Illustrated by Brett Helquist
Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire are orphans with miserable luck. Ever
since their parents died in a fire they have been looking for a
new home. Meanwhile, wicked Count Olaf follows them everywhere
they go, scheming to get his hands on the Baudelaire fortune which
Violet will inherit when she turns eighteen.
this seventh installment of "A Series of Unfortunate
Events," the Baudelaire children find themselves in the
town of V.F.D. Thousands of rules -- such as no mechanical
devices allowed, and do not hurt the crows -- govern daily
life here. The only kind person is the handyman Hector, who
lets them use his secret library and inventing laboratory.
Olaf eventually shows up in disguise, of course, but not before
the V.F.D. police arrest someone who looks like Olaf but is
not. Short poems, which may hold clues to the whereabouts
of the kidnapped Quagmire triplets, appear each morning beneath
the Nevermore Tree. And the Baudelaires themselves are falsely
accused of murder. What else could possibly go wrong?
Series of Unfortunate Events" started off strong and
funny with The Bad Beginning andThe Reptile Room,
but by books four and five had nearly stalled in repetition
and its own ridiculousness. But the end of The Austere
Academy, with the mystery of V.F.D. and the kidnapping
of the Quagmires, turned the series in a new direction.
then the plots have continued to thicken in strange and intriguing
ways. Hints reveal the background story, of dead Beatrice
and the author's own peculiar circumstances, to be connected
to the Baudelaires' fate; this time, for instance, we are
presented with the arrival and immediate death of Jacques
Snicket, "brother of a man who --"
are other signs, too, of the series shaking off stagnation.
For the first time Mr. Poe does not return at book's end.
Klaus turns thirteen. And Sunny, whose speech has slowly become
more intelligible, albeit in clever and subtle ways, also
has a surprise in store for her siblings.
there truly never be a happy ending for the Baudelaires? I
can't imagine where Snicket plans to take the series, or how
long he can pull it off. As amusing as his premise is, Snicket
has already come close once to boringly repetitive. For now,
at least, things are still fun, and should be for books to
Visit the Lemony
Series of Unfortunate Events:
Bad Beginning. HarperCollins, 1999
The Reptile Room. HarperCollins, 1999
The Wide Window. HarperCollins, 2000
The Miserable Mill. HarperCollins, 2000
The Austere Academy. HarperCollins, 2000
The Ersatz Elevator. HarperCollins, 2001
The Vile Village. HarperCollins,
The Hostile Hospital. Forthcoming.
jacket image used courtesy of Henry Holt and Company.
by Wendy Morris. © 2001
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