Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Mysterious Benedict Society, by Trenton Lee Stewart

The Mysterious Benedict Society, by Trenton Lee Stewart, is a book that will capture your mind and keep you in suspense. It has a lot of surprising turns and it will keep you captivated. There are found children who are on a mission to save millions of people. It all starts out with an unusual ad in the newspaper calling out to kids for special opportunities. There are four stages of testing, and only four unique kids make it to the last stage. The last stage takes place at the house of Mr. Benedict, who planned out the tests, and also put the ad in the newspaper. In this stage, there are two levels that they must complete. The first is to go across the room without stepping on any blue or black squares. Reynold, a resourceful boy who prefers Reynie, notices that the floor only has rectangles and just walks straight across. Kate, who is skilled, throws a rope and somehow manages to tie it to the doorknob and she walks across on the rope. She has a red basket that she takes everywhere that contains literally everything from marbles to a spyglass disguised as a kaleidoscope. When she is asked to do it again, she removes everything from her bucket; and she leaps onto it to roll it with her feel until she reaches the other side. Once again, when she is asked to do it again, she stands supported only by her hands and slowly crosses the room. Sticky just crawls across the room. The second level is to find the way to the back door by going through a maze of identical rooms. Reynie easily finds it and makes it to the back door by finding squiggly arrows that point to the right door each time. The second time, he is asked to do it, he finishes quicker. Sticky just tries every door and somehow manages to finish the maze. On the second time, he surprisingly memorized the right doors and makes it through faster. Kate finds a heating vent and goes through it until she reaches the back door. Interestingly, she is not asked to do it another time. In the end, all three children pass all the tests. This whole time, they haven't met the last child who also passed all the tests, but they finally do when they're all together in Mr. Benedict's room. Her name is Constance and she is extremely short and has a bad attitude. Actually, she passed none of the tests, but Mr. Benedict still chose her. Mr. Benedict said she might be the key to success on this mission they were going to be told about, so Reynie, Sticky, and Kate keep quiet. What is their mission and will they survive?

In my opinion, this book always keeps you in suspense like I mentioned earlier, and the characters are all so well thought out. You will come to love the characters, and the conflict is really unique. This book may be a little long, but once you start reading this book, you won't be able to put it down until you've finished it. There are two more books after this one, and I am sure you'll like those as well too. Well, I hope that you can read this wonderful book if you have the chance to.

-Reviewed by A.P. grade 8.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Spirit Bound, by Richelle Mead

Spirit Bound, by Richelle Mead, is the fifth book in the Vampire Academy series. After a long heartbreaking journey to Siberia, Rose has finally returned to St. Vladimir's to take her trials and become a full fledged guardian. She is excited to graduate and go out into the world as Lissa's guardian, but she never forgets that the love of her life is out to destroy her. She sets off on a dangerous assignment to save Dimitri and gets caught up in the political drama of the Moroi Royal Court.

In my opinion, it was an extremely intriguing book. The character's relationships are pushed farther into testy waters - which causes for a more dramatic effect. The book also explores Lissa's character more and the reader's get to see a completely different side of her that they've never seen before. However, I wish that the relationship between Adrian, Rose and Dimitri had been explored further. Also, if the relationship of Rose and Tatiana Ivashkov was explored a little further, it would have made for a more understandable ending. Overall, I believe it was an excellent book. It is well written and once you pick it up, you won't be able to put it down!

-Reviewed by Desi, grade 11.