Benny, Benny, Benny. How many times will you find yourself facing impossible odds only to be miraculously rescued by some stranger who steps out of nowhere?
How many times will you or Nix mention jets and make me mentally sing, “B-B-Benny and the Jets”?
I’d say about one more book. This series is really just good enough to let my literary OCD tell me to keep reading, but the plot twists are increasingly frustrating. For instance, in this one there is a scene where our teen heroes and the young girl Benny rescued is facing a pack of African lions in the American desert. After a few chapters in which the kids face the lions and bicker and wisecrack, the lions finally charge … only to be repelled by total strangers who appear out of nowhere. The strangers then point guns at the kids and it looks desperate until … you guessed it … another set of strangers arrives to break up that situation. This “twist” is so common in this series that I don’t even feel suspense when the kids are in a bind because I know somebody will bail them out.
Some of the idioms the kids use are still troubling, things that make no sense in the context of the world in which they’ve grown up. Benny and Nix’s angsty dialogue — both inner and outer — gets wearisome.
This all sounds pretty negative, and yet I’ve read three of the books in just over a month and will start on the fourth tomorrow. Part of that is simply that I hate to leave a series unfinished, but honestly, the story is good enough that I want to know how it all ends up.
I did appreciate Maberry’s note on grief at the end of the book.