The third installment in The Mysterious Benedict Society is every bit as fun, action-packed, and refreshing as the previous books in the series. I feel like I gush when I write about these books, but they are genuinely wonderful. Stewart’s style is both light and captivating. I find myself cheering audibly for our heroes and cringing whenever the villains get a leg up. I assure you, it is quite amusing to watch.
The novel begins with Reynie, Constance, Stucky, Kate and their families living with Mr. Benedict. In between waiting for Constance’s adoption to go through, and practicing their skills, the kids are keeping busy. Meanwhile, Mr. Benedict is having difficulty with the government agencies and their interest in The Whisperer. The government wants to use The Whisperer for their own purposes, and more dangerously, the children know that Mr. Curtain has to be behind it. The fact that Mr. Benedict’s house is kept under strict guard does nothing to ease the tension. When the government orders that The Whisperer to be moved, the children must again work together to protect themselves and save the world.
What makes these books so charming are the interactions between the main characters. They make mistakes. They have insecurities. They get angry. They are messy. Yet, through it all, the do reach for the best in themselves. Perhaps it is that idealized version of what the world could be that makes me smile when I read these books. When Mr. Curtain and his frightening Ten Men are prevailing, I get nervous, but in the back of my mind, I know that somehow Mr. Benedict and the children will make it out somehow. And with any luck, we will get a few more of Constance’s poems.
I know there is at least one more book in the series, and we haven’t gotten to the point where I feel like we are dragging along without any resolution, but there is that fear nagging in my mind. Stewart is a good writer, and I do have confidence that wherever he takes me and The Society, it will be an interesting and good place… eventually.