Saturday, November 3, 2012

Who Could That Be at this Hour? (All the Wrong Questions) Review

I first discovered Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events in college and absolutely loved it. The 13 books covered the trials and tribulations of the Baudelaire siblings, Violet, Klaus and Sunny, as they tried to navigate a world fun of useless adults after their parents are killed in a fire. I didn't like the last book of the series, The End, but since it seemed to wrap up the Baudelaires' story, I figured that was the end of the books.

Then my mom told me that there was going to be a new Lemony Snicket series, this time featuring Lemony himself, as a young boy who just graduated from a mysterious organization (more likely than not VFD from the previous series) and is paired with a chaperone on his first mission. I was hoping this series would shed some light on what VFD actually does, but the organization that Snicket belongs to is never actually mentioned in the book.

I found this book a bit disappointing. Maybe Lemony isn't as interesting of a protagonist as the Baudelaire kids. The usual Snicket tropes are in place: idiotic adults who dismiss the intelligence of children, an emphasis on the importance of books and wordplay. There are a couple mysteries, one involving a statue, the finding of which was Snicket's first assignment. He also alludes to a mysterious personal errand. He actually chose to be partnered with the worst of all chaperones in order to have time to devote to his own errand - although this is thwarted early on. A new villain is introduced - Hangfire - and a girl who may or may not be good (but definitely has a specific agenda) who has question mark shaped eyebrows (what's up with eyebrows in these books?!).

I'll probably read the other three books in this series, but I didn't love this one. That might also have been due to my crankiness about the loss of power in lower Manhattan for four days. I wasn't in the best of moods when reading. I think that Maryrose Wood's Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series is actually outSnicketing Snicket these days in terms of interesting characters, a mystery, and humor that adults can appreciate even if the series is designed for kids.

Also, I really missed the Brett Helquist illustrations.

The book has gotten lots of positive reviews, like this one from LA Times.

Buy it at amazon and Barnes & Noble

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