When the ad in the newspaper said ‘”Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?”, Reynie jumps on the chance to escape the orphanage. He is rather peculiar, very bright, although not particularly knowledgeable.
The tests which Mr. Benedict set before him and his new-found friends are made to evaluate their potential skills and the strength of their minds. Because the plans he has made for them will most certainly need concentration, quick wits, willingness to work and rely on one another, and bravery.
This book was…pretty good. I loved the beginning, everything about it. The puzzles were clever and most certainly the best part in the book. The plot structure was only okay, a bit on the over-used side (man taking over the world, kids, without the help of adults, out to stop him). The villain was never very creepy or frightening, yet his plot to take over the world was fresh and had the potential to be frightening. It felt toned down for kids, which is totally fine. It broadens the age spectrum by a lot. It actually felt a lot like Spy Kids.
My main concern was how long the book was for the amount of plot. In the audio, there are eleven discs. Compared to the last Harry Potter (which was seventeen discs, which had a lot of side stories and a lot of plot), this one slowed down in the middle and drew it out longer than it needed to be.
All in all, fairly entertaining, although I think I will wait to read the second one because I feel a little burned out, like he killed the plot to death, which is a little disappointing.
For kids, this is a great, interesting action book without being very scary.
Overall Rating: 4/5
Violence: 3/10 (the only major violence is probably brain-washing quite a few workers at an institute, the process isn’t explained, and perhaps the mention of a certain room in this institute will strike fear in a mind because no one knows what is in it, although it turns out to be not so bad)
Audience: Ages 7 and up