As you saw in Part One on Monday, I planned to reread the Series of Unfortunate Events at some point in my life. When I saw all of the books on Hoopla, I decided to start right away. The first audiobook blew me away and the rest were pretty great too. Here I’ll continue reviewing the second half of the series and give you my overall feels about the whole reread.
The Ersatz Elevator • Book 6
Liked it: Jerome totally meant well, but he was kind of an idiot. I don’t blame him for being tricked, but god – he had no backbone. He hated arguing (which was really his defining trait) and refused to help the kids just for that reason. Overall though: one of the better guardians the kids have had so far. I also like seeing the different ways Olaf is going to disguise his two defining traits, as well as how the kids end up revealing him at the end.
Not a fan of: It’s funny that the kids are able to tell who Olaf is right away, but never his henchmen. It’s always obvious (to me) when random side characters have covered their hands or faces that they’re involved somehow. Otherwise, I really don’t have much to complain about for this one.
Major feels: The fact that VFD is slowly becoming a major plot point makes me giddy. I’ll admit, I don’t even remember what it ends up standing for (or how the series ends at all, for that matter). It’s seriously like reading these for the first time all over again.
The Vile Village • Book 7
Loved it: I don’t know why, but this book is my favorite so far. I think it has something to do with Hector. He’s just the best guardian so far! Usually they each have a weird quirk that pisses me off, even if they’re good people overall. (Jerome and his lack of arguing was annoying, even if he meant well.) Hector’s inability to talk to the Council of Elders wasn’t a big deal. He listened to the kids and supported their quest to find Olaf and the Quagmires. I love the Quagmires’ role in the story too – I honestly forgot how important they become. The poem thing was smart and I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book. As usual, my memory is gone.
Not a fan of: I can’t think of any complaints, really. It was a bit frustrating to deal with the townspeople, Esme’s addition to the story, and Olaf being a butthole as usual. Plus I hate birds so I felt gross listening to their patterns and picturing the town. BLEGH.
Major feels: The ending made me sad. I mean, that’s obviously something that happens in every book… but this one got me right in the feels. Watching the Quagmires sail away like that was depressing as shit.
The Hostile Hospital • Book 8
Liked it: This one is pretty good! I don’t really have any issues with it, except I feel like not much happens? Looking back on a lot of these books, not a lot happens. They are pretty short. I love that some of the mystery is starting to come up – more on VFD, their parents, the Snickets, and the fire(s). I’m starting to think I remember what VFD stands for, as each book refreshes my memory, but we’ll see! Definitely ready for the next book.
Not a fan of: Like I mentioned, not a lot happens in this one. It’s kind of shitty that they’re on the run because they’re “murderers” now. It makes it even harder for them to fit in from here on out. I don’t remember how this gets resolved, but I’m sure something will happen to clear their names…
Major feels: Is it weird that Sunny – a literal infant – is my favorite character? Obviously Violet and Klaus have some great characteristics, but Sunny is just so perfect. I love how she talks and how smart she is for a baby. I’m always interested to see what she says and the “translation” by the author.
The Carnivorous Carnival • Book 9
Loved it: I’m a big fan of the fact that this series is getting less and less formulaic. I mean, it only took 75% of the series to get there… But usually they all follow the same formula: new guardian –> Olaf shows up in a disguise –> bad stuff happens –> no one believes them and Mr. Poe doesn’t help –> repeat for next book. This one (and the previous one) don’t follow it as much. Mr. Poe isn’t involved, the kids are on the run and accused of murder, and they’re just rolling around on their own. Big fan of the changes and learning more about VFD.
Not a fan of: I finished this book a couple of hours before typing this, and I already don’t really even remember what happens? Whoops. It could be my bad bookish memory but I also think it has to do with the lack of action in this until the ending.
Major feels: I know if I’ve said this yet, but I love that there’s always at least one nice character on their side in each book. This one though… not so much. It seemed like Lulu/Olivia MAY help them for a while, but then you find out soon after that she didn’t at all. It’s sad to think that they’re almost completely alone at this point.
The Slippery Slope • Book 10
Loved it: I really love that things are really starting to come together for them. Through the second half of the series, the VFD mystery is at the forefront instead. The first books have so much to do with terrible guardians and moving around, but the rest of them are more fun and mystery-oriented. I don’t want to spoil anything huge (even though this series is super old), but I LOVE that a certain ~someone~ comes into this book! It really helps drive sooo much of the rest of the series because they learn more things about things. Is that vague enough?
Not a fan of: I hated that Sunny wasn’t with them throughout the story because she’s my favorite. I wish there was more of her!
Major feels: I didn’t realize that the meaning of VFD was revealed in this book. I totally thought it wasn’t until the 13th. My theory was correct, so that was fun! It’ll be interesting to see how them knowing will impact the rest of the books. It’s really starting to hit me that there are only a few left 🙁
The Grim Grotto • Book 11
Liked it: This one was pretty good but not a favorite. I can’t really remember much that made me excited, honestly. It was nice because this was the first one where I literally remembered zero things about it. With all of the others (even the ones I barely remembered) I at least could recall the setting or very basic premise of the story. This one was almost like I’d never read it before. Lots of feels coming around for what felt like the first time.
Not a fan of: I definitely wondered how dumb Klaus could be at the end. When some ~alliances are changes~ towards the end, he decided to tell the person where they were heading. Come on guy. They just switched to the bad side! Besides that moment that made want to punch him through the book, this wasn’t too bad of an installment. I didn’t care much for the side characters.
Major feels: Again, kind of great that things are progressing on the VFD front. Not a lot feels-wise except realizing that the series is ending very, very soon. I liked seeing Phil/Cookie come back and other parts of their lives tying together.
The Penultimate Peril • Book 12
Loved it: Even though most of the people the kids have dealt with throughout the series are villainous in some way or another, it’s a lot of fun to see almost ALL of them in one place! The hotel and its inhabitants were fascinating. I was always wondering who would be around the next corner for the reader (and Baudelaires) to encounter. There were a couple of pleasant people that I was REALLY happy to see too! I kept wondering if/when they’d be back. I don’t remember anything about this book yet again.
Not a fan of: xx
Major feels: Don’t read the rest of this paragraph unless you’re okay with being “spoiled” — I’ve been hoping and waiting for Justice Strauss to come back! I had a vague feeling that she would return at some point but just didn’t remember when. It was awesome to see her and I always wished the kids had just avoided everything by sticking with her. Same with Jerome!
The End • Book 13
Liked it: I enjoyed a lot of the events toward the end of the book. I think it was all fitting based on the rest of the story. There were a few moments that kept me super intrigued between the middle and end of the book. The action definitely picked up once the Baudelaire’s were booted from the island onto the coastal shelf.
Not a fan of: Ugh, Ishmael. What an annoyance. I hated the way he would passive aggressively get everyone to do what he wanted. He never let anyone think for themselves. The first quarter of the book was annoying primarily because of that, but then things started to pick up a little more. Beyond that though? I’m not a huge fan of the ending. I was expecting more closure on a few things/people, so that was disappointing. I didn’t expect a full-on HEA considering the title of the series.. but I could have used at least a little more happiness? There was some, don’t get me wrong! It just didn’t feel like a book I was 100% satisfied with as a series-ender.
Major feels: I mean, it’s the last book so the feels are obvious, right? It’s hard to believe I finished my reread of this series in such a short amount of time. Throughout the whole story, I found myself annoyed with a lot of things… but in the back of my mind, I kept wishing it wouldn’t end.
I can’t believe I reached the end! This is such a long series in terms of actual books to read but they’re all so short. I started my reread somewhere around the end of March and finished in the first week of May. For 13 audiobooks, that’s pretty great. I’m so glad I was able to reread this series before the new TV series comes out! Here’s a breakdown of my general feels about this series and audiobook format:
TIM CURRY. I couldn’t have asked for a better narrator. While I did enjoy hearing “Lemony Snicket” read a few books in the middle because of some weird Hoopla situation, it was much more enjoyable to hear Tim Curry. His voice just makes the books so fantastic. I really am so glad.
Grammar & vocab lessons
I just love how each book has some kind of lesson the readers can learn. There are always clever definitions of words throughout the book, but here are other cool “lessons” for people to experience. I mean, I’m not the right age range, so they didn’t impact me much, but I could see kids really learning. One book focused on deja vu. The final book taught the reader about words with different meaning (bear vs. bear, hard vs. hard, etc.).
This article does a nice job of summarizing a lot of the “life lessons” you can get from the series. It teaches you that being well-read is important, no one is 100% bad or 100% good, and that adults rarely know what they’re doing. Everything was taught in a humourous way so kids would never feel preached to.