Friday, February 23, 2018

Book Review: The Vile Village (A Series of Unfortunate Events #7)

Release Date: April 24, 2001
Author: Lemony Snicket
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Length: 272 pages
Source: Purchased Book

Dear Reader,

You have undoubtedly picked up this book by mistake, so please put it down. Nobody in their right mind would read this particular book about the lives of Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire on purpose, because each dismal moment of their stay in the village of V.F.D. has been faithfully and dreadfully recorded in these pages. I can think of no single reason why anyone would want to open a book containing such unpleasant matters as migrating crows, an angry mob, a newspaper headline, the arrest of innocent people, the Deluxe Cell, and some very strange hats. It is my solemn and sacred occupation to research each detail of the Baudelaire children's lives and write them all down, but you may prefer to do some other solemn and sacred thing, such as reading another book instead.

With all due respect,

Lemony Snicket



Protagonists: Once again I'm sad to inform you that while the Baudelaire children are once again made subject to a dreadful tale of events, they still possess no more substance of character than in previous books. These smart and charming children once again use their personal talents to try as hard as hey can to thwart their pursuers for good. Honestly, I'm considering getting rid of this section on reviews for these books until there is actual character development. I was rewatching the Netflix series the other day and, while it's not perfect, the characters at least seem to have some substance to them as opposed to their novel counterparts. While I was reading this story all I could think was about how interesting the Netflix adaptation of this story would be with characters that felt more real.

World Building: In this story, our hero and heroines find themselves without any more family members willing to risk a run in with Count Olaf. As such they are given the choice of which village will act as their guardian, after all "it takes a village." After scanning the brochure they choose the most interesting one, V.F.D. They hope to find answers in this town but they may just be barking up the wrong tree. We don't learn more about the real V.F.D. here, or, well, we do, just nothing substantial. However, there are some interesting story developments. In fact, this is a pivotal installment in the series for multiple reasons, the least of which is that after this book the formula will be shaken up quite a bit.

Foreshadowing: The foreshadowing in this book is actually pretty subtle. In previous installments, it could get a bit heavy-handed, but here well, there isn't all that much to point out where things are going. As I said the formula is going to get shaken up a bit and because of that there's a lot in this story that I honestly believe if you've never read this installment, or any that came after this one, you'd really be shocked at how everything goes down.

Ending: This ending is one that has always stuck out to me since it's the beginning of this series break with conventions. This tale doesn't end like the ones previous and in fact, as I've said ad nauseam, sets off a chain of events that will ripple forward till the very end of this series. In fact, I was surprised that the Netflix series decided not to end season two here, as it does sort of end one arc of the story, instead, they pushed forward a couple more installments so I'll be interested to see how season two ends, mainly because I forgot how The Carnivorous Carnival ends.


Once again, I couldn't bring myself to give this book five stars. Even though this is one of my favorite installments, the fact that the children felt like two-dimensional characters is still something I couldn't get past. I get it, Violet is an inventor, Klaus is a researcher, and Sunny likes to bite things, show more depth in these characters, please!


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