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The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma: 08/17/12

cover art

The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma by Trenton Lee Stewart concludes the story arc of Reynie and the other children recruited by Mr. Benedict. It is also, the weakest of the three, relying too heavily on regurgitated plots and huge changes in character.

The book opens with the children living with their families in Mr. Benedict's mansion. Unfortunately Mr. Benedict has become incapacitated by fear and now requires they live locked up, unable to leave the home, go to school, invite friends over. How can he be so afraid after his young protégés have proven themselves so capable?

Benedict's strict but illogical rules pause the plot for nearly 200 pages. In the first book, he wouldn't have cowered from the threat of the government or Mr. Curtain. He would have put the children to work on solving the problem. That's what they are there for! They don't need his protection but he does need their help.

Added to this mix of this sluggish plot is a new talent for the youngest member of the team. She's always been extraordinary but still within plausible means. But now Constance has developed telephatic abilities well beyond what the Whisperer can do.

This ridiculous addition to her powers combined with a plot that relies on Benedict acting completely out of character was enough for me to stop reading. I really expected to enjoy the third book as much as I had the first two but it was a mere shadow of them.

Two stars

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