Drew Graham's Reviews > The Austere Academy

The Austere Academy by Lemony Snicket
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Aug 03, 11

Read from July 28 to 31, 2011

With Book the Fifth, we're right back on track. This time, after the fiasco with Sir and the Lucky Smells Lumbermill, Mr. Poe deposits the Baudelaires in a boarding school. Prufrock Prep seems a suitable place for the orphans to spend their days, until they meet the "tyrannical idiot" who runs the place, self-proclaimed musical genius Vice Principal Nero. Things of course turn immediately when Nero lays down the rules and the new gym teacher Coach Genghis appears.

The Wife remarked that this book seems to be where Lemony Snicket really hits his stride, and I think I must agree. The exposition is over, and the real threads of the overall story start to appear and weave together. There are a lot of notable through elements introduced in this book, including the Quagmire triplets, our first hints of Lemony Snicket as an actual character and part of the story, the fabulously unpleasant Carmelita Spats, Sunny starting to use real words (or variants of real words), the ultimate discovery of the ever-mysterious V.F.D, and of course, the term "cakesniffer". I love the Quagmires, and the Orphans Shack is some kind of genius. When Duncan and Isadora first appear and start talking to the Baudelaires, it seems a little weird to me because the conversation is so normal and pleasant, but that's just because it's such a contrast to the usual ridiculous conversations the poor Baudelaires have to endure. Speaking of ridiculous, Coach Genghis is an amusing character, and there were several times in this story when I get really frustrated at the unfortunate twists and turns. (WHY did you have to drop those notebooks, Klaus??)

I loved it! As you read through these books, there are some patterns of writing and style established that you really start to understand and then even expect, and that's either your thing or not (and, luckily for me, it is mine). Save the Quagmires!
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Reading Progress

07/28/2011 page 69
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