‘A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Carnivorous Carnival’ by Lemony Snicket

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‘Dear Reader,
The word ‘carnivorous’, which appears in the title of this book, means ‘meat-eating’, and once you have read such a bloodthirsty word, there is no reason to read any further. This carnivorous volume contains such a distressing story that consuming any of its contents would be far more stomach-turning than even the most imbalanced meal.
To avoid causing discomfort, it would be best if I didn’t mention any of the ingredients of this story, particularly a confusing map, an ambidextrous person, an unruly crowd, a wooden plank, and Chabo the Wolf Baby.
Sadly for me, my time is filled with researching and recording the displeasing and disenchanting lives of the Baudelaire orphans. But your time might be better filled with something more palatable, such as eating your vegetables, or feeding them to someone else.
With all due respect,
Lemony Snicket.’ 

 You might assume that if the book you are reading begins with the heroes hiding inside the trunk of their nemesis’ car then it will not be a happy tale. You could draw the conclusion that because the poor Baudelaire orphans were technically in their foes clutches that they would soon be discovered and would be in great danger. And you could be forgiven for thinking that, having found themselves in such a precarious condition, the children would be too terrified to do anything other than hide. And although this is not a happy story, the Baudelaire’s are not discovered straight away as they are brave enough to seize an opportunity to devise disguises and pose as freaks in the carnivorous Caligari Carnival.

That’s probably what makes this installment of the Baudelaire’s story so brilliant. In this book, Violet, Klaus and Sunny are forced to take a leaf from Count Olaf’s book and disguise themselves as a two headed person and a wolf baby to find out what they can about the Snicket File and the mysterious V.F.D.. By doing this, they not only discover how Olaf continues to find them no matter where they go but are also forced to question the nature of good and evil and whether you can do bad things for the greater good and still remain a good person.

In this chapter of the Baudelaire’s grim journey they are forced to stay in a Carnival while searching to answers as to whether one of their parents could still be alive. The answer to this question seems to lie with the mysterious Madame Lulu, the source of all Count Olaf’s knowledge about the Baudelaires. Lulu is an interesting character and her emotional breakdown where she admits all her wrongdoings to the children and asks to escape with them is nice but tarnished when, right at the end, Olaf reveals she actually betrayed the children. One of the most frustrating thing about these books (which I do actually love about them) is that the Baudelaire’s constantly encounter completely useless adults who, although nice and friendly, are utterly of no help when it comes to protecting the orphans. It is something that always made me feel for the children as a child who grew up feeling like no one ever really listened to me.

I have to honestly say that I do love this book (it’s also one of my best friends favourites) and I had a really enjoyable time reading it. The story was so different to the ones that had come before and the ending was such an incredibly intriguing cliffhanger that I immediately picked up the next book and put it on my bedside table, ready for whenever I finish this review.

5-stars

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