I’ve completed the next three books in the series; The Vile Village, The Hostile Hospital and The Carnivorous Carnival, once again I’m going to share my thoughts on them. These three books were all different, it clearly showed the transition between introductions and mysteries unravelling.
If anything The Vile Village linked to books 4, 5 and 6’s writing style, in that there was one guardian, Hector, who actually tried to care for the children and took what they said seriously. A little like Charles from the Lumber Mill or Jerome Squalor from 667 Dark Avenue. He went against most of the rules in V.F.D (or at least the ones that coincidently would help the Baudelaire’s) but when he really needed to stand up for the children he coward out. And by that I mean when Violet, Klaus and Sunny were sure that the man about to be burned at the stake was not Count Olaf he did nothing to help them stop an innocent man’s death. Therefore we still don’t know who Jacques Snicket was and how he could have helped them, but have another piece to add to the mystery and a fugitive label on our backs.
From then on there has been no guardian to look after the children. There may be people that came close to being guardians but rather were ‘in the way’. I would say that was Hal in the Library of Records in The Hostile Hospital, and Madame Lulu in The Carnivorous Carnival. They were characters that impeded the chance of finding out more about the Snicket Fire. If Hal had a more accurate way of filing files than the Baudelaire’s may have actually found out a little more about themselves. If Madame Lulu hadn’t walked in on them trying to find information in her fortune telling room, maybe more of the articles under her desk would’ve been analysed by them, maybe Count Olaf would never have known that these two ‘freaks’ were actually the three orphan children he was chasing.
These three books are lot more fluid with their endings and beginnings, it doesn’t feel as stop and start as the earlier ones. Once I finished The Vile Village and went onto The Hostile Hospital it threw us straight into the Baudelaire’s walking around in the flat landscape looking for somewhere to hide now that they were ‘fugitives’. The same was done with the end of this book when the kids jumped into the back of Olaf’s trunk, into The Carnivorous Carnival where they are wondering when and where the car will stop. I think this goes back to the lack of guardians, the fact that the Baudelaire’s are now on the run and have no new home to settle into or no new guardian to be introduced to, the story can move quite directly and freely.
The mysteries are more constant and present in characters speech. The Vile Village starts off with a lot of talk about V.F.D because the town itself is the ‘Village of Fowl Devotees’ but is that the actual V.F.D? We conclude the book with the thought V.F.D does not stand for the town. The Quagmire triplets also re-appear in this book and then ‘disappear’ into the air with Hector and in their last moments visible to the Baudelaire’s they throw down their notebooks that hold a range of information, unfortunately – as if on purpose- the books themselves get caught up in a crossfire and the pages get separated and scattered. A few are collected and hoped that they will help in the near future.
In The Hostile Hospital the mystery that unfolds is the Snicket File, and the main area of interest is the Library of Records. Unfortunately – again- it is not a straightforward task for Violet, Klaus and Sunny to find what they need, the book ends with yet another fire and scrambling for a way out.
The Carnivorous Carnival continues the Snicket File drama, with the kids trying to learn more about the one possible survivor of the fire, thinking it could be one of their parents.
So you can see that the mysteries are unravelling more consistently in these books and aren’t just passing comments. I expect we will be getting the most answers in the last two or three books but we still have some reading to do. If you’ve made it this far to the books then I would guess that you didn’t mind the repetitive nature of the first few and you’re trusting Lemony Snicket to have a good ending waiting for you at The End, well I definitely am. I’ll be continuing the series with books 10, 11 and 12 and bringing you the penultimate review/discussion in due time.
Overall, these books were more entertaining the previous, they’re longer, so you feel like there’s a bit more quality and content. It’s still sort of self-explanatory in terms of guessing where the story is going but it’s still fun to read and see if you were right. You still get annoyed at Count Olaf and his troop. You get annoyed at Mr. Poe, possibly for the last time, for not getting the telegram and even more so at Madame Lulu for ensuring the children she could be trusted when she couldn’t.
“I’m at an all time low, low, low, low, low, low, low, low, low”
– Jon Bellion