I’m currently rereading this series in order to enjoy the Netflix series just that little more. I loved this series as a child and I’m loving reading this series all the more the second time round. There was nothing to stop me so here it is. I wrote my notes down in my notebook all about what I wanted to write about and realised there wasn’t enough for an entire long winded review. So I’m doing mini-reviews. This is my A Series of Unfortunate Events : Mini Reviews part one. This is the first lot of four, The Bad Beginning, The Reptile Room, and The Wide Widow.
On with the show.
The Bad BeginningThe Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket, Brett Helquist
Series: A Series of Unfortunate Events #1
on 30th September 1999
Genres: Middle Grade
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I'm sorry to say that the book you are holding in your hands is extremely unpleasant. It tells an unhappy tale about three very unlucky children. Even though they are charming and clever, the Baudelaire siblings lead lives filled with misery and woe. From the very first page of this book when the children are at the beach and receive terrible news, continuing on through the entire story, disaster lurks at their heels. One might say they are magnets for misfortune.
In this short book alone, the three youngsters encounter a greedy and repulsive villain, itchy clothing, a disastrous fire, a plot to steal their fortune, and cold porridge for breakfast.
It is my sad duty to write down these unpleasant tales, but there is nothing stopping you from putting this book down at once and reading something happy, if you prefer that sort of thing.
With all due respect,Lemony Snicket
The first of my A Series of Unfortunate Events : Mini Reviews part one, and it’s a great introduction into the world and the writing style. The sarcastic way in which Lemony Snicket writes is a wondrous feat, and one that I enjoy thoroughly. I think this is something that these books do wondrously well, and the mixture of seriousness and humour is perfect. There is an element of whimsical love about this book that just opens the rest of the series. What makes this book so great is the introduction of Count Olaf and the ridiculousness of him as a villain, but also how perfectly he fits into the story as a whole. In terms of these books, he is the perfect villain. There is a casualty when it comes to the introduction of violence and the evil, it makes it almost all the more realistic. But what really sells this book is the difference in personalities. They are so distinct and well written, you can’t help but fall in love with them and the series.
The Reptile RoomThe Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket, Brett Helquist
Series: A Series of Unfortunate Events #2
on September 30, 1999
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If you have picked up this book with the hope of finding a simple and cheery tale, I'm afraid you have picked up the wrong book altogether. The story may seem cheery at first, when the Baudelaire children spend time in the company of some interesting reptiles and a giddy uncle, but don't be fooled. If you know anything at all about the unlucky Baudelaire children, you already know that even pleasant events lead down the same road to misery.
In fact, within the pages you now hold in your hands, the three siblings endure a car accident, a terrible odor, a deadly serpent, a long knife, a large brass reading lamp, and the appearance of a person they'd hoped never to see again.
I am bound to record these tragic events, but you are free to put this book back on the shelf and seek something lighter.
With all due respect,
Uncle Monty, he is the true star of this book and one of my all time favourite characters. His passion and love for the children seeps off the page and into your heart. So far this has to be the book that I have had the deepest connection with, I loved Uncle Monty as a guardian, I loved learning about his snakes and the way he named them. I thought the situation with the cars was one of my favourites. The confusion with Count Olaf and who should go with you made for one of the best scenes that really entrenched the humour into this series. This is the book in my opinion that does it the best, there is death and laughter within a couple of pages. Something that could have seemed insensitive if it wasn’t done well. This was also the book where the characters began to grow on me and come into their own, they begin to use their traits and I began to visualise them more clearly in my mind. That had to be one of my favourites part of this second book. A happy edition to my A Series of Unfortunate Events : Mini Reviews part one.
The Wide WindowThe Wide Window by Lemony Snicket, Brett Helquist
Series: A Series of Unfortunate Events #3
Published by HarperCollins Publishers on February 25, 2000
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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 signalling 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,
This is unfortunately where the plot points began to get a little repetitive. There was the same kind of thing going on and it ended in the same way, it was becoming a little too much for me and I was beginning to doubt my resolve with the series. But this book did have an Aunt Josephine, she was wacky and her irrational fears framed and made this book completely worth the read. Plus Count Olaf’s entrance was well written and well formed, it was ridiculous as always. But it was believable, a villain preying on a lonely and scared old woman. It was terrible to read about but I loved the grammatical mistakes and the contradictions, plus the ending was scary but well written. Not my favourite storyline but the setting was definitely up there on my list!
I’m hoping to make it through the final ten books soon and then watch the entire Netflix series and give an overview. It should be really soon, the books aren’t very long or complex so they shouldn’t take too long to devour.
Have you ever relived any of your childhood favourites and found them to be just as good as you remember? Have you read this series and fallen in love with the characters like me? Let me know in the comments!
20-odd book blogger, with a huge appetite for books and reading. Follow my ranting, reviews and all my other content written here!