Book Group, Books

Book 483: The Austere Academy (A Series of Unfortunate Events #5) – Lemony Snicket

I don’t know why, but for some reason I always assumed the man on the front of this book was Count Olaf. Maybe it’s the illustrator’s style, but either way I was surprised to find out it wasn’t him.

This book is just as ridiculous as the rest, but not as dark. As the story begins to turn away from the day-to-day struggles of the Baudelaire orphans and their guardians to the broader mystery of their parents death I’m starting to be more interested in the series. There are just as many incompetent adults in this novel as in all the others, but honestly I think this is the least dark when it comes to physical violence, but it’s one of the worst when it comes to abuse and situations children shouldn’t be put in because of “rules.”

Olaf, of course makes an appearance, but it feels like he’s playing the long game now, whereas he was previously out for the quick cash in. I like that the Baudelaire’s are starting to be more take charge and outgoing about circumnavigating Olaf. They’re keeping their eyes out and they’re thinking of preventative  measures because they know Olaf will be back.

What I enjoyed most about this novel, perhaps because of the terrible no good bad day feeling about these books, was that the Baudelaires, or at least Violet and Klaus, make friends in this novel! It’s a weird friendship and the friends are weird, but it’s still friendship. One thing I didn’t understand and I’m hoping Snicket explains later, is that the friends had to stay in the orphan hut at some point, but don’t anymore. Why was that? It just sort of irked me a bit.

Recommendation: Same thing as the last book, read them back-to-back because they get better when you hit the third or fourth book and the story gets more involved. I’m ready to find out what happened to everyone after this book and I’ve got long-term questions from the hints Snicket keeps dropping about them.

Opening Line:If you were going to give a gold medal to the least delightful person on Earth, you would have to give that medal to a person named Carmelita Spats, and if you didn’t give it to her, Carmelita Spats was the sort of person who would snatch it from your hands anyway.”

Closing Line: “The Baudelaire orphans looked up at the motto and vowed that before they died, they would solve this dark and complicated mystery that cast a shadow over their lives.” (Whited out to avoid spoilers, highlight to read.)


7 thoughts on “Book 483: The Austere Academy (A Series of Unfortunate Events #5) – Lemony Snicket”

    1. Yeah if you can make it through the first four (which is a lot to ask, but thankfully they’re short) it feels like the story is picking up and it’s going to be a good mystery/follow the clues type series.


  1. As I said on your last review, this book was my favourite in the series–maybe because, though the adults are all incompetent, many of the children are also cruel, so it doesn’t reinforce the “adults are literally all terrible and can never be trusted and Clever Children must always disobey” narrative of the previous four books! With regard to the Orphan Shack, I thought the Quagmires were simply moved out to make room for the Baudelaires, but I might be misremembering that entirely.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah they may have said it but it just didn’t click with me. And for me this was more the turning point from the previous books probably also because of the kids but mostly the not exact same cookie cutter.


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