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.

qi trr

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!

The_Reptile_Room_USA

wil trr

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 collection 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?)

widl asoue

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,

1a765a1d8189585ce6e3c411fba93f35

Advertisements

Review : A Series of Unfortunate Events – #1 Bad Beginning || Lemony Snicket

 

Author : Lemony Snicket
Genre : Middle Grade
No. of Pages : 176
Publisher :  Scholastic, Inc.

qi asoue

When I saw a bunch of ASOUE books at the Book fair, I couldn’t resist buying them. I know they are children’s book but I hadn’t read them as a kid. I saw beautiful matching hardcovers and I. couldn’t. resist. even though only not all books in the series were available.

The title and the synopsis totally got me. Since I’m basically an incarnation of the Grinch, I don’t enjoy happy endings and I do like to watch a character suffer in a book. So you say there’s a whole series dedicated to bad things happening to the main characters? SIGN ME UP. This is how I was hooked.

If you, like me, are new to this series, the first book The Bad Beginning begins with the three Baudelaire children enjoying a cloudy, gloomy day at the beach when they get the news of their parents’ death from Mr. Poe, their family friend. Their mansion has burned down and they literally have nothing left. Now these are kids, the eldest girl, Violet only being 14, middle child Klaus 12, and an infant baby girl Sunny.

According to their parents’ will they are to live with the nearest living relative until Violet is 18 and inherits their money. Seems logical enough so far. Except, the nearest living relative turns out to be a psychopathic Count Olaf whom these kids have never even seen before.

From this point onward everything goes down the Cinderella-style-child-abuse rabbit hole minus the fairy godmother and prince charming. It is made very clear that Olaf will do anything to get his hands on the Baudelaire riches.

BadBeginning

wil asoue

The kids are grief-stricken from their parents’ death, alone and very scared. but they are smart and smart enough to take care of themselves even in the most dire situations. Klaus, the bookworm, has read extensively from his parents’ library and knows a lot of things. Violet, is an innovative inventor and can anything out of things available at hand. Even the infant Sunny is useful with her sharp teeth and her proclivity to bite things.

Which is probably a good thing because, the adults in this book are no good. Be it the completely oblivious, mumbling mess that this Mr. Poe, or his opportunistic wife, or the sweet-but-stupid neighbour Justice Strauss (how did she become a judge?!?!), any one whom you might think is likely to help the kids, they don’t. Count Olaf is just THAT crafty and the kids THAT unfortunate.

Lemony Snicket does not simplify the language too much, he has peppered the book with big words along with their meanings, which I think will help younger readers. Some may argue that this may be spoon-feeding and eliminates the need for kids to pick up a dictionary though. That makes sense too, although it’s an argument for another day.

widl trr

Count Olaf. I know, I know, he’s the villain, we’re meant to dislike him. But that guy is proper trash. I HATED how arrogant he was, walking about the place with his lackeys, crafting ideas to bring down the kids.

I thought he was vile when he made the kids clean the toilet with a toothbrush and cook a feast for his actor friends. And then he goes to the length of blackmailing Violet into marrying him so that he can inherit her property. or he tries and fails; but the point stands that she was only fourteen. This being a children’s book, it really didn’t need to have a character with paedophilic propensities.

As much I like reading about suffering, the unfortunate situations the kids got into did feel forced at some point or the other. Like they written just for the author’s kicks. And may be also for people who enjoy that sort of thing, but it turns out it was more than I could enjoy. But I’m not going to abandon the series just yet; in fact I have definitely planned to read the other books when I can. May be I’ll love it more as the series goes on. May be I won’t. Let’s find out shall we? 🙂

My Rating : ★★★ out of 5.

~ Mathangi.

1a765a1d8189585ce6e3c411fba93f35