Children's fiction · MG · YA

Review : A Series of Unfortunate Events – #2 The Reptile Room || Lemony Snicket

Author : Lemony Snicket
Genre : Middle Grade / YA
No. of Pages : 192
Publisher : Scholastic, Inc.

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If you read my thoughts on the first book The Bad Beginning , you’d know that it was both a bit more and a bit less than I’d expected. More creepy and less than what I had envisioned (hey I know it’s unfair of me to impose my ‘envisionings’ on the author but I had to say what I had to say) Anyway, I didn’t let the bad beginning (*wink wink) get to me and proceeded with the second book, The Reptile Room. I’m glad to report that I liked this one much better!

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I was creeped out by the title of the book right off the bat. I’m very scared of reptiles (ALL reptiles) and a whole room full of reptiles would mean me running very fast in the opposite direction. I was worried thinking what is Olaf going to do this time? Is he going to lock the children in a room full of snakes, venomous lizards and such until they crack?

My fears were allayed when I started reading because there was no Olaf – at least not in the first half of the book. Following the bitter events at Olaf’s place, the Baudelaires were moved to another distant relative’s care but this time they lucked out. They were to live with Uncle Monty also known as Dr. Montgomery Montgomery, a Herpetologist. Uncle Monty has an impressive collections of exotic reptiles, a huge stack of books; more importantly, he’s really nice to the kids. For a while, life is all good.

Dr. Monty is the cool uncle you wish you had. He makes deliiish Coconut cream cakes, gives the kids a free rein to read his books and play with his reptiles. It was good to see the Baudelaire children happy (despite the creepy narrator’s repeated assurances that this will not last. why does he do that?!)

Uncle Monty plans a trip to the Peru to find new kinds of snakes and plans to take the children along. Naturally, they are all excited. Klaus reads up on the snakes, Violet helps in making the snake traps, even baby Sunny helps. Problems begin when Dr.Monty’s assistant mysteriously stops showing up to work. One day a new guy by the name of ‘Stephano’ arrives and announces that he is the new assistant for Dr. Monty. You can probably guess who that is. The kids, too, recognize him and try to point out to Uncle Monty (who has, of course heard of the notorious Count Olaf) but they fail because he’s cleverly concealed his tell-tale eye shaped tattoo on his ankle. Bad things happen fast after he arrives.

I felt like the atmosphere and tone of this book was different from the first one. It was an easy world to get into and I think reading about the Baudelaires in a comfy home definitely helped the cause. I liked the kind Uncle Monty and his quirky affection for reptiles.

The story itself had interesting elements, like made up exotic animals such as Alaskan Cow Lizard – which apparently gives delicious milk (I’m not sure I’d be a fan of lizard milk though – to each their own I guess?); The Incredibly Dead Viper – a viper which ends up becoming Sunny’s best friend and playmate (friendship blooms even in the strangest of cirumstances, eh?)

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Mr.Poe. Ok, I get it he means well and all that. But that man never listens to what the children have to say. I find it very unsettling the way he completely dismisses whatever they say. WHAT. EVER. I MEAN. It’s frustrating. His character doesn’t add anything to the story and yet, he’s there in every book. Why?!

Overall, I enjoyed reading this book. It feels like I’m finally getting a feel of how these stories go, so I’m gonna start on the next book as soon as I can!

My Rating : ★★★★ out of 5.

~ Mathangi,

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