If you are looking for a story about cheerful youngsters spending a jolly time at boarding school, look elsewhere. Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire are intelligent and resourceful children, and you might expect that they would do very well at school. Don’t. For the Baudelaires, school turns out to be another miserable episode in their unlucky lives.
Truth be told, within the chapters that make up this dreadful story, the children will face snapping crabs, strict punishments, dripping fungus, comprehensive exams, violin recitals, S.O.R.E., and the metric system (goodreads.com).
Once I get to a certain book in a series, especially one as long as this, it becomes more difficult to write reviews. The plot in this particular series is pretty much the same, which by now I am sure you are familiar with. However, I am pleased to say that I really enjoyed this book because it does slightly branch off from its typical plot.
Yes all the horrible things that can happen to the children do, but what I absolutely loved about The Austere Academy was the friends that the Baudelaire’s make while attending school. I thought it was fantastic that they finally have a bit of happiness in their lives! Their new friends believe everything they tell them about Count Olaf even when the adults don’t, and their new friends help them figure out what Count Olaf is up to now. Figuring this out actually becomes a bit of a challenge because it isn’t until later on in the book when they finally figure out his plan. I wasn’t sure at first how making the children run laps all night was going to get him what he wanted.
I also thought the book had a fantastic ending. Unlike the other books, this one really hangs on a cliffhanger. I know I can’t go too long before reading the next one because I have to know what happens to the Baudelaire’s new friends as well as what V.F.D refers to. I am hoping the next book is just as good as this one!
The story also moves at a great pace and there are tons of things going on in this book that really keep you interested. I think it’s one of the longest books so far, but it moved so much more quickly for me than the others!
The usual characters appear in this book as they do in all the others. Violet, Klaus, and Sunny are back as well as Count Olaf although there isn’t too much of him. The one noticeable thing that is changing is Sunny’s speech. Some of her words are becoming much more recognizable as she gets older.
Vice principal Nero is the one in charge of the Baudelaire children while attending school and let me tell you that he is quite a character! I find him to be a highly unintelligent, horrible person! He only cares about himself and his stupid violin concerts, and doesn’t realize how bad he really is at it! I’ll let you find out for yourself. He is quite annoying! Ugh!
Duncan and Isadora Quagmire are the friends that the Baudelaire’s meet at their new school. Like themselves, the Quagmires are orphans and were once in a similar situation so they understand a bit about what Violet, Klaus, and Sunny are going through. We also find out that Duncan and Isadora are twins, but are actually referred to as triplets because they did have another brother who died in a fire. In order to remember their brother they like to be known as the Quagmire triplets and not twins.
Both Duncan and Isadora are a bit like the Baudelaire’s, but we don’t find out too much about them in this book. Isadora really likes poetry and they both take tedious notes on just about everything within the notebooks that they constantly carry around. Duncan and Isadora also like to read about as much as the Baudelaire’s.
I thought it was great that the children become such good friends and really care for each other by the end of the book.
This was a fantastic edition to the series and a much needed change. I loved that the Baudelaire children make friends in this story so it wasn’t quite as depressing as all the others, and the ending of the book was really engaging. Even though this was one of the longest books in the series so far, it felt much quicker because it was more interesting. If you are enjoying the series so far the I highly recommend continuing. I know I have to find out what happens in the next book!
My rating: 4.5/5 stars!
My other reviews in this series
Check out these other reviews from fellow bloggers!
A review by Leaf’s Reviews
A review by Crash My Book Party
A review by Carra Lucia Books
*photo provided by goodraeds.com