Summary from Goodreads:
If you have just picked up this book, then it is not too late to put it back down. Like the previous books in A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS, there is nothing to be found in these pages but misery, despair, and discomfort, and you still have time to choose something else to read.
Within the chapters of this story, Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire encounter a darkened staircase, a red herring, some friends in a dire situation, three mysterious initials, a liar with an evil scheme, a secret passageway, and parsley soda.
I have sworn to write down these tales of the Baudelaire orphans so the general public will know each terrible thing that has happened to them, but if you decide to read something else instead, you will save yourself from a heapful of horror and woe.
With all due respect,
It’s so nice to have Tim Curry back as narrator. He’s really become one of my favorite audio book narrators and when I’m done with this series, I may have to go find more books that he has narrated.
I enjoyed this story more than some of the other ones. While the orphans are back to guardian-hopping, as they were in all the other books besides the previous one, where they were sent to boarding school, things are a little bit different. For starters, they have friends they need to rescue. Also, their “friend”/banker, Mr. Poe is actively working to locate the Quagmire triplets (the kidnapped friends) and Count Olaf.
Also, I feel like the adventures the Baudelaire children go on and the risks they take, are getting tougher and scarier. The kids are getting tougher and braver, and dare I say a little wiser. They now know not to always jump out with the Olaf suspicions. They know about gathering evidence. And they certainly know that adults won’t believe them at their word, ever.
I like that the author doesn’t sugar coat wealth. The kids are unfortunate, living in a shed filled with crabs; yet, they are also unfortunate living in a gigantic penthouse apartment with their own rooms. At least the crab-ridden orphan shack didn’t have Esme.
There’s also the every growing mystery of VFD. What do those letters stand for? There’s also hints starting to grow about the fire that killed the Baudelaire parents, not being all that it seemed to be. And then of course, there’s all the playing with words like the statue of the red herring actually being a red herring.
I really enjoyed this one. The suspense was great. The wit and humor keep growing with each installment. There was a little plot twist that surprised me. And I’m so curious to know how everything is all connected. I give this one an 8/10.