The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

The Mysterious Benedict Society

The Mysterious Benedict Society

Reynie Muldoon is a singular child. He is an orphan with an astonishing intellect. He, with the assistance of his tutor and friend, Ms Perumal, answers an add in the paper looking for exceptional children and after a gruelling round of tests and several strange min adventures,is one of only four children chosen by the mysterious Mr Benedict to help him save the world! Each of the children are orphans or runaways. Each has some gift, either intellectual or physical which makes them unique… and they all are strong minded and almost obsessed with the truth!

An interesting idea with some great characters, but a bit hard to get started! All of the children are geniuses in their own rights, and each has their own flaws and faults, but when put together they need to work together as a team to stop the evil plan of Mr Curtain to use brain washing techniques and mind sweeping machines to dominate and ultimately control the whole world!

A lot of time is spent introducing the characters and the main premise behind the plot. Once the children are sent to the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, the pace picks up and the story begins to become clearer!

A good read for Year 3-6 students who like a bit of a challenge and aren’t afraid to stick with a book beyond the first few slow chapters!

Trash by Andy Mulligan

Trash

Trash

I found this book quite confronting. It took me a little while to work out which country or continent in the world the book is set in. At first I thought it might be a children’s version of Slumdog Millionaire, but then realised that it was set in a South American style city.

Raphael, Gardo and Rat are three children from the cardboard slum at the trash heap. They spend their lives sorting through the trash heaps, looking for items they can use, trade or sell, until one day Raphael finds the unexpected, and amazing windfall with some pretty serious consequences.

Giving glimpses of the life of the desperately poor, prison life and police brutality (at one stage Raphael is beaten within an inch of his life and then hung by his ankles out of the upper story window of the police station). The three boys find themselves with a mystery to solve, codes to break and millions of dollars at stake!

Another book I struggled with, but well worth persevering!!!!

The Glass Demon by Helen Grant

The Glass Demon by Helen Grant

The Glass Demon by Helen Grant

Lin Fox has a very unusual home life. Her father is a University Professor, her relationship with her mother is not really explored until the last pages of the book, her sister is either anorexic or bolemic and her baby brother gets looked after largely by his oldest sister.

Dr Oliver Fox is a charasmatic Professor of Medieval Studies, who drags his family off to Germany for a year in search of the Allerheiligen Glass, even though Lin is the only one in the family with even a smattering of German, and she is abou tot start her O levels. On the way to their new home, they discover and fail to report a body and things go seriously downhill from there as a series of deaths and attacks occur, each marked by shards of broken glass.

The Allerheiligen Glass are rumoured to be haunted by a demon and given the bizarre events of the book, I could almost believe it was true!

The main character, Lin is reasonably likeable, but tends to be very self absorbed (even for a teenager), headstrong and sarcastic. There are several possible bad guys, lots of drama and histrionics and not a lot of sensible parenting! Reasonably enjoyable… but not as gripping as I had hoped!

‘Kindred in Death’ and ‘Fantasy in Death’ by J.D.Robb (Nora Roberts)


Kindred in Death

Kindred in Death

Fantasy in Death

Fantasy in Death

Just a quick post. I know I haven’t posted much lately, and the pile of books waiting to be posted is growing fast… but what can i say? Life is pretty busy at the moment. Back at work, trying to get fit and healthy – so lots of exercise…

I am a Nora Roberts / J.D. Robb fan. I have read all of her ‘Eve Dallas’ books and quite a few of her romantic offerings as well! Some people would argue that this is not great literature – and it’s not, but then how many of the books we read actually are?

What these books are, however is thoroughly enjoyable! Set in a future where life expectancy has been extended and guns are banned (but not stunners) prostitution is licensed and computers run pretty much everything for us, murder is still a major problem. Eve Dallas is a lieutenant working for NYPD Homicide. She is the best of the best, but not without a few personal failings and hang ups along the way. Every murder she investigates is personal for her – she stands for the dead.

She is also ably supported by a cast of characters, including the delectable Rourke – an Irish ex-crim who is now a multi billionaire and runs half the planet (according to Eve). Peabody is her sidekick, Feeney, her old partner now turned computer geek, Mavis is her oldest friend (con artist turned rock star) and the list of friends expands as the series continues.

Eve has mellowed a lot over the course of the 30 books in the series so far, but she still manages to be abrasive, often rude, uncomfortable with the demands of friendship and yet, a good friend, wife and detective.

I’m beginning to notice a bit of a trend in my posts. Most of my comments tend to be character driven, rather than situation or setting etc. For me, the essence of reading is being able to get inside the character’s skin, to walk a few miles in their shoes. So long as a character is empathetic (for me) and I can relate to at least some aspect of their personality, I’m hooked!

Eve Dallas and her fiends have me hooked, although I must admit, I found her earlier adventures more enjoyable!