Book Review: Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this book about a group of children who participate in a lock-in at their local library and have to solve puzzles to find their way out and win a grand prize! I love books about puzzles, and this one reminded me of The Mysterious Benedict Society, at least in the puzzle and codes aspect of the story.

The codes and mysteries are truly delightful to unravel, and I loved the setting in the fascinating library! This library has holograms and a reading rotunda and a dome that lights up with clues. There are museum displays and game rooms, entertainment consoles and fountains and statues. I could really imagine myself in this incredible library along with the characters!

My biggest problem with this book is that there is no character development. The characters are flat, and they don’t really grow. I’m a very character-centered reader, so this is a big deal for me.
Both characters and plot lack depth.

Mr. Lemoncello is pretty much a Willie Wonka rip-off, with a funny voice and a weird sense of humor, strange costumes and cryptic comments. I wish his character had been more original.

The only character who really intrigued me was the librarian, Dr. Zhenchenko, and she is barely in the book. I wish her character was more developed.
The other character I really liked was Sierra, who just wants to read all the time instead of playing the game. I also wish she had been more developed and had some depth to her character.

I didn’t particularly care about Kyle, the main character. I wanted to see him win, mainly because I wanted to see the puzzles solved, rather than wanting the hero to win because of any emotional attachment to him. He has a tiny bit of character development, but it’s so small as to be negligible. There’s no real change in his person.

Take away the puzzles and the cool library setting and this book has no story really. There’s no depth, no underlying problem that needs to be resolved, no major life change for any characters, no emotional upheaval, …even the bad guys are flat, and I don’t really care when they are defeated. eh.

But I DO adore puzzles, mysteries, codes, conundrums, riddles, word games, and especially… libraries!

View all my reviews

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