Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

Rating: WARTY!

This audiobook started out well, but rapidly deteriorated into tedium maximum™! Seriously. The premise, of a young, purportedly intelligent orphan managing to get himself into a secret society, and discovering that this society is investigating subliminal messages being transmitted over the airwaves to come out into our minds through TV and radio isn't original, but it does make for a promising start to a middle-grade story. The problem was that once this set-up was put in place, nothing happened! I mean literally nothing happened. The story just rambled on and on and on and on with these kids whining and discussing, and arguing and contemplating, and cogitating and regurgitating, and NOTHING HAPPENED!

We're told that Mr Benedict has tried going to the authorities, but that they paid him no attention because the subliminal messaging is getting to the adults, too, because you know the only thing that all adults do is listen to TV and radio all the time. It was nonsensical. The question as to why Mr Benedict had not gone to the media or published his proof on the Internet was never even raised. No wonder this moron needed kids to help him. Any kid is smarter than he was, whether they had passed the weird-ass tests Reynard had to take or not! And let;s not even get into the evil twin trope which it takes these geniuses forever to figure out.

I quit it about forty percent in because I could not stand the dull story, and the voice of the reader was just awful. The guy who reads this, Del Roy, must have been in his eighties when he recorded it, and while that voice would have been great had the story been about political machinations or boardroom subterfuge, it was completely out of place here. There wasn't a paragraph went by where I wasn't yanked out of the story at some point because of the incongruity of this croaky voice trying to impersonate these kids. It didn't work, and neither did this story. I can't recommend it.

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