Robert's Reviews > The Penultimate Peril

The Penultimate Peril by Lemony Snicket
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's review
Jul 03, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: fiction, leveled-library, 7-2, orphans, a-series-of-unfortunate-events, good-and-evil, series, humorous
Read from May 15 to 25, 2013 , read count: 2

The reason I did not care for this was because I had to pick this up 125 pages in and I had not read the intervening seven books. I think I left off at book four. Such is the life of a teacher. Our groups changed and I had to take over.

The book is zany, as are all these books. I plan to re-read this once I read the other books. I think I will understand things a bit better. There were references to some events I was unfamiliar with. The poor students had not read any of the of the other books before being plunged into this. Sigh . . .

I'm back three years later from this review, four years from having first read it. Things make sense now . . . at least more sense.

Frankly, this book was set up to answer a lot of questions, but alas, the reader is left hanging one last time. We did gain (more) insight to the children's struggle: are they being noble, wicked, or just noble enough? It seems as though ol' Lemony is trying to become pithy here.

Unfortunately, the utterly useless hints of politics were cast aside in this book for the overt. That displeases me greatly. Children should not be used to proclaim one's political philosophies. Unfortunately, for the readers we were subjected to Sunny blurting out "Scalia". The "interpretation" of the youngster's word was, "The literal interpretation makes no sense!" It is this kind of rubbish that is seen throughout our educational institutions. Why can't we have a 13-book story of good and evil without the political hackery? If this had occurred in book one, I would not have returned. It's cheap.

This book was largely forgotten by me save the court scene. Set at the Hotel Denouement (great name, btw), the children are promised by both villains and volunteers that all will be wrapped up by Thursday. But on Wednesday things come to a head. Dewey Denouement is killed by a harpoon, but not before informing the Baudelaires that the library is really beneath the pond in a parallel hotel.

In a scene reminiscent of the final episode of Seinfeld, the entire cast of characters from the previous 11 books come to the hotel. We learn some have been volunteers/friends, others villains.

The trial is held, blindfolded et al., only to find that it is rigged. Who would have thunk it?

In a seemingly treacherous move, Sunny suggests burning down the hotel before they leave. Olaf, who is going with them, is all aflutter at that. But the villainous move saved the mushrooms from being released and acts as a signal to their triplet friends.

The delayed resolution to the many mysteries in this series is frustrating for the reader. Knowing that book 13 is The End, the expectations are quite high from this reader. Lemony needs to come through with a spectacular book that resoundingly resolves all. Short of that, credibility will be lost as this will have been a big waste of time and seen as merely a money grab. Is Lemony up for that challenge? We shall see.
11 March 2009
25 May 2013

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