Customer Review

38 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Sinking Series, 6 Nov 2005
This review is from: The Penultimate Peril (A Series of Unfortunate Events: Book 12) (Hardcover)
If you’ve reached this far in this unhappy series of unfortunate events, what I have to say will probably not make you any more upset than you already are, as you may already be in need of some Very Fortified Diazepam, which means in this sentence “little pill of extra strength sedating medication”
The longest book in the series, it is the one that has the least to say, advancing the plot not one iota, which here means “we’re pretty much the same place we started after 353 pages”.
The Baudelaire orphans next destination is the confusing Hotel Denouement, where the rooms are organized according to the Dewey Decimal System, which means, in case you didn’t know, “absurdly complicated library classification system understood only by librarians and people who spend a lot of time in libraries”.
Disguised as concierges, by which we mean “hotel employees who have to do flunky work for annoying guests”, the Baudelaire’s mission is to be flaneurs, which is Kit Snicket’s fancy word for “sneaky spies”.
Three new characters named Frank, Ernest and Dewey are introduced, even though we don’t know which is which, but the Baudelaires are amazed and horrified to find out that many terrible people from their past are guests at the hotel. Unrecognizable in their clever disguises, Violet, Klaus and Sunny encounter Esme Squalor, Carmelita Spats, Geraldine Julienne, Sir and Charles from “The Miserable Mill”, Vice-Principal Nero, Mrs. Bass and Mr. Remora from “The Austere Academy”, and Hal from “The Hostile Hospital”. The mysterious J.S. is supposed to be at the hotel, and both Justice Strauss and Jerome Squalor arrive, each assuming that someone is trying to contact them. No story would be complete without Count Olaf, who of course shows up none too soon with Hugo, Colette, and Kevin, the three carnival freaks from “The Carnivorous Carnival”
An unfortunate accident leads to a Violently Freaky Death, and Justice Strauss calls for a trial, ordering the accused Baudelaires and Count Olaf to be locked in rooms until their case is called. With everybody blindfolded except the judges, the trial begins amidst pages and pages of useless evidence, and it is only after this that the book gets truly interesting.
A kidnapping, a Vernacularly Fastened Door, a drag-chuted falling boat and a Very Fiery Display highlight the ending, which leaves us not high and dry, but very damp.
This book resuscitates many of the surviving characters from the other books, and throws them together to set the scene for what hopefully will be “The Efficacious Ending”, but it rambles on too long, and has too many pages of unnecessary filler material.
Not Snicket’s finest hour. Rated 3.5 stars
Amanda Richards
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