Genre: Children/Young Adult
Number of Pages: 216
Rating: out of 5
Themes: Family, Orphans, Loss, Persistence
After the loss of their parents and bouncing from one guardian to the next, Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire really hope that their next caregiver will be a good one.
Unfortunately, when the children pull up to miserable and dreadful Paltryville to work in a lumber mill, their hopes are shattered. They are forced to work with heavy and dangerous machinery, are allowed only have one meal a day, and have to refer to their new guardian as ‘Sir’. However, just when the siblings think things couldn’t possibly get worse, they do…
I thought the premise was interesting and captivating. The Baudelaire children are still likable and show great determination and love for each other even when situations seem impossible.
Lemony Snicket continues with his typical writing style, which I found more enjoyable in this book versus the previous two. I also liked how this was the first time that the Baudelaires fully understood that in order for the trio to work, they must work together. If one of the siblings isn’t present, then their skills can only go so far.
Honestly, up until the final dramatic scene, I would have given this a five-star rating. However, that last scene was not only confusing (due to having a tough time picturing a particular machinery being used), but also dreadful. Without giving any spoilers, there was something that could’ve happened and my mouth was wide open. I was a bit shocked that the author thought it was a good idea to put this incident in a children’s book! I understand the whole dark, weird humor in this series, but sometimes there is a limit, at least for me.
As a warning: There is attempted and real murder, neglect, forcing children to work in terrible conditions, and manipulation in this book. Though meant to funny, this book may be more suitable to older children rather than younger ones.
Overall, it was an adventurous read that even with that unpleasant scene, I am curious to what will happen next to the Baudelaire children.
Click on the links to see my reviews of other books in this series: