If you have just picked up this book, then it is not too late to put it back down. Like the previous books in A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS, there is nothing to be found in these pages but misery, despair, and discomfort, and you still have time to choose something else to read.
Within the chapters of this story, Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire encounter a darkened staircase, a red herring, some friends in a dire situation, three mysterious initials, a liar with an evil scheme, a secret passageway, and parsley soda.
I have sworn to write down these tales of the Baudelaire orphans so the general public will know each terrible thing that has happened to them, but if you decide to read something else instead, you will save yourself from a heap full of horror and woe (goodreads.com).
Again, the Baudelaire children are sent to live with someone else. In this case, they move only a few blocks away from their old burned down house to a street called Dark Avenue. They will be living with a friend of their mothers, Mr. and Mrs. Squalor, in their penthouse on the top floor of an apartment building at 667 Dark Avenue.
Most of the story takes place in this extremely large penthouse and apartment building. Eventually, they figure out where Count Olaf has hidden their friends, who he is impersonating, and what his plan is. It is up to them to try to save their friends and they encounter many obstacles along the way. Of course, no one believes them once they figure out who Count Olaf is, although Jerome Squalor seems to, he doesn’t like to argue with anyone, so when his wife says it is untrue he leaves it alone.
The plot moves at a great pace and was rather interesting. The unusually large apartment combined with the strange things the people in the city are in to makes for a rather fascinating, yet strange story. It is really weird. I also enjoy how the focus of the story is more of the Baudelaire children after Count Olaf to rescue their friends, instead of Olaf really after them. He still wants their money, but is satisfied at the moment with his other orphans.
It is a very engaging story and I am sad to say that the questions that I want answered are not in this one. In fact, an entirely new mystery appears in this book in addition to rescuing their friends and figuring out what V.F.D means. I can’t stand cliffhangers, so I must start the next book right away!
Esme and Jerome are the new characters/caregivers introduced in this book. I was glad to find that Jerome was pretty much normal, but his wife was a nut! The only reason she allowed the Baudelaires to live with her is because they are the “in thing” at the time and everyone must have orphans. They are not the only thing that is “in” either. There are tons of different things, according to the strange people in this city, that are either in or out, such as an elevator being “out” and stairs “in” so no one can use the elevator. There are many other unusal things these people are into and I think you need to discover them for yourself. Esme is completely obsessed with this and has to have everything that is “in” and gets rid of everything that is not. At least Jerome doesn’t seem to be that into it, but since he doesn’t like to argue he just does whatever his wife wants.
As usual the Baudelaire children are in this story and Sunny can do some spectacular things for such a small child, such as using her teeth to climb up an elevator shaft. LOL. Also, we get to see the Quagmires for just a bit and they were even going to explain the meaning of V.F.D, but since the Baudelaires were so sure they were going to rescue their friends they decided that it could wait. Hmmm. I thought they would have been smarter than that! Nothing is ever certain with them.
I have enjoyed the writing of these books since the very beginning. I love the humorous explanations the author provides for children for words or phrases they may not know. I am glad that even though I know these things the explanations don’t disrupt the flow of the story.
This is a great addition to the series, but adds more questions and mysterious than were answered. Hopefully, by the last book everything will be solved. If you are enjoying A Series of Unfortunate Events, then I highly recommend continuing with the series. I believe this is one of the better ones in the series because the plot really seems to be going somewhere and not just repeating itself as in the first few books.
My rating: 4.5/5 stars!
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*photo provided by goodreads.com