraryThing member MrsBond
A quartet of extraordinarily gifted children save themselves and their adult friends from the bad guys. Great vocabulary, excellent examples of noble heroism. Although I did not read the first book in the series, at no point did I feel out of sorts.
LibraryThing member soccergirl6
A great sequel to the amazing book the Mysterious Benedict Society. This sequel is full of laughter, danger, friendship, and surprises. Any one who hasn't read this exciting book should!!
LibraryThing member kbergfeld
A fun continuation of the original journey, but not quite as tight in the storyline. The end of the novel had the first chapter of the third book, and I am highly looking forward to that story.
LibraryThing member Dranea
Once again the Mysterious Benedict Society takes us along on a journey with twists, turns, plots, and horrible schemes all plotted by the evil Mr. Curtain. The four children amaze the readers with their wit, intelligence, bravery and loyalty even when all hope seems to be lost. Another brilliant
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installment to this series!!
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LibraryThing member everbloomx
The second in the Mysterious Benedict Society trilogy takes the four geniuses on yet another journey, and obviously, a perilous one indeed.
LibraryThing member shabacus
It was good. I can't really praise it much higher than that.

This book, the second volume in the Mysterious Benedict Society series, begins with our main characters already well established. Unfortunately, the part of the first book that I enjoyed the most was the beginning, the puzzles that each
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child solved differently, and their growing friendship.

In this book, the puzzles were far more pedestrian, and the rapidly switching semi-omniscient POV that much more distracting. That being said, the book picked up quite a bit in its final chapters.

The characters were not realistic, far too much like the highly stylized villains of A Series of Unfortunate Events... a series which I loathe.

Nevertheless, I'll probably read the final volume. There were some interesting conflicts set up that I'd like to see more of.
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LibraryThing member learn2laugh
This was a really fun read. The first one was very enjoyable, and this one continued in that vein.
LibraryThing member particle_p
BRILLIANT book. This was my favorite of the three. It's nail-bitingly tense near the end. I had to stay up all night to finish. Come back when you've read it and we'll discuss.
LibraryThing member elenchus
As enjoyable as the first, and again read aloud. R recently told me she wishes we'd named her Katherine, so she could go by Katie-Cat. Clearly, she likes not just the name but the character.

Stewart does a good job of expanding the franchise: the expected structure and features, fit to a new
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setting, enough new so as not to seem a re-hash, but familiar enough to satisfy the cravings. This one plays a bit with that cliché, in that Benedict's original plans for a reunion are spoiled by Curtain, thereby transforming Benedict's riddles and scavenger hunt into the means for his rescue.

I especially appreciated Stewart's thoughtful development of each character, given their individual traits and their likely reactions to the experiences of the first novel. Reynie worries now that he sees more bad in people than good, we wonder how this might taint his usual disposition. Mr Benedict suggests the bad is simply easier to see. It comes to a head with Reynie's dilemma as to whether to trust Captain Noland. Sticky, so used to being a target of ridicule and the insecurities flowing from that formative experience, behaves in ways suggesting the admiration of friends might easily lead him to a certain arrogance, however unintended, and we wonder whether his newly-won confidence will survive his own shame once he realises.

We immediately requested the third book and began it.


Again decorations via headpieces incorporating the chapter names, but a different illustrator.
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LibraryThing member wankorobo2
I had to spend about two mounths to read up by Audible ver. I don't know why it'd taken soooo long. May be couse of King's English or narater's non-clear pronouciation...But the story is good.
LibraryThing member lkmuir
Reynie, Kate, Sticky, and Constance, all graduates of the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened and members of the Benedict Society, embark on a scavenger hunt that turns into a desperate search for the missing Mr. Benedict.
LibraryThing member AliceaP
When we first met the intrepid, orphaned quartet that made up a large part of the Mysterious Benedict Society we were left feeling that surely this couldn't be the last adventure that they'd be on together...and we were absolutely right. The whole gang is back in the second book in the series by
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Trenton Lee Stewart titled The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey. (Note: A new illustrator, Diana Sudyka, has penned the drawings for this book and forthcoming books in the series.) The beginning of the book starts off with the kids separated and trying to live as close to normal as possible. The reader is once again following the main character, Reynie, as he heads to meet up with everyone on the anniversary of their last adventure together. However, when they are all reunited at Mr. Benedict's house they are met with a very unpleasant surprise. (No spoilers here!!) What follows is a treacherous journey (hence the name of the book) that takes them on boats, trains, and up the side of a mountain in another country. While the central theme of friendship and working together is still present, this book is much darker in tone and a sense of foreboding lingers over every page. (In some ways, it reminds me of the progression of the Harry Potter series.) The illustrations again accompany a portion of the text and even though it's a different illustrator the sense of whimsy is ever-present. Overall, very enjoyable and fun to see how the author expands on each of the characters personalities and abilities. (Constance plays a much larger role in this book.) I have to confess that I've had the third book in the series gathering dust on my desk at work (and a copy of it here at home) but I haven't felt an overwhelming urge to pick it up just yet. I have a feeling this will be one of the first books I get to in the new year. XD If you read the first book in the series then I'm confident you'll enjoy the sequel. 8/10
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LibraryThing member BraveNewBks
This took me a long time to get through because it didn't keep my attention nearly add much as the first one. The plot was a long series of implausible events, and I didn't much like any of the kids this time around--what happened to all their nerdy charm?
LibraryThing member amandabock
If I remember correctly, Lisa got me started on this series. I love it. Like [book: The Penderwicks], it's a throwback to classic stories, but it is undeniably contemporary. It's so gosh-darn enjoyable that it's easy to forgive its minor flaws. I like how the tasks and mysteries that the children
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solve are, in truth, solvable. The solutions are logical, and the reader can try to work it out with the characters. It's a nice balance- being neither so easy that the reader is wondering when the characters will figure it out, nor so hard that it answer seems to come from left field.

I wonder if, given the popularity of The Penderwicks and this series, if we might see a return to more innocent children's stories, at least in some books. I suppose stories about the grim realities of childhood are here to stay, but it would be nice to have some good, old-fashioned, home-before-supper adventures, too.
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LibraryThing member Jiraiya
The author didn't know how to end his book. It's a weird place to get writer's block. But the preceding chapters made up for the lame ending.

Though the book has more positives than not, it is a forgettable book that will not bear rereading from me. The clues were pleasant to think about. The dead
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ends were startling in their lack of resolution.

The first book was better, but though I won't ever reread this book, I will try to read the sequels, even in the face of the law of diminishing returns. It was nice to read this book and the ample time taken, I feel, has not been a waste
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LibraryThing member Lunarsong
This book is as good as (if not better) than the first Mysterious Benedict Society Book. It did not disappoint. Loved it.


Anthony Award (Nominee — 2009)
Great Reads from Great Places (Arkansas — 2008)






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