Friday, 1 May 2015

Chapter-by-Chapter: A Series of Unfortunate Events, Summary

It’s now been a week since we finished reading A Series of Unfortunate Events and I thought it would be interesting to write a follow up post to share my thoughts on the series as a whole before we move on to the next book I’ve chosen to read and review.

Favourite book?

The very first book, The Bad Beginning, is easily my favourite. It kicks off the story and sets everything up in the way that it’s going to go on. I like how uncomplicated everything is in this one. It’s basically the kids against Olaf and you know who’s the good guys and who the bad guy is, unlike later in the series when things get a lot more sketchy.

Favourite character?

Sunny. Without a doubt. I like the fact that almost everything she says has some sort of double meaning (which occasionally you have to Google to figure out). I also like that although her brother and sister are very much on the good side (at least in the earlier books), Sunny often leans more to the darker side. She’s the one who suggests burning down the hotel and pushing Olaf overboard. She also quite often says the things I’m thinking. I guess I can relate to her.

Least favourite book?

I didn’t enjoy some of the later books as much as the earlier ones mainly because of how complicated things became, with more questions being raised than answered. That said, I still enjoyed the overall stories so I’d say my least favourite is probably The Carnivorous Carnival which I found so memorable that I had to actually go and look at the book to remember what it was called.

Least favourite character?

I suppose you’re supposed to say Count Olaf because he is the bad guy through the series, though I found him quite interesting. You can’t help but notice all the references to things in his past and so know that that there’s so much more to him than what we see. Carmelita Spatts would probably be the worst character in the whole book series. She’s such a little brat that I can’t help but hate her. I understand that that’s the point, but she’s a heavily exaggerated version of the sort of person you can meet in real life.

Who is the Beatrice of the dedications?

I’m 99% certain that the Beatrice in the dedications is Mrs Baudelaire, who Lemony Snicket was in love with before she hooked up with Mr Baudelaire. There are lots of little nods all the way through the book series that seem to point that way, with the big reveal of Mrs Baudelaire being named Beatrice in The End.

Repetition throughout stories? Yes or No?

Yes, most of the time. In many of the books it serves some purpose, like in The Bad Beginning where it kept on reminding us that Violet is right-handed. In others it gets a little tiresome, like the constant repetition of the children’s talents.

Definitions of random words? Yes or No?

Yes. I know that these really bug some people, but I love them. I think it’s a cool and kooky little touch to the story and I love that quite often the ‘X here means…’ quite often defines the word is some unexpected way which emphasises some point about the scene. It’s funny and I think a lot of the time it’s there for the benefit of adults who might be sharing the book with children, or older readers who are reading the series.

What was in the sugar bowl? Where did it go?

I’m going to say it was a cure for the Medusoid Mycelium and I can’t help but wonder if perhaps Lemony Snicket was the taxi driver who took it away. I’ve heard that theory online and I like it, so I’m going to go with that.

What happens to the Baudelaires next?

I have no idea, though I think that some of the linked books shed some light on what might have happened next. I like to think that Violet and Quigley were reunited and that perhaps things got better for all four children who left the island. Perhaps Snicket stopped writing the books because that was the end of the Unfortunate Events that befell them all.

Fun Snicket-related websites:

TV Tropes A Series of Unfortunate Events page
Lemony Snicket Site
Snicket Wikipedia Site
Goodreads Snicket reviews

I hope you’ve all enjoyed reading my Chapter-by-Chapter posts. Feel free to answer the above questions in the comments and share your thoughts.

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