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 484: The Ersatz Elevator (A Series of Unfortunate Events #6) – Lemony Snicket

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.

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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.”

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