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4.7 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 3 January 2005
Just when you thought that Lemony Snicket was running out of steam he delivers the best yet in the Series of Unforunate Events. Truth be told, all the tales of various woe were starting to get a tiny bit repetitive, though they were largely redeemed by Snicket's entertaining style of stroytelling. But the Ersatz Elevator gives new hope that he'll be able to spin this out for the full thirteen.
The basics: this is the 6th book in the story of the Baudelaire orphans: Violet, Klaus and Sunny. The death of their parents in a mysterious fire has thrown them into the path of the nefarious Count Olaf, who is determined to get his hands on their enormous fortune. So far so good, but what distinguishes the Ersatz Elevator is the emergence of what may appear to be a subplot but is actually the intrigue that underlines all of the novels: the secret of VFD. This adds another dimension of interest to the book, which is also richly populated with a new set of characters and the kind of bizarre humour in which Snicket revels.
All the old devices are there: the definitions of vocabulary, the literary references, the hidden jokes and secrets: all of which will keep adults as well as children entertained. The plot is pacy and uncomplicated, and while the story seems the stuff of fairy-tales, Lemony Snicket's dry, dead-pan irony and skewed perspective is deliciously dark. The most enjoyable yet in a highly enjoyable selection.
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on 14 April 2004
When I started reading the book, it started out as all of the storys in the past had: Mr. Poe taking the childeren to their new home and the poor kids ending up misererable.But as I read, the story took a strange new twist that was so fun and myserious, I had my eyes glued to the pages for two hours straight. I couldn't get enough of it and soon after I picked up the book, I couldn't put it down. The strange adventures of the three Baudilaire childeren had transported me to another world where I was one of the Baudilaires and I had to go thruogh the exact same things they went through. This book, (provided you read all the other books in the series before number six) is a definate must read. I would definatley reccomend this book most to childeren nine through twelve who enjoy mystery and fantasy.
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on 19 February 2005
This book was very entertaining and also well written. A truely great book for kids alike. It don't have any major complaints about this book except for stalling the good bits in the book. It was like Lemony was biding time to save something or other. I also was displeased at the end of the book when Jerome Squalor, the Baudelaires new guardian decides to abandon them on a account of the the displeasure of argumentive conversations. He leaves them without clothes or any other form of neccisity which I find very discomforting. But all in all this book will provide you with much excitement and wonder.
PS : Violet, Klaus and Sunny will never be free of upseting lifestyles but maybe in the future thirteenth book things could brighten up their lives.
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The Ersatz Elevator is the sixth book in A Series of Unfortunate Events by American author, Lemony Snicket (aka Daniel Handler). As we once again join the unlucky Baudelaire orphans, they are deposited by their banker, the constantly coughing Mr Poe, at 667 Dark Avenue, into the hands of their new guardians, Jerome and Esme Squalor. Esme is a rather forceful woman who is a dedicated follower of fashion, while Jerome never likes to argue, with anyone. Having already suffered the loss of their parents, the threat of marriage, slave labour, hypnosis, a terrible boarding school, and the murder of their Uncle Monty and Aunt Josephine at the hands of the evil Count Olaf and his nefarious assistants, the siblings are ever-vigilant of his reappearance. Luckily these well-mannered and uncomplaining children are also very resourceful: Violet invents, Klaus researches and Sunny bites. Snicket’s tone throughout is apologetic, sincere and matter-of-fact as he relates the unfortunate events in the children’s lives; his imaginative and even surreptitiously educational style will hold much appeal for younger readers. Snicket’s word and phrase definitions are often hilarious. This instalment sees the Baudelaires climbing a lot of stairs (and occasionally sliding down bannisters), forced to wear ill-fitting pinstripe suits, drinking aqua martinis and parsley sodas, eating at Café Salmonella, climbing up and down a lift shaft, being thrown down a lift shaft, and improvising ropes and welding equipment, all the while worrying about their kidnapped friends, the Quagmire triplets. Count Olaf once again manages to fool the adults with a simple disguise involving a monocle, high boots and improper English. Sunny uses her teeth to save the day and surprises everyone by bidding at an auction. As always, the alliterative titles are delightful and Brett Helquist provides some wonderfully evocative illustrations. Where will the orphans end up next? Perhaps the seventh installment, The Vile Village, will shed light on their fate.
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on 9 March 2005
Throughout the books in this series I have noticed a clear trend, which consists in the Baudelaire orphans having to face more complex and dangerous situations as the story progresses. In the previous book, Violet, Klaus and Sony finally found friends in the presence of the two Quagmire triplets (yes, you read it right...two triplets!). But the joy did not last long, and soon the mischievous Count Olaf kidnapped the Quagmires. Now the orphans have to figure out a way to remain safe, but also have to try to rescue their friends in the process, and the only way to do this is to find Count Olaf and solve the mystery of VFD.
After a journey that has taken them through their fair share of scary and woeful places, the Baudelaires are finally close to their home once more. The problem is that close is not close enough, and Dark Avenue, the street where their new guardians live, is really what the name suggests: a dreadful place. The neighborhood in which the Squalors live is in the dark because dark is in! In the same manner, the elevators are out, and the orphans, the pinstripe suits and the aqueous martinis are in. Even though the orphans are forced to climb the stairs to the apartment of Jerome and Esme Squalor in the dark, either to the forty-eighth or eighty-fourth floor, and all the nonsense they have to put up with about what is in and what is out, they are safe and sound and that is enough to give them some solace. However, they cannot help but feel some fear about what will happen when the orphans are not in anymore.
Of course, Count Olaf will show up disguised as usual and bring danger to the world of the Baudelaires, and there will be excitement, happiness and sorrow. Violet will have to show a great deal of her inventing talents, Klaus his ability for research and Sony the strength of her four teeth. Also as usual, the reader will get a fair amount of excellent entertainment, with Snicket's witty remarks and unusual technique for writing. One aspect of this technique is that when the book starts we are given a preview of what will come, through the use of dictionaries and words in quotes...but I am going to let you figure that one out on your own.
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on 15 April 2005
The Baudelaire siblings arrive at a world so far removed - a phrase here which means they didn't have to work with tree stumps from the lumber mill - as possible. They are placed by a busier Mr Poe, in the care of Jerome Squalor and his very fashion conscience - which means knows what's in and out - wife Esme.
The children live in this huge penthouse - which means huge living quarters right on top of a large block of flats with either 48 or 84 floors and no operating elevator (because elevators (that's what American's call lifts, are so out!) - becoming accustomed to their new life until the arrival of Count Olaf in yet another new disguise and a dodgy accent (still not as good as the receptionist one! - personal opinion). The Baudelaire Children once more struggle to stay out of Olaf's clutches, however, this time they also try to rescue their friends the two Quagmire Triplets.
The battle of wits reaches it's big showdown at Esme's 'In Auction' where all proceeds go to a worthy cause - or not. The Baudelaire's discover a link between Dark Avenue and the ashes of their family house and discover a definition for V.F.D.
In conclusion (a phase here which means I have reservations at a totally in restaurant) it's a good book, and an easy read which makes you want to pick up the next instalment straight away! Caution: Red herrings are not always red herrings!
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on 12 April 2013
I bought this for my 10 year old granddaughter who loves this series and is reading them in order, it kept her entertained for ages and I shall be buying her others in the future as she wants them. An excellent way to get children interested in reading.
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Violet, Klaus and Sunny are exhausted after walking up a very high staircase to get to their new home. Almost as soon as they had had a cup of tea in walks Count Olaf with a strange foreign accent as part of his disguise as Gunther, the 'in' auction manager. The next day the Baudelaires try to figure out what he’s up to, searching the whole penthouse and the whole building but he still is nowhere to be found. They notice something strange is wrong with the elevators at the top of the building. One goes down but the other goes down and up. They press the up button and the doors open to just an empty hole…… no lift or ropes or anything like that. They decide to investigate.....

In the book, it explains that the word ‘ersatz’ means someone or something pretending to be someone or something else. Like the word ‘impostor’. The secret passage way they had discovered was pretending to be a lift.

I quite enjoyed this book. A red herring, if you don’t know already, is when you are certain something is something and then you realize you were wrong and everyone laughs at you. Read this book to find out what the red herring is, although Snicket probably advises you not to, but I don’t exactly listen to what he says about it being depressing and all that. I’ve read the whole series and I’m fine!
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on 25 January 2005
It's probably a tie-up as to which book is the best in the series, The Ersatz Elevator or The Hostile Hospital. Well, for m it's probably the ersatz elevator which is enthralling from the start with Snickett's usual mysterious yet hilarious style! It's so good i've read it about 10 times and now, I think I'll read it again!
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on 24 April 2013
I thought that this was a BRILLIANT book that had so many twists I couldn't count! Unfortunately hounding ring out what
V.F.D means in this book but that is another reason to carry on reading the series. The reason this was my favourite book was because there were so many tricks and twists in this Yale and bit was just AMAZING I think that you should definitely read this book and I hope you like it as much as I did!!!!!
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