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The Austere Academy

(A Series of Unfortunate Events #5)

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  139,005 ratings  ·  3,968 reviews
Dear Reader,

If you are looking for a story about cheerful youngsters spending a jolly time at boarding school, look elsewhere. Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire are intelligent and resourceful children, and you might expect that they would do very well at school. Don't. For the Baudelaires, school turns out to be another miserable episode in their unlucky lives.

Truth b
Hardcover, 221 pages
Published August 31st 2000 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published August 8th 2000)
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Average rating 3.98  · 
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 ·  139,005 ratings  ·  3,968 reviews

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C.G. Drews
Mar 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2018, childrens
I'm so FOND of this series. *sniffles happily* I was absolutely obsessed with them as a kid and particularly remember this one's audio because it was narrated by Tim Curry and all I can hear is him sqwaking "CAKESNIFFING ORPHANS IN THE ORPHAN SHAKE CAKESNIFFING ORPHANS IN THE ORPHAN SHAKE."

Obviously my brain retains only the best and most useful things.

Anyway. This was a thoroughly great reread and perhaps one of the worst tortures the Baudelaire had to go through is Nero's horrific violin playi
Mark Lawrence
Jun 22, 2014 rated it liked it
Another decent read with Celyn. It seems that The Miserable Mill may have been the low-point of the series as this volume is an improvement. The formula is applied once more, but with a slight variation in that the Baudelaires find friends of their own age and this alliance faces Count Olaaf with predictably grim consequences.

What steps this up from the previous book is a return to the established level of surreal, i.e. marked but not extreme. In The Miserable Mill we had Sunny fighting a sword-
Jan 14, 2017 rated it liked it
“Friends can make you feel that the world is smaller and less sneaky than it really is, because you know people who have similar experiences.”

This was better than The Miserable Mill, mostly because of the Quagmire siblings.
This doesn't change the fact that it's one of the most tiring series ever. It is comical how depressing these books are, but a little change here and there wouldn't hurt. On one hand I really want to finish this series, on the other I really don't want to read about Olaf trick
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Baudelaires have been whisked away from Count Olaf once again, this time to a boarding school called Prufrock Preparatory School. Principal Nero has assured them that Count Olaf will never find them because of his sophisticated computer system. Of course, his guarantee becomes questionable once the children realize that he’s just another adult that can’t be trusted. All he seems to care about is playing his violin, and horribly I might add! The orphans have been housed in a fungus dripping, ...more
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
I loved this book because the kids are taken to a boarding school where they actually make friends! They meet The Quagmire Triplets and they all hit it off so good until Count Olaf messes things up again !!
¸¸.•*¨*•♫ Mrs. Buttercup •*¨*•♫♪
For Beatrice-
You will always be in my heart,
in my mind,
and in your grave.

This book may not be the most interesting of the five I read so far plot-wise, but man was it funny! I was actually laughing out loud at some point, and really isn't the humour the best thing about this whole series?

I also liked the setting and the new characters... there really haven't been other young characters in the series apart from the protagonists, and it was nice to see them making friends and interact with other

Yes, technically this is the fifth book in the series, but to me, it is the very first.

This is the book when I really start to love this series, which, in case you are new to my reviews or have been otherwise purposefully ignoring my Snicket-related screeching, is my favorite in the world.

This book introduces V.F.D., my favorite combination of three letters in the universe. Over such fan favorites as "eat" and "bye." This book also introduces the Quagmire triplets, who, in addit
Ruby Granger
Apr 04, 2018 added it
Shelves: bullying
I decided to re-read this before watching the new tv adaptation on Netflix. This was by far my favourite book in the series and so it was beautifully nostalgic to return to it...
Lemony Snicket is surely one of the greatest children's writers of our time.

What was your favourite book in the 'A Series of Unfortunate Events' library?
Jan 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-reads

The best ASOUE book I've read so far. I love how the story is starting to have a bit of depth in it. For instance, we were introduced to the Quagmire twins (supposed to be triplets) who were also orphans whose parents died in a fire along with their third sibling. Vice Principal Nero was also very despicable, as well as the cheeky Carmelita Spats. Basically, the misfortunes of the Baudelaires are getting worse in every book. The vocabulary was excellent, it has characters that could poten
Jason Koivu
Feb 27, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
Oh, oh! This is the one where the orphans get thrown into a difficult situation and are overseen by a caretaker who just doesn't care, allowing the evil Count Olaf to get at deja vu all over again.

In The Austere Academy the Baudelaire kids end up at a school, which should be good news, because they love the learning, but of course it's not good. It's never good.

I stopped reading the series for a good long while at this point. Although the quality of this one is slightly higher than t
Kat Thomas
Mar 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
As a series these books are incredible. The formulaic plot that is repeated in every book satisfies the child who is being read to's expectation of what's going on, right and wrong and the band of simple characters.

Where the books become really clever is the additional bits of plot woven into the anecdotes, dedications and acknowledgments, written for the older reader, whether parents reading aloud or older children.

The humour is clever, beautifully insightful and infinitely quotable. Type Lem
Ashley Daviau
Jan 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
These books are so addictive, I'm totally absorbed in the Baudelaire's world and I'm absolutely loving it! Despite these books being totally depressing and grim, I just can't get enough of them! I especially enjoyed this book because it introduces the Quagmires and V.F.D. which adds a whole new aspect to the series. And I still can't get over how ridiculously blind the adults in this series are, it's quite hilarious actually! I've said it in a review for one of the previous books in the series b ...more
BAM Endlessly Booked
Quote from Lemony Snicket-"a good night's sleep helps you perform well in school, and so if you are a student you should always get a good night's sleep unless you have come to the good part of your book, and then you should stay up all night and let your work fall to the wayside, and flunk" lmao ...more
That cliffhanger though...

The Austere Academy is the firth installment of A Series of Unfortunate Events series. I really enjoyed this one and I think it might be my favorite so far. In this, you are still following the crazy adventure that the Baudelaire children are on. Violet, Klaus, and Sunny are now attention a boarding school where they still end up running into Count Olaf in disguise.

Now, of course, I complain about the adults in these books but today I'm going to switch it up. One charac
Sep 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Loved the celery part 😂
Best one so far
Jan 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm not surprised I was so addicted to these books when I was younger, they're super addictive! When season 1 of the Netflix show ended where it did I literally had to reread this because I can't wait much longer for the next season!!

Feel like this book's plot is quite simple compared to the others and not a great deal happens, but Count Olaf's wicked plan still hit me hard. I found myself getting pretty emotional at times because we get to see the Baudelaire's happy with their new found friends
This is possibly one of my favorite books in the series. It was kind of different. I liked the new setting and the new characters. Also, it was quite mysterious. Can't wait to start the next book! ...more
Kate (GirlReading)
Jan 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
3.75* this was a really fun read! I definitely enjoyed it more than book four, it didn't feel quite so dreary and I loved the fact that the siblings finally have someone on their side! It was nice that the plot wasn't quite so similar as the previous few books and I'm excited to see how it continues on from here, as it feels as though this is the first book in the series so far to have left off on a lightly less conclusive cliff hanger!! ...more
MissBecka Gee
I didn't care for any of the side characters in this one.
Even the (view spoiler) were bland.
Tana 🌻 Cozyreadings
Jan 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2019, audiobook
Oooeeeh a new plotpoint... what/who is this VFD?
breana / milkyboos ♡
Dec 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2020
listen to children!!! validate their feelings!!! trust them!!!!
Dec 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book sees a difference in the overall story format that was in the previous 4 books.
The Baudelaires gained some new friends and they did not immediately reveal Count Olaf in his disguise to their 'guardian'. Also, VFD is first mentioned!

My knowledge for this and the remaining books come from the TV show so I'm excited to see exactly what happens!
Oct 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens, audio
I’m over these but the kids still like them.
Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Memento Mori. Remember you will die.

Another pleasant chapter disentangling the Baudelaire orphans' misfortunes.
In this episode, they befriend the Quagmire triplets who will help them defeating Count Olaf.
We finally start having more action and some clue about the big scheme, hinge point of the series.

Five down, eight to go. Next!

3½ stars!

I enjoyed this one more than the previous one. It was better than ‘The Miserable Mill’ and much better than the initial books in the series. Will definitely carry on with the books to see what’ll ultimately happen to Baudelaire children!
Paul E. Morph
Jul 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Again, our augural author apprises us of the Baudelaire anklebiters' agonising (mis)adventures; this time in appalling academia. Allies are attained but, alas, almost at once abhorrently abducted! Can their atrocious antagonist ever be annihilated? Aaargh! ...more
Kimberley doruyter
you would think a grown man would get tired of being bested by 3 children.
Mar 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
3.5 STARS!

A little better than The Miserable Mill but it did have some chunky boring bits that really could've been scrapped. I did like that there was this little mystery thrown in near the end of the book that intrigues the hell out of me and now Count Olaf has kidnapped the Quagmire triplets and will be using them for his insane fuckery filled operations I presume. Those two things I'm excited to see develop in book 6 which I will be starting soon. Carmelita Splats thooooooooooooooo! someone
Rida Imran
Jan 10, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2020
Edit: My rating for all of his books will be changing to 1 (since there's no 0) since I recently learnt he was problematic and he has sexual misconduct allegations against him (google it or here's a link talking about Sexual Misconduct in Children's Book Publishing


I have been reading this series for nearly a year now (I started in March 2019; it is now Feb 2020) and thing is that it has become formulaic. However this book did have the blessed addition of friends and in this book the childre
Jan 31, 2017 rated it really liked it

January 28, 2019. Why do all the adults suckkkkkk?


January 30, 2017. I was more than a little upset about what befell the Quagmire triplets and their notebooks. But it's not as if I didn't know what was coming. On a happier note, I thought it was just the funniest thing when Vice Principal Nero made Sunny his secretary.

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Lemony Snicket had an unusual education and a perplexing youth and now endures a despondent adulthood. His previous published works include the thirteen volumes in A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Composer is Dead, and 13 Words. His new series is All The Wrong Questions.

For A Series of Unfortunate Events:

For All The Wrong Questions:

Other books in the series

A Series of Unfortunate Events (1 - 10 of 13 books)
  • The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #1)
  • The Reptile Room (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #2)
  • The Wide Window (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #3)
  • The Miserable Mill (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #4)
  • The Ersatz Elevator (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #6)
  • The Vile Village (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #7)
  • The Hostile Hospital (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #8)
  • The Carnivorous Carnival (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #9)
  • The Slippery Slope (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #10)
  • The Grim Grotto (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #11)

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