Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Teen review: Action/adventure

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning
by Lemony Snicket
162 pages
Book One of a series
Intended audience: Elementary grades

Reviewed by Jonathan L., grade 12

The Bad Beginning begins by introducing the three main Baudelaire heroes of the series: Violet , a girl who can pretty much invent whatever she wants; Sunny, a baby of few words; and Klaus, your average know-it-all. After receiving the bad news that their parents are dead, the three siblings are sent to an unknown relative by the name of Count Olaf, thus spurring the countless efforts of Count Olaf to attain the children’s vast fortune that was passed on to them after their parents’ death.

This book (and the continuing stories that follow it) is as depressing as any children’s novel can be. Not only are our heroes subjected to living with a complete stranger, but they also have to live with a complete stranger who wants their money! The title pretty much says what this book is: a bad beginning to a deeply depressing series, and the title of the series doesn’t make it any better. I don’t know why I read this book, or why I even continued with the series. But something drew me to the series: mystery. I wanted to know how this series would end. I wanted to know if their unfortunate events would continue or if it would ever end (which it did, and the title of the eighth book completely ruins the entire novel). Each character (Violet, Klaus, and Sunny) has a decent background to them, but the series doesn’t rely too heavily on the past. And the series itself was so repetitive, it almost seemed predictable. Basically, in every story after The Bad Beginning we have our main antagonist disguising himself in order to get back at our heroes, yet every time he’s foiled and has to run away…again. The final book’s cover ruined all the mystery as the reader can identify what obviously looks like Count Olaf lying dead right in front of the Baudelaire children. So, out of five, this book deserves a three. The series itself is a two, and I honestly cannot recommend this depressing series to anyone. So, don’t read it, and if you have read it, just be glad it’s finally over and we can all say “The End.”

Editor's note: We don't usually publish negative reviews, but given the familiarity of many of our readers with this series, and given Jonathan's rather humorous explication, we made an exception. Jonathan, you do realize that Lemony Snicket is coming for you...right?

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