The word “carnivorous”, which appears in the title of this book, means “meat-eating”, and once you have read such a bloodthirsty word, there is no reason to read any further. This carnivorous volume contains such a distressing story that consuming any of its contents would be far more stomach-turning than even the most imbalanced meal.
To avoid causing discomfort, it would be best if I didn’t mention any of the unnerving ingredients of this story, particularly a confusing map, an ambidextrous person, an unruly crowd, a wooden plank, and Chabo the Wolf Baby.
Sadly for me, my time is filled with researching and recording the displeasing and disenchanting lives of the Baudelaire orphans. But your time might be better filled with something more palatable, such as eating your vegetables, or feeding them to someone else (goodreads.com).
After traveling rather far in the trunk of Olaf’s car the Baudelaire children finally arrive at Olaf’s destination, the Caligari Carnival, where he wants to meet up with his fortunate teller in order to find out some information about the Baudelaires. Apparently, this is how he has been able to find the orphans no matter where they end up.
Once the children figure out that they don’t have anywhere to go because they are out in the middle of nowhere, they decide to disguise themselves as freaks in order to get a job at the carnival’s Freak Show. Klaus and Violet become a two-headed person and Sunny dresses up as a wolf baby using some of the costumes that were found in the truck of Olaf’s car.
While in disguise the children figure out that the fortune teller may not be who she says she is and one of their parents may still be alive and may be hiding in the distant mountains. After much thought they end up having to join Olaf’s crew in order to get to the mountains. The book ends with them traveling with Olaf and his associates to the mountains and is left on a huge cliffhanger after something happens with the children!
I thought the plot to this book was interesting because this time we get to see the Baudelaires in disguise and Count Olaf as himself. The children do a great job with their disguises and manage to fool everyone for quite some time. While in disguise the children learn that being a person with a deformity or strange talent at this Freak Show isn’t that great. They are laughed at constantly and treated horribly. It is a good lesson for children to learn that you shouldn’t treat people differently because they may be a bit different than you.
The pace of the book was great and I was fairly interested in the story from beginning to end, especially because I wanted to figure out why the book is entitled the Carnivorous Carnival, which you don’t discover until the near end of the book. I was also pleased to sort of find out something about the initials V.F.D. The ending was also great and I am enjoying that the endings are left on a bit of a cliffhanger to make you really want to read the next book.
The one thing that I didn’t like about the book was the crowed at the end as well as the characters who didn’t seem to care that they were sacrificing someone to be eaten by a bunch of ravenous lions. Everyone was really excited about it and that just doesn’t seem right at all.
The new characters introduced in this book are several people in the freak show. There is Hugo who has a hunchback, Kevin who is ambidextrous so he thinks he is a freak, and Colette the contortionist. So far they haven’t played too much of a role in the story, but it seems that they will be in the next book since they are following Count Olaf.
Another character introduced, who won’t be in another book, is Madame Lulu the fortune teller. She ends up not being who she says she is and the children attempt to have her help them, but you know how that goes.
The Baudelaires were entertaining because they had to disguise themselves and become someone else, which took them out of their comfort zone. It was great reading about all the problems they encountered, but I was surprised at how well they were able to pull it off. Also, Sunny is becoming better at speaking, so not everything she says has to be translated anymore!
The writing is about the same as it has been in all the other books, so you will know what to expect. Again, several things are explained to younger readers, but it doesn’t really distract from the story.
This is a great addition to the series and I believe the books keep getting better. I think we are just a little closer to solving all the mysteries!
My rating: 4/5 stars!
My other reviews in this series
Check out these reviews from fellow bloggers!
A review by redheaded wolf
A review by Leaf’s Reviews
*photo provided by goodreads.com