A Series of Unfortunate Events: Book Review 10-12

Here are my thoughts, ideas and take on the next three books in The Series of Unfortunate Events series, they are The Slippery Slope, The Grim Grotto and The Penultimate Peril.

I noticed more than any other book that these were heavily dependent on a location. Then I thought back and realised it was the case in each book. In book 1 they lived with Olaf but lived across from Justice Strauss and it was her books that saved the day, book 2 the reptiles were used as a scapegoat for killing Dr. Montgomery, and so on. The settings in these three books (10, 11 and 12) however, were vital for revealing more secrets and questions, almost like a turning point in the books. In The Slippery Slope we learn about the Valley of Four Drafts and the V.F.D headquarters that was once there but is now burnt down, in The Grim Grotto we learn about Medusoid Mycelium in the middle of the grotto and how it had been invented by volunteers of V.F.D, and in The Penultimate Peril we learn that everybody is connected some are good, some are bad and sometimes some are both. The locations presented challenges on their own, Violet had some work cut out for her. She stopped the caravan from toppling down the mountain, saved Sunny from the deadly mushrooms and was key to surviving the burning down of the Hotel Denouement.

Again new characters are introduced, and some old one’s reappear. We meet Quigley who is a Quagmire triplet, the one who is believed to be dead. Carmelita is brought back into the story, and supposedly can roam the world freely as she is then taken in by Esme and Count Olaf. We meet Captain Widdershins and Fiona, catch up with our old mate ‘hook handed man’ who is actually Fiona’s brother! We wonder who the initials J.S. stand for and later find out it is Justice Strauss and Jerome Squalor, and we also meet Kit Snicket. Along with many many others, too many to mention here.

I think these books also saw the secrets get more complex, previously we had a few bullet point secrets – V.F.D, why Count Olaf burned down the Baudelaire house and why was there a tunnel connecting parts of the city. Now we had more meaty secrets like, why are there so many V.F.D meanings, how did Quigley Quagmire find the Baudelaire’s, why would someone from V.F.D create a deadly mushroom, who are Captain Widdershins and Fiona, why did Fiona change sides, who is Kit Snicket, how is everybody connected. There is so much more to find out and whilst some of these questions have been answered or we can make assumptions on their answers, how is everything going to be resolved in one more book!?

Besides the actual occurrences of the book the feeling you get when reading is definitely heightened compared to the previous books. It may be because you feel like you’re getting close to ‘the end’ and are speeding through them in order to get the most out of them. But I also think Lemony Snicket has made all the books in the series engaging. The repetition I’ve mentioned previously is a way of engaging, to see if you’re paying attention. The repetition I’ve mentioned previously is a way of engaging, to see if you’re paying attention. But it’s also quite prevalent in chapter starts. They are without doubt the most engaging element, often the preface the events about to take place in the chapter with a little anecdote or fun visual effect. For example book 9 had a déjà vu page which was basically reprinted onto the next page. One notable mention of these three books was definitely in book 12 with the mirrored page. Those small idiosyncrasies are things I love and look forward to in these books.

With that being said there is still the element of obviousness, one clear example for me was the cure for the Medusoid Mycelium. The constant reminding that Violet had wasabi in her pocket was a dead give-away that it would be the thing to save Sunny. But I have to be honest this book is aimed at young teenagers and as a mid-20 year old something that is obvious to me may not be as clear cut to a younger reader.

All in all I am still loving this series and am looking forward to finishing it off and getting some answers. I’ll be back with my final review on the series in due time! In the meantime let me know if you’re also re-reading the series or if any of my posts have prompted you to learn more about the series.

– ME

“Do you have to let it linger”
The Cranberries

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