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I bought this for a lockdown treat for my granddaughter, who loves this author, she loved it. It kept her reading during the period away from school, and was another in the set she was collecting, and often read to us over FaceTime.
It's hard not to rave about this incredibly clever and original series of books, that genuinely appeal to both adults and children equally. Adults will appreciate the unusual style and sheer imagination and the chance to read something that is genuinely different from other stories, whilst children love the morbid humour, the unpatronising style, and the creative energy. The thirteen books should be read in order, so go back and start with number one if you haven't already read the predecessors.
The Penultimate Peril is the last-but-one of the series, and is full of dramatic and unexpected turns. It's surprising what Lemony Snicket can fit into 13 large print chapters. In this story, the Baudelaire orphans are working as concierges in a hotel organised according to the Dewey decimal system (only Snicket could have thought of something like that!). It's full of joys, such as a swimming pool where sunbathers are turned over with a giant spatula - it's these eccentric touches that make Snicket's books such great fun for young and old alike.
In these later books of the series, Snicket has moved away from the formula of the first half, where the children would be shipped off to a new guardian and then spend the story trying evade the dastardly Count Olaf in various ridiculous disguises. Those always ended with Olaf exposed but escaped, and the children left without a home or parent for whatever reason. Now the stories are at a different stage - the children are more capable and grown up - typified by baby Sunny who now walks and speaks recognisable sentences. They now move around independently - though still from one perilous situation to another, and still pursued by Olaf, who has now been joined by his villainous girlfriend Esme and by Carmelita Spats, who is the very epitome of a horrible spoilt child.
This book brings back many of the characters who have been introduced and lost along the way, of which there are a lot, given how much the children move around. As such, it brings things together in a way they have not been before. However don't expect too many answers - Snicket keeps things mysterious and introduces more new puzzles than he solves old ones. The ending is truly unexpected and rather shocking - I will say no more, but it sets us up for a thrilling conclusion. In his later books, Snicket starts to introduce some moral concepts, quite subtle for those of a children's book, about right and wrong and whether 'fight fire with fire' is a good tenet to live by or not. He expands on this here, with our three plucky heroes left in an impossible situation.
Complicated yet simple, funny yet dark, this is one of the strongest books yet in this series that is full of contradiction and defies easy description. All I can say is, read it.
Lemony snicket is a amazing author who I personally think is one of the best in the world. even thought it am still a child he explains different words so I can use them in my school work. I chose 5 stars because these series of books are truly amazing. They really get you thinking about the life of the Baudelaire orphans and how many "Unfortunate Events" happen to them. Like I said, I am still only a child but these books are a non-stop reader and I would tell anyone who listened about about them.
PS I recently heard that there has been a movie made out to the first 3 books. in an still to watch it but just a sleek peek... Count Olaf = Jim Carey . There are 13 phenomenal books to this amazing series and I do love them very much and I think Lemony Snicket has done a amazing job in creating the "Unfortunate Events" that the poor Baudelaire orphans lives and woes. I am yet to Finnish the 13th book but I am sure that it will be great.
I absolutely love the books in the Series of Unfortunate Events because they draw you in and never get boring, I like how real the story feels and how Snicket almost writes it to you like a private letter I also like all the interesting words he uses (and the definitions) I would recommend this book to 9-13 year olds as I am in the middle of those ages and really enjoyed it, my mum even read a little and liked it to (she's the one who bought me the first book!) I really wish they do another movie on the books because of the first one is really good! I hope this helps.
In this book, the Klaus Sunny and Violet are new volunteers and start to become incredibly mature. The best thing about this book is the fact that it leaves so many new and old mysteries! I definitely think that so far this book is the best one yet. I hope all these mysteries finally come to an end...