‘A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Vile Village’ by Lemony Snicket

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‘Dear Reader,
You have undoubtedly picked up this book by mistake, so please put it down. Nobody in their right mind would read this particular book about the lives of Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire on purpose, because each dismal moment in their stay in the village of V.F.D. has been faithfully and dreadfully recorded in these pages.
I can think of no single reason why anyone would want to open a book containing such unpleasant matters as migrating crows, an angry mob, a newspaper headline, the arrest of innocent people, the Deluxe Cell, and some very strange hats.
It is my solemn duty and sacred occupation to research each detail of the Baudelaire children’s lives and write them all down, but you may prefer to do some other solemn and sacred thing such as  reading another book instead.
With all due respect,
Lemony Snicket.’ 

If, two weeks ago, you had asked me to name all the books in ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ and give a brief description of what happened in each, I can honestly say that I would be lucky to remember ‘The Vile Village’ and even luckier to recall what happened in this specific sad episode in the lives of the Baudelaire orphans. It is not because this book is not entertaining or memorable and certainly not because I find it in any way lesser or more boring than the others in this brilliant series. It’s probably just because, being halfway through the series, that I have read it less times than those that came before and less recently than those that came after.

In between the covers of ‘The Vile Village’ Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire go to live in the village of V.F.D. in an anxious attempt to learn more about the mysteries surrounding the initials that the Quagmire Triplets had been so keen to explain to them about. After the kidnapping of the Triplets by Count Olaf and Esme Squalor the Baudelaire orphans are desperate to get their young friends to safety and believe the village of V.F.D. might hold the answers. Unfortunately, life is never that easy and despite finding some cryptic couplets by Isadora the orphans struggle to find their friends and free them.

While reading this book, what really struck me was how tantalisingly close we seem to be getting to finding out more and more about the secret V.F.D.which is probably why I have been completely unable to put the last two books down. The horrific end of poor Jacques Snicket only fueled the fire and made me want to find out more about his tattoo and his connection with Olaf.

One thing I really did love about rereading this book was the name of Olaf’s cover, Detective Dupin, which until now I never realised was a reference to Edgar Allen Poe’s brilliant detective stories starring Dupin that created a whole new genre and inspired the likes of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It made me even more excited to keep on reading to see what other references that I didn’t understand as a child but now do.

Hector was an interesting character too, a man who I at first expected to be just like Charles from ‘The Miserable Mill’ and Jerome from ‘The Ersatz Elevator’ – well meaning and kind but completely useless when it came to any show of bravery or action when the Baudelaire’s needed them most. I was glad to see that Hector did eventually come through though and saved the Quagmire’s and almost the Baudelaire’s. Although obviously one could say his actions of floating away forever were not the bravest, he still stood up to the Elders and did what he could to become free, which shows a strength and bravery of itself.

This book is probably one of my favourites in the series thanks to the mystery of Isadora’s couplets and the semi-positive ending of the Quagmire Triplets being rescued and Olaf’s planned being utterly foiled. But the Baudelaire’s aren’t out of the woods yet, and things are just starting to get Hostile…

5-stars

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