Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Mysterious Benedict Society II: Even More Peril

The original MBS was an audiobook review I meant to do here but got distracted by life the universe and everything. I really loved MBS on audiobook. I think it is perhaps the best thing I've ever put in my car's stereo system. Better than the Cure's Disintegration, better than The Mountain Goats "best of" mix a friend made me, better than The Weepies, Josh Ritter, Stars, and Chris Crutcher's "Whale Talk" combined. I loved Del Roy's narration and the ingenuity and the villains and well, everything. I was hoping that I would love MBS II as much, but alas, it was not to be. I think Mr. Stewart got caught up in the classic blunder of "if a little is good, than a lot must be really good." But no, a million daring escapes and dreadful recaptures do not make for great listening or reading. By the second or third one I was bored, and since I was driving this is rather dangerous. I am as likely to fall asleep while driving and Benedict would be while watching "The Daily Show." I also felt that the pure evil one-dimensional nature of the villains stopped suiting in this book. Benedict was delving into his past as was Curtain, but only Benedict seemed to have learned anything about himself. The children were all growing up and becoming more complex. But in MBS II, even S.Q. Pedalian, so refreshing in the first book lost his luster when he didn't even start to question Curtain's motives and his own actions. No one, not even in this fictional world, is that dense. I do appreciate that both stories included both good and bad adults, helpful and dangerous older people, but relied on the childrens' talents and ingenuity to move the plot and to get themselves in and out of scrapes. MBS II definitely followed through with that idea, so kudos there. Still though, while this book needed some serious editing and logic applied liberally, but it comes out heads and shoulders above many other books published today.

Happy T-day everyone. I give thanks for the gift of Jay Asher and 13 Reasons Why, another amazing audiobook, and the new blog telling a version of the story.

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