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.
There were a couple of pretty big revelations in this book that I was like WHOA. Some you could see them coming, but they were still like WTF!? I really really really really really want to read through the whole series ASAP, but I’m doing my best not to as these are the book group books for this year.
This book piqued my interest even more than the last because the Baudelaires have decided to try to take charge of their own destiny as much as three children can. They haven’t quite figured it out yet, but they’re working on it, but when Klaus said, “We’ve spent so much of our time trying to escape from Count Olaf, I can’t believe we’re trying to find him.” (Loc. 1200), I almost whooped out lout on the airplane. I was just so happy they were finally acknowledging the idiocy of the adults around them and were going to do something about it.
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.”
We once again join the Baudelaire orphans as they are about to meet their new guardian and of course it’s going to be horrible, that’s a given. But what I wasn’t expecting was how much this book would sort of set me off. I mean I knew it would because of the other books in the series. Snicket is using these books to talk about things we don’t talk about anymore: child marriage, child labor, abandonment and neglect. It’s still a lot to take in but looking at it through this lens has really helped me appreciate the books a lot more than I originally did.
I’m going to go ahead and say it, this was better than Gone Girl. There, now let’s get on to my actual thoughts on this novel.
As with the few Harlan Coben novels I’ve read and even the few J.K. Rowling Cormoran Strike novels I have to ask WTF these people eat/drink/smoke to make them come up with these stories! I know a lot of them are based on some evidence of truth, but really some of these, especially this one, are some dark dark stories.
I had very little expectations going into this one as it’s been sitting on my shelf for a little over two years. I purchased it just after finishing Gone Girl and after I realized a little later that I wasn’t as much of a fan as it seemed everyone else was of that one, I put off reading this one and I’m a little disappointed I did so. There were enough differences between the two and this one I just liked more because I guess it was less psychological and more murder mystery.
This is one of those books that I probably should’ve re-read the entire series before reading. So much has happened in the novels, especially if you go all the way back to the first Percy Jackson book, but even just within the five books of this series it’s been a long journey.
As much as I want to say this was the best book in the series, I honestly think The House of Hades was better. And this is for a couple of reasons. If possible The Blood of Olympus had TOO much action. I get that this is the end of a series which is a spin-off/second half of another series, but this book just didn’t stop with the epic battles. Sure they’re facing the end of the world and Riordan said it best,
“Today, one way or another, their journey would end.” (378)
But honestly, the book left me exhausted and not in a good way. It felt like there was so much that happened off the page that I couldn’t keep track of who was where and what was happening. There are spoilers to the series and this book so don’t read past here if you’re planning to read it.
Atwood is an incredible writer and story teller and there’s really not much more that needs to be said, so when I saw her newest collection of short stories I knew I had to request it! I received a copy from the publisher, in return for my honest opinion:
That would be a little cruel, to leave it just at that even though it would still describe it perfectly. Below, you’ll find a one-to-two sentence review of each of the nine tales and a single quote from each.
On a different note, if you haven’t heard Margaret Atwood is the first author of the future library! This is a project where authors are asked to write a work and it won’t be read for 100 years. This makes me both incredibly happy, as she writes such fantastic speculative/near future fiction, but also sad that I won’t be able to read it! It’s a fascinating project and I could go into it in detail, but really you should just read about it at The Guardian.