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The Penultimate Peril

(A Series of Unfortunate Events #12)

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  86,937 ratings  ·  2,293 reviews

Dear Reader,

If this is the first book you found while searching for a book to read next, then the first thing you should know is that this next-to-last book is what you should put down first. Sadly, this book presents the next-to-last chronicle of the lives of the Baudelaire orphans, and it is next-to-first in its supply of misery, despair, and unpleasantness.


Hardcover, 353 pages
Published October 18th 2005 by HarperCollins Publishers
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Michael My daughter wanted me to start reading 6 first, but she said 6-5-4 wouldn't mix them up enough, so we read 6, 4, 5. I think Sunny's answer to "Are you…moreMy daughter wanted me to start reading 6 first, but she said 6-5-4 wouldn't mix them up enough, so we read 6, 4, 5. I think Sunny's answer to "Are you who I think you are?" is funnier if you don't know her siblings' answers, because it's hard to figure out a one word answer for Sunny before she says it.(less)
Brian Get a copy from your local library, bookstore, or read an e copy.

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.06  · 
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 ·  86,937 ratings  ·  2,293 reviews

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Start your review of The Penultimate Peril (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #12)
Do any of you secretly know how to time travel? Have like a weird DIY crystal-/laser-based contraption that gets the ol' hanging-out-with-Cleopatra job done?

I promise I won’t tell anyone, I just have one favor to ask.

Please go back in time and tell ten-year-old me reading this series for the first time that she is peaking.

I will never find a book like this one. Ever. It’s time to give up. I’m going to force myself to forget how to read in order to avoid the disappointment. Time to start my new
Nov 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
We've finally finished the 12th book in A Series of Unfortunate Events "The Penultimate Peril."
This turned out to be one of our favorite installments.

Mild spoilers

In the beginning of the story, the Baudelaires are traveling with Kit Snicket to the Hotel Denouement. Here they'll take up positions as concierges to spy on some of the guests staying there. Their mission is to discern who's working for and against V.F.D. and to investigate who this mysterious J.S. person is in the hotel.

"You're no
Mark Lawrence
Jan 04, 2015 rated it liked it
I'm fairly sure I've never read 12 books in one series before (with the possible exception of Enid Blyton's Famous Five - which I read in random order with gaps, because they're all stand-alones).

To be honest, I don't think that even as a child I would have reached #12 in the Series of Unfortunate Events - which is not to say that they are bad books, more testimony to my need for change.

Anyway, I'm reading these to my daughter and we're in til the bitter end (Book 13).

This volume takes place alm
Mar 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is clearly the book Daniel was aching to write. The best, most complex, most complete, most well-constructed and most enlightening installment in the series. This is the book with the denouement of the series, indeed, and the main theme of the novels shines darkly through to the end. Kit's early insistence that the children will be able to observe nobility in others, to the final pages where nothing at all about nobility could be foggier, the moral ambiguity of adulthood and the wickedness ...more
Apr 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: juvenile
same formula as all the others, but the plot thickens! favorite snicketism from this volume? “the three adults smiled at the children, and the children smiled back, but of course the baudelaires were not born yesterday, an expression which means “young or innocent enough to believe things certain people say about the world.” …violet was born more than fifteen years before this particular wednesday, and klaus was born approximately two years after that, and even sunny, who had just passed out of ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Penultimate Peril (A Series of Unfortunate Events #12), Lemony Snicket
The Penultimate Peril is the twelfth novel in the children's novel series A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. The Baudelaire orphans, Violet, Klaus and Sunny are travelling with pregnant V.F.D. member Kit Snicket to Hotel Denouement, the last safe place for volunteers to gather. She tells them that, prior to V.F.D.’s gathering in two days, they will be disguised as concierges to observe the mysterious 'J.S.,’
Sep 16, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone who's read the first 11.
Shelves: snicket
Here'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 funnies ...more
I liked this book much more than many of the others. The mystery and everything is slowly becoming uncovered. I will do a full series review in my review of the last book.
Ashley Daviau
Mar 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is by far the most complex and interesting book out of the series! I just adored the whole concept of the Hotel Denouement and all the mysteries it contained. And once again we're introduced to a bunch of new and quite interesting characters that really add to the story. I also quite enjoyed the reappearance of characters from previous novels! This is by far one of my favourite out of the series and I'm quite sad I only have one more book left to read!
Kate (GirlReading)
Mar 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
3.75* another fun addition to the series. I really enjoyed all characters that returned in this and the fact that the Baudelaire's somewhat had more people on their side! I can't wait to see how this all wraps up in the end. I'm just hoping (although doubting) all my question will finally be answered...
Jun 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade, mystery
~3.5 stars~
I'm kinda sad there is only one book left in the series, but I'm really curious how this is going to end lol So I definitely will be picking the last book up at the library when I get a chance xD
Beth Hudspeth
Sep 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens, 2017-reads
The end better give me more answers than the penultimate book did. It was full of peril.
Oct 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
I think this is now my favorite in the series. As per usual, a lot of frustrating and sad things happened but I loved seeing old characters again and having more mysteries solved. I really hope the last book won't leave too many questions unanswered - I wouldn't be surprised though.
Aug 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Guys, I don't know what to do. But I cried. I'm not sure what that says about me, but this book was really dark, and it made me get a little teary.

And now the wait for "The End" begins.
Thereza Andrada
Jun 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Richard Cardenas
May 07, 2016 rated it liked it
This series could’ve easily been 11 books to be honest. Books 11 and 12 were filler books in my opinion and a bit on the boring side but I still enjoyed them because I love the characters so much. I’m really glad I got the audio books for 11 and 12, it made reading them a whole lot better and fun. There were some more mysteries thrown in in book 12 and a bunch of characters from previous books make a return which was fun. I hope 13 wraps all of this up. I’m going to miss these characters and wor ...more
Oct 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I know I said this about the last one but THIS is my favorite one so far.
Feb 04, 2017 rated it really liked it

This may be my favorite book, if only for the Scalia burn which served to further cement Sunny as my favorite Baudelaire. Snicket is really very clever and it's easy to forget that these are "children's books."

I'm excited for the next book because a) I need some answers to these mysteries and secrets and b) reading a series back to back like this is starting to take its toll and I'm ready to be done so I can meet some new characters and plotlines.

Off to The End!

Oct 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing
"... One can remain alive long past the usual date of disintegration if one is unafraid of change, insatiable in intellectual curiosity, interested in big things, and happy in small ways." page 180

"I'm not sure we ARE noble," Klaus said quietly, flipping the pages of his commonplace book. "We caused those accidents at the lumbermill. We're responsible for the destruction of the hospital. We helped start the fire that destroyed Madame Lulu's archival library. We-"
"Enough," Dewey interrupted gen
Oct 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
I liked it but I AM SO MAD OH MY GOD! I can’t wait to finish the series bc I am dying. The amount of bad things happening is ridiculous and I am just ready to finish it.
Lauren R.
4.5 stars. Man this one is so good. I loved it. Seeing so many ~people~ do ~things~ and come back was just fantastic. Not ready for these to ends!
Apr 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Now I am finally writing my review for this book, after collecting my thoughts a little bit. "The Penultimate Peril" is one of the best book in the Series of Unfortunate Events and definitely the one with the most shocking moments so far.
Here just a few examples:
(view spoiler)
Nov 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I had legitimately forgotten how much I loved this book. So good! And everyone comes together which is brilliant!
Nov 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books, 2017
Brilliant but completely devastating. And to think, its only going to get worse.
Jun 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
 You've seen your share of wicked people, Baudelaires, but you've seen your share of people as noble as you are.

I know that there is just ONE more book to go after this one, but I think this might be the #1 favorite for me. It begins with the Baudelaire three- Violet, Klaus, and Sunny getting into a vehicle with Kit Snicket and heading to the Hotel Denouement. It's really important to have read all the other books in this series because as the Baudelaire orphans soon realize they're about to s
Feb 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
When we last left the Baudelaire Orphans, they were fleeing from Count Olaf and entering a car with a woman in the back seat who they had never seen before. That woman was Kit Snicket. Kit Snicket, one of the many on the right side of the schism, takes them to The Hotel Dénouement. There, they hope to learn the answers to some of the questions that plague them.

There, treachery is a foot. No one is who they seem to be and lies are a plenty. Kit informs the Orphans that they must rescue the sugar
Sara Williams
Jul 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Book #5 of Booktubeathon 2016

On one hand, I feel happy the story is evolving and abou to reach a climax, but, on the other hand, it seems as if more and more mysteries keep dragging along and we NEVER get any answers at all. I am excited enough to read the ~last volume~.
Jun 12, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

I don’t know... this took me a while to finish. I listened to this on audiobook and I just wasn’t paying much attention I guess, so I missed the small details and only got the general gist of the story. But I think this would’ve been really enjoyable if I’d just paid more attention!
Aug 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult, youth
This one was fun. Is it weird that I want to know everything in this hotel? I would have liked to explore it. I like how this book has recapped so much of the series so far. It really doe a good job drawing you in and letting you know you are close to the end. This one had me wondering whom to trust. Some were obvious NO (OLAF) trust. But others I wondered about. Sunny and Klaus were my favorites of the siblings in this one. Violet did nothing for me in here. I cannot believe how the trial goes! ...more
Deborah Markus
Jan 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
"For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me. I was not in safety, neither had I rest, neither was I quiet; yet trouble came."

This book is probably the most daring in the series, literarily speaking. GR's spell check is telling me "literarily" isn't an actual word, but it's wrong. "Literarily" can be derived logically, so deal with it, spell check.

Snicket *crafts* this book. There are whole passages in mirror-writing. There's a "Not A Cha
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Am I the only one who finds it weird when Kit casually said that the volunteers use to meet in 'opium dens' 4 69 Feb 26, 2020 11:57PM  
Sir and Charles...just business partners? 1 34 Jul 31, 2015 11:52AM  
The Nooks of Books: The Penultimate Peril 1 7 Jan 28, 2015 03:54AM  
The ASOUE Challenge: Books Alluded 1 10 Nov 08, 2014 09:22AM  
ONTD Book Club: The Penultimate Peril 1 9 Feb 28, 2013 02:02PM  
The Ending 2 48 Jul 04, 2012 01:27AM  

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See similar books…
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 Austere Academy (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #5)
  • 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)

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