Nicholas Karpuk's Reviews > The Miserable Mill

The Miserable Mill by Lemony Snicket
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Sep 26, 10

Read on September 26, 2010

This book literally sat in a pile of items ready for a trip to the used book store. I read the first three books belonging to Lemony Snickets series, and while I find the prose and humor deeply amusing, and Dahl-style sensibility enjoyable, the formula began to wear on me by the end of the third book.

Fortunately for me, a review of children's entertainment worth adult reading sited this series and said that it strayed away from the formula in the later books. Since virtually any of these books take no longer than a lazy Sunday, I decided to give the fourth book a try.

Turns out, the fourth book is the one where Snicket starts to stray from his own pattern. The children all get outside of their prescribed roles while attempting to solve their problem, the guardian isn't just a well-meaning buffoon who dies, and the situation as a whole is miserable in an entirely new fashion.

It also shakes up the whole Olaf-in-disguise bit. The characters and now well aware of the pattern, they know to suspect Olaf around every corner, and the book mines a lot of humor out of their concern for his lack of an early arrival in their new home.

Having set up a formula, Snicket, being quite the smart ass, has begun to screw with the reader's expectations. And I for one am curious where he'll go with it.
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