Friday, February 9, 2018

Book Review: The Ersatz Elevator (A Series of Unfortunate Events #6)

Release Date: February 20, 2001
Author: Lemony Snicket
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Length: 259 pages
Source: Purchased Book

Dear Reader,

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 heapful of horror and woe.

With all due respect,

Lemony Snicket



Protagonists: After the austere events of the previous book, the Baudelaire children are sent to live with Jerome and Esme Squalor, but of course Count Olaf is still right on their heels but this time there's something the Baudelaires want from Count Olaf, the freedom of their friends Duncan and Isadora Quagmire. I want to say that because Count Olaf has in his captivity, two of the Baudelaires' friends that Violet, Klaus, and Sunny were in a different predicament than during their previous adventures, but I can only say that it's slightly different, as the fact that Count Olaf had their friends didn't really affect their initial actions. I probably sound like a broken record by now, but I just wish there were more substance to these characters. I get it, Violet is an inventor, Klaus is a researcher, and Sunny likes to bite things with her sharp teeth, other than a series of unfortunate things happening to them, we get no other characterization for most of this book, let alone the series so far. There is a small amount of something I guess I would call character development in this book... I guess, when the Baudelaires begin to think about timing when it comes to their respective skills, and Sunny does play a larger role in the solutions than usual, but their characters don't exactly develop, just sort of get shaken a bit.

World Building: This story is more or less a return to form, Baudelaires get sent to a new guardian, Count Olaf shows up in disguise, etc. etc. However, I do have to say that the story is a bit longer and that does lead to some interesting developments in the story so far, however, those will be touched on in the next section. One of the things I found interesting was that it was revealed very early on in this story that Jerome and Esme live close to where the Baudelaires once did, but nothing really came of it. I would have liked to see something from their life before the fire, friends, favorite spots to hang out other than a gloomy beach, something to get a better sense of their life before the fire, other than fortunate. I know that I'm now reading these stories with the eyes of an adult, and I did enjoy these stories very much as a child, but I forgot how much substance they lacked in terms of both the characters and the world.

Foreshadowing: This was the shining star of this book. Now, going into this story I have already read it, and it's one of the last installments that I can remember very well, so when I picked up on all the little bits of foreshadowing that I never noticed the first time I read the story, I was astounded. There are some very well placed twists in this story, things that help expand the story, even though they only do so in small ways.

Ending: Once again, I probably should have left the ending off of this review. There is a great final climax, and honestly, I remember as a kid being so anxious about the outcome, there were more books in the series at that time so I knew there would be a more standard ASoUE ending to this tale, but the final climax made me hope for a small ray of hope in a sea of despair. The rest of the ending as you may probably guess was pretty standard, still, I did like how things were shaken up quite a bit toward the end.


The only reason this story is getting three stars is that after the events of the previous book, plus the set up to this tale as well, there was so much the author could have explored and just didn't seem to, I felt like I had a great deal of interesting set up, not pay off, yet still an interesting story, just a tad on the bland side.


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