Book 493: The Grim Grotto (A Series of Unfortunate Events #11) – Lemony Snicket

Okay, so maybe it’s because I’m binge reading these, but I can’t stop saying OMG OMG OMG. So many cliff hangers and “say what’s,” I should’ve put all of the books on hold at the same time. I’m still waiting for the last two as I write this but I should get them any day and hopefully will have read them by time this post publishes. Fingers crossed at least.

We’re in the thick of the mystery aspect of this series and the plot continues to become more convoluted. It’s hard to say who is or isn’t alive and how long they’ve been so. There was a reveal at the end of this book that I think is leading to something that I’ve been waiting for since my friend let something drop that wasn’t really a spoiler but a is this going to happen or not type question.

I enjoyed that Snicket continued to play with literature and introduce more of “the classics” to younger audiences in somewhat comical ways. And I like that he’s playing with archetypes and tropes,

“Having a personal philosophy is like having a pet marmoset, because it may be very attractive when you acquire it, but there may be situations when it will not come in handy at all.” (Loc. 442)

He may have taken the sea captain a little too far as it started to annoy me, but I could definitely see where a younger person would truly enjoy a bunch of seemingly random Aye’s over and over again.

Snicket has also continued to connect the Baudelaire’s story to broader feelings and emotions, which he has either done more skillfully as the series progressed, or he purposefully left it out earlier in the books.

“It is often difficult to admit that someone you love is not perfect, or to consider aspects of a person that are less than admirable.” (Loc. 1342)

“‘People aren’t either wicked or noble,’ the hook-handed man said. ‘They’re like chef’s salads, with good things and bad things chopped and mixed together in a vinaigrette of confusion and conflict.'” (Loc. 1948)

The last book re-introduced us to Carmelita Spats from The Austere Academy who seems to be the only child villain in the books. And she’s just nasty and vile and I hope she gets her just comeuppance. I am starting to wonder if Snicket wraps everything up though, there are only two books left clocking in on the Kindle at 368 pages each. I guess I’ll find out sooner rather than later.

Recommendation: READ IT. As I said earlier,I think it was the end of the book for me that made it. There were so many questions raised and new insights made that people are becoming humanized I don’t want to be humanized and I have questions about others!

Opening Line: “After a great deal of time examining oceans, investigating rainstorms, and staring very hard at several drinking fountains, the scientists of the world developed a theory regarding how water is distributed around our planet, which they have named ‘the water cycle.'”

Closing Line: “‘I’m Kit Snicket,’ she said, and the Baudelaire orphans climbed aboard, turning the tables of their lives and breaking their unfortunate cycle for the very first time.” (Whited out to avoid spoilers, highlight to read.)

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Book 492: The Slippery Slope (A Series of Unfortunate Events #10) – Lemony Snicket

Again with the cliff hangers and the sudden reveals?! It’s like Snicket figured out people were getting bored or he was playing the long game and waiting to reveal everything in the last half of the series making it worth the trudge through!

Similar to The Carnivorous Carnival, I was excited to see the Baudelaire’s being separated and having to work on their own to solve problems. Since we’re seeing this through Sunny in the last book and this book, it’s definitely felt more like character progression than Klaus’ and Violet’s interests in reading/researching and inventing that were built in from The Bad Beginning. Don’t get me wrong it sucks they are separated and Count Olaf seems to be getting closer and closer to achieving his goals, but they’re verging on real peopleness now!

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Book 491: The Carnivorous Carnival (A Series of Unfortunate Events #9) – Lemony Snicket

Not to set the standards to high, but this may be the darkest of the books, which is saying something after The Wide Window and the kids being offered up by their guardian for death instead of the guardian. I’m not sure if it has to do with this book hitting the closest home to our current state of affairs in the US, or if it just hit home to me.

As I keep saying, and as is to be expected, the story and the characters are continuing to evolve and become more complex. The Baudelaire’s took charge at the end of the last novel and took their own fate into their hands and ended up following Count Olaf and his troop of evil-doers this time rather than the other way around. But what I took from this story wasn’t even the moving forward of the series, it finally clicked why we are reading this series this year after Trump’s election.

This book takes place in a carnival, shocking detail right, and the big focus is on the freak show of the carnival, but when it comes down to it it’s not really a freak show, it’s a prejudice show. And with the way we talk about anyone and everyone in today’s media and everyday conversation it sort of hit me that Snicket was just amplifying what was actually happening in the U.S. to idiotic proportions and yet that’s where we are now. When I read,  Continue reading

Book 490: The Hostile Hospital (A Series of Unfortunate Events #8) – Lemony Snicket

Now we’re going places!

I know I said this with the last book, but things are definitely starting to pick up with the Baudelaire orphans and I’m thoroughly enjoying the series now. I’m not sure if it’s because Snicket appears to be writing more to include the adults who probably read these to younger children or if there is something more to it.

In this novel he lists a few of Virginia Woolf’s iconic characters (Orlando and Clarissa Dalloway) and he even randomly name checks two of arguably the most famous non-English authors out there Mikhail Bulgakov and Haruki Murakami as patients in the hospital.

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Book 486: The Vile Village (A Series of Unfortunate Events #7) – Lemony Snicket

It will come as NO shock that the next installment of our book group was Lemony Snicket’s The Vile Village. That’s the fun thing about reading a series, you already know what you’re going to read and you just have to space them out so you don’t read them too fast. That being said, I have the next four already on my kindle ready to read!!!

The series, as I said in my response to The Ersatz Elevator, appears to be picking up pace. The Baudelaire orphans seem to be taking on more responsibility for their own well being/future (or as much as they can) with the incompetent adults around them doing nothing. I’m glad to say the rest of book group agrees that it’s starting to pick up the pace.

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Book 479: The Wide Window (A Series of Unfortunate Events #3) – Lemony Snicket

If I weren’t reading this for book group, I don’t think I would keep reading the series. The exponential increase of negativity and darkness is too much for me. I’ve struggled with the balance of the darkness and the humor. Thankfully, the one person in our group who has read them told us that they’re not all as doom and gloom as the first few and that other story lines develop, so needless to say I’m looking forward to that.

This one was once again even darker than the one before, and the reason I wrote about the above. There was a scene where the person who was supposed to be the Baudelaire’s guardian offered them as a sacrifice instead of themselves and I was like WTF, this is just too much. I also felt the appearance of Count Olaf and the rapidity of the demise of the guardian was even faster than the previous books.

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Book 478: The Reptile Room (A Series of Unfortunate Events #2) – Lemony Snicket

I’m still not sure what to think about these. This one got so much darker so much faster than the first book. I’m also trying to figure out why these books are okay for kids.

I mean I get it, but it’s a bit overwhelming when you think about how dark and how dangerous these books are. Thankfully there’s a lot of (light and dark) humor that it sort of balances out.

I actually really enjoyed Montgomery Montgomery and was sad how that ended, but I’m continuously amazed at how idiotic the adults are, which really is why we’re reading these books this year because of the whole Trump elections thing.

What I enjoy most about the series so far is that Snicket’s language skills are incredibly great and with a town called Tedia (think tedium), Lousy Lane, and there are even more ways in which he plays with language.

Recommendation: The series is good and I’m enjoying it so far. I’m fascinated by Count Olaf and all of his pawns, but I’m concerned that we won’t get that far with these characters because these are children’s books.

Opening Line:The stretch of road that leads out of the city past Hazy Harbor and into the town of Tedia, is perhaps the most unpleasant in the world.”

Closing Line: “They stood together in the moonlight, and kept waving, even when Bruce shut the doors of the van, even as the van drove past the snake-shaped hedges and down the driveway to Lousy Lane, and even when it turned a corner and disappeared into the dark.” (Whited out to avoid spoilers.)