My first experience of this series being the film that came out in the early 2000s, I am very glad I decided to read the books. The film encompassed the first three books, but shuffled around the events and played down some of the ones from the second and third books, to put the climax of the plot as the ending to the first book. After having now read the second book in the series, ‘The Reptile Room’, this seems a confusing decision to have taken for the adaptation.
The second book starts with the Baudelaire orphans being moved to a new relative, Uncle Monty. It has a much happier start than the first novel did, but Lemony Snicket continually reminds his readers that these novels do not contain wholly happy events. These books are undoubtedly written to help readers deal with loss in a positive way, as the three children do through out the narrative.
I really liked how Snicket showed that Violet, Klaus and Sunny were the only characters to truly understand what was happening in Uncle Monty’s house, excluding the unwelcome presence of Count Olaf. A technique Snicket employed in the previous novel, ‘The Bad Beginning’, this would serve to make younger readers associate themselves with the stories. Snicket’s tone was just as pleasant and warm as it was in the previous novel, which really helped to draw readers into the narrative.
His characters as so compelling!! I love how the three siblings look out for one another, as they’re all one another has got left in the world. I think this is an important message to give to younger readers, as siblings won’t always see eye to eye (as I would know).
The narrative followed much of the same structure as the first novel, but the story wasn’t boring or dull in the least. It was a nice continuation of the series, and used the same narrative techniques such as explaining the meanings of certain words or the context in which certain words or phrases would be used – often in a comical way. I really like the overall tone, and think this is a wonderful series and that despite Snicket’s attempt to tell readers how miserable the events of the novels are, they are actually quite heartwarming. I would give it a 4/5.