Book Review: The Mysterious Benedict Society

Oya everyone!

Everybody loves superheroes, right? I mean what’s not to love? They have incredible powers, they save the world on at least a weekly basis, they have cool costumes and clever catchphrases.

My favorite superheroes don’t have any of that, though. My favorite superheroes are, in fact, children.

Y’all ever read The Mysterious Benedict Society?

(by Trenton Lee Stewart)

I have spoken of this series before, it happens to be one of my favorites in the whole world. I believe I’ve read the first book . . . mmm it’s gotta be at least twenty-two times. Likely more. It’s just so good. Everything about it.

So I’m gonna do an official book review on it.


You guys know me. You know how this works. We’re talking about characters first.

The characters are one of my very favorite things about this, okay. We’ll start with Reynie because I love him.

Reynie, Reynard Muldoon, one of my very favorite protagonists in all of fiction. Described as being extremely average, this boy is anything but. His ‘superpower’, if you can call it that, makes him extremely clever in the ways of puzzles, riddles, and people. Reynie always knows what to say, what to do. People like him. I like him. And for good reason. He’s sweet. He’s a good leader. He’s so stinking adorable.

And his flaws make sense.

That’s one of the most important things when developing a character, kids. When their flaws aren’t tacked on for the sake of making them ‘relatable’. Their flaws are baked in, as it were. Their upsides are also their downsides, because that’s how real people are.

His character arc is also very cool as you get to watch through the books. He goes from a timid, friendless boy who doubts his every move to a courageous, confident leader with a strong found family.

I love it.

Then there’s Kate. Kate is especially special to me because a lot of Aislinn (my main OC, if you hadn’t noticed) was kind of subconsciously based off of her. Her whole thing is that she’s the bravest, the strongest, dependent on no one and always the one to save the day. Her sass and wit gives me life.

But of course she isn’t always brave, and she isn’t always able to do everything herself, and sometimes she can’t save the world. And when that happens my heart breaks a little bit.

And I mean come ON how am I NOT supposed to love the bucket, the bucket is incredible.

Sticky Washington is a soft boy, an anxious boy, a memory boy. However he came about, I am jealous of how well he was developed. He’s got the perfect mix of mannerisms to make him unique and have his emotions readable and recognizable. He’s got a simply seamless character arc. And like, having a character with a perfect memory could be so overpowered but its not because of how balanced his abilities are. Incredible. 10/10.

And then there’s Constance.

I hated her when I started the book for the first time. She’s annoying, she seemed to be of no use to the plot except for comedic relief and to Cause Problems On Purpose, I didn’t understand why she was part of the group.

But that’s exactly what you’re supposed to think!!!

I won’t spoil anything in case you haven’t read the books yet but it’s GENIUS how the author did her story, just absolutely GENIUS. Left me jaw-dropped, it did, and I couldn’t stop squealing about the complete GENIUS of it. And it just gets better in the sequels.

I mean I’d be getting long-winded if I started on Mr. Benedict himself, and Milligan (my beloved) and S. Q. and Number Two and Rhonda and Jackson and Jillson and everybody else, but my GOODNESS I love these characters with my whole entire heart.

The pacing is absolute perfection, equal parts shiver-inducing action and contemplative chill times, where you can think things through along with the characters and figure out the way the puzzle fits together. Pacing is something I always struggle with and I’m more than slightly jealous at the natural flow of this book. Almost all the dialogue is totally natural, too, and you can hear the voices when people talk, they’re so distinctive. Also??? The mystery aspect???

I really can’t praise this book enough honestly.

I don’t really want to say too much about the plot, because I really don’t know how much would be spoiling. So I’m not going to. I’m just going to continue to rant about how awesome this book is, kay?

But the PLOT

Plot’s incredible.

And also strangely relevant to, like, current events. So much so that is it suspicious.

I mean I’m a suspicious person so dunno how bad the sus actually is.

Like I said, I’ve read this book . . . so many times. And the sequels as well. And the prequel, The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict, which in my opinion is better than the sequels and very nearly made me cry. (John, my beloved, and that is all I will say) It’s just SO GOOD. It’s kinda funny, actually, because the very first time I read it, my mother brought it home from, like, a garage sale or something. It was a really hot summer day and I was bored and she told me not to read it yet, but I did because it looked interesting and then several hours later I turned the last page with a headache and watery eyes with my feet in the pool and for the first time had the urge to start reading it again right then and there.

It’s kind of a comfort book, honestly.

Please go read it if you haven’t. And if you have, tell me in the comments what your favorite bit is! I love it when people talk about things that make them happy.

(One of my top favorite moments is Tactical Cactupi, by the way.)

Anyhow, thank you SO much for reading. I really appreciate you taking the time to listen to my nonsense. If you did enjoy whatever this was, consider possibly subscribing? It’s free, doesn’t clutter up your email, and when the number goes up Ashley brain go brrr. You should also leave a like if you have a WordPress account, all the cool kids are doing it.

Love you all byeeeee!


3 thoughts on “Book Review: The Mysterious Benedict Society

  1. I read the first book in the series, and I agree with everything you’ve said! My favorite character is Sticky. I don’t know what my favorite part is, the whole book is wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

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