Author: Lemony Snicket
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Length: 214 pages
Source: Purchased Book
If you have not read anything about the Baudelaire orphans, then before you read even one more sentence, you should know this: Violet, Klaus, and Sunny are kindhearted and quick-witted; but their lives, I am sorry to say, are filled with bad luck and misery. All of the stories about these three children are unhappy and wretched, and this one may be the worst of them all. If you haven't got the stomach for a story that includes a hurricane, a signaling device, hungry leeches, cold cucumber soup, a horrible villain, and a doll named Pretty Penny, then this book will probably fill you with despair. I will continue to record these tragic tales, for that is what I do. You, however, should decide for yourself whether you can possibly endure this miserable story.
With all due respect,
Protagonists: Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire have escaped the clutches of the dastardly Count Olaf once again and this time they are sent to live with their "Aunt" Josephine, a woman scared of (nearly) everything and obsessed with proper grammar. However, once again it's not long before the villainous Count Olaf finds them wearing yet another disguise that apparently no adult can see through. It's up to the Baudelaire orphans to figure out Olaf's plans and use their extraordinary abilities to avoid being taken away by such a vile and repulsive man. I honestly don't know what to say that I haven't said in my reviews of the first two books. These characters don't really progress or change in this book in any way. They have no real development to speak of and as always they are bright and intelligent children who always seem to figure out a way to thwart their arch nemesis. I know that later in the series there will be development for these characters, and this book is rather short, but I feel like for the third book in a series, even one as long as this, that we should have seen some major development by now.
World Building: Much like with the lack of character development, there is a lack of any real world building. We do get to see a new area in this odd and enthralling timeless world the author has created. A place where if you don't wait long enough after eating and go swimming in the lake you could meet a seriously unfortunate fate. However, much like the previous installment, all you really need to know for the story to make sense is introduced in this installment. It's not as if they pretend the previous installment never happened, but if I, for whatever reason, wanted to skip the second book in this series, I could without any major penalty because the second book, and this one as well, feels very much like a sitcom. Things happen within the installment, but by the end, everything has sort of been reset. Now, I know that things from this installment and the previous one come back in the series, later on, but I wish there was something, other than Olaf chasing the children, that could have a lasting effect from book to book early on in this series because while the stories are entertaining, there isn't really any growth in the stories from book to book.
Foreshadowing: Since everything you need to know about this particular installment is introduced in this story, it's easy to see every bit of seemingly inconsequential piece of information as foreshadowing, and that's just what it is. There is foreshadowing galore in this story and while there are a few twists and turns here and there, things that are much harder to see coming, there are times when the author will tell you exactly what happens before it does. Since it has been so long since I've first read this book I can't tell you whether or not the author telling you key pieces of information before our characters find them out ruins the book in any way, but I would think not as he doesn't give everything away.
As you can probably see I've taken out the "Ending" section because there really wasn't a use for it. Nothing of particular note happens in the end, but if and when things really start to evolve I'll add it back in. Honestly, the story of this installment is really fun, but it felt very unnecessary because we don't see, at least not immediately, the ramifications of this installment as everything is sort of reset by the end.