The Austere Academy

by Lemony Snicket

Well, I struck out with Book the Fourth, but The Austere Academy was almost a page-turner. This was the first time that I felt like the ending compelled me to go check out the next book as soon as possible. And no disgusting death scenes, either!

I was glad the Baudelaire orphans finally had someone their own age to talk to, and I’m sure the new characters will reappear in later books. I’ll let you know when I find out.

Until then, I plan to keep reading!

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The Miserable Mill

by Lemony Snicket

I know that trains killing people in cars, herpetologists being murdered, and old widows mysteriously dying are not really topics for children’s books, but the Series of Unfortunate Events present such things in a way that kids might conceivably ok reading about (especially after Harry Potter). That’s why I was a little surprised that in Book the Fourth, The Miserable Mill, someone is actually sliced up by the lumbermill saw. Not just surprised — totally grossed out. Honestly, who puts that in a kid’s book?

I might even go so far as to say that this is my least favorite of the books I’ve read so far. The gruesome death wasn’t all that did it; the plot seemed too contrived this time. It didn’t feel like it flowed “naturally” (insofar as these unfortunate events are natural) as did the others, although there were, as always, hilarious remarks from the narrator.

Since at this point — having read Book the Fifth — I don’t recall anything in Book the Fourth that is crucial to the plot, I might say skip it. But then again, it’s a quick read, it probably won’t ruin your life, and I think you could really go either way.

Sorry, Lemony Snicket.