Here's the point: The Penultimate Peril continues to tie it all together, and the return on your investment is shockingly huge. Lemony Snicket manageHere's the point: The Penultimate Peril continues to tie it all together, and the return on your investment is shockingly huge. Lemony Snicket manages to tease out a few underlying themes, like what to think when good people let you down, and whether doing evil things makes you an evil person. There are incredible images here of reflections, fire and justice. The illustrations are also picture perfect. And even though the series grows dimmer and darker, it still manages to be one of the funniest I've ever read. I don't get it. I also don't understand why this is called a children's series. The lexile level (the reading difficulty score--check out lexile.com) of this book is 1280, which is higher than War and Peace (1200) and Pride and Prejudice (1100). I love these books. And if you're reading this, you too have probably read them all, and you probably love them as much as I do....more
The thing that I'm finding with this series is that with each installment the payoff increases. It took me a few books to really grasp that Lemony SnThe thing that I'm finding with this series is that with each installment the payoff increases. It took me a few books to really grasp that Lemony Snicket himself could be considered the main character. I've never read such an intrusive narrator, but that's part of what makes it so unique. With each successive book, Snicket reveals more about his part in the story, and each story gets wackier and curiouser, while still advancing the main plot about the mysterious fire that turned the Baudelaire children into Baudelaire orphans.
And LS still finds new ways to crack me up. As an example, there's a children's club called the Snow Scouts. Their motto is, "Snow Scouts are accommodating, basic, calm..." and so on, down to "zippered." It's a wonderful string of 26 (actually 25) adjectives. And the worst/best thing about it all is that they can't stop part-way through once they begin.
Little Sunny Baudelaire really did a lot of growing up in this episode, and she definitely steals a few scenes. Another aspect of this book that knocked me off my feet was when Lemony Snicket suggested that I skip the next chapter and a half because of the tiresomeness of it all. Just to mess with him, I did so, and found a couple of real surprises when I went back to read what I had missed after I finished the book. Those other books (anything not by Lemony Snicket) just don't do that kind of thing.
Of course I can't recommend this book alone. Now looking back, I'm somewhat surprised that the first few books were as good as they were, since each book builds so much on the ones before it. I just might read The Bad Beginning again before moving on to The Grim Grotto....more