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The Penultimate Peril (Series of Unfortunate Events) Hardcover – 19 Oct 2005
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From the Inside Flap
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 penultimate chronicle of the lives of the Baudelaire orphans, and the first thing you should know about this next-to-last book is that it is next-to-first in its supply of misery, despair, and unpleasantness.
Probably the next-to-last things you would like to read about are the first things you would encounter in this next-to-last book, including a harpoon gun, a rooftop sunbathing salon, two mysterious initials, three unidentified triplets, a notorious villain, an unsavory curry, and several people you might find distressingly familiar and familiarly distressing.
Next-to-last things are the first thing to be avoided, and so allow me to recommend that you put this next-to-last book down first, and find something else to read next at last, such as the next-to-last book in another chronicle, or a chronicle containing other next-to-last things, so that this next-to-last book does not become the next-to-last book you will read.
From the Back Cover
Lemony Snicket returns with the last book before the last book of his bestselling Series of Unfortunate Events. Scream and run away before the secrets of the series are revealed!
Very little is known about Lemony Snicket and A Series of Unfortunate Events. What we do know is contained in the following brief list:
o The books have inexplicably sold millions and millions of copies worldwide
o People in more than 40 countries are consumed by consuming Snicket
o The movie was as sad as the books, if not more so
o Like unrefrigerated butter and fungus, the popularity of these books keeps spreading
Even less is known about book the twelfth in this alarming phenomenon. What we do know is contained in the following brief list:
o In this book, things only get worse
o Count Olaf is still evil
o The Baudelaire orphans do not win a contest
o The title begins with the word, ′The′
Sometimes, ignorance is bliss.
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The Penultimate Peril is the last-but-one of the series, and is full of dramatic and unexpected turns. It's surprising what Lemony Snicket can fit into 13 large print chapters. In this story, the Baudelaire orphans are working as concierges in a hotel organised according to the Dewey decimal system (only Snicket could have thought of something like that!). It's full of joys, such as a swimming pool where sunbathers are turned over with a giant spatula - it's these eccentric touches that make Snicket's books such great fun for young and old alike.
In these later books of the series, Snicket has moved away from the formula of the first half, where the children would be shipped off to a new guardian and then spend the story trying evade the dastardly Count Olaf in various ridiculous disguises. Those always ended with Olaf exposed but escaped, and the children left without a home or parent for whatever reason. Now the stories are at a different stage - the children are more capable and grown up - typified by baby Sunny who now walks and speaks recognisable sentences. They now move around independently - though still from one perilous situation to another, and still pursued by Olaf, who has now been joined by his villainous girlfriend Esme and by Carmelita Spats, who is the very epitome of a horrible spoilt child.
This book brings back many of the characters who have been introduced and lost along the way, of which there are a lot, given how much the children move around. As such, it brings things together in a way they have not been before. However don't expect too many answers - Snicket keeps things mysterious and introduces more new puzzles than he solves old ones. The ending is truly unexpected and rather shocking - I will say no more, but it sets us up for a thrilling conclusion. In his later books, Snicket starts to introduce some moral concepts, quite subtle for those of a children's book, about right and wrong and whether 'fight fire with fire' is a good tenet to live by or not. He expands on this here, with our three plucky heroes left in an impossible situation.
Complicated yet simple, funny yet dark, this is one of the strongest books yet in this series that is full of contradiction and defies easy description. All I can say is, read it.
PS I recently heard that there has been a movie made out to the first 3 books. in an still to watch it but just a sleek peek... Count Olaf = Jim Carey . There are 13 phenomenal books to this amazing series and I do love them very much and I think Lemony Snicket has done a amazing job in creating the "Unfortunate Events" that the poor Baudelaire orphans lives and woes. I am yet to Finnish the 13th book but I am sure that it will be great.
WELL DONE LEMONY SNICKET!!!!!!
I would recommend this book to 9-13 year olds as I am in the middle of those ages and really enjoyed it, my mum even read a little and liked it to (she's the one who bought me the first book!) I really wish they do another movie on the books because of the first one is really good! I hope this helps.