Like handshakes, house pets, or raw carrots, many things are preferable when not slippery. Unfortunately, in this miserable volume, I am afraid that Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire run into more than their fair share of slipperiness during their harrowing journey up – and down- a range of strange and distressing mountains.
In order to spare you any further repulsion, it would be best not to many any of the unpleasant details of this story, in particular a secret message, a toboggan, a deceitful trap, a swarm of snow gnats, a scheming villain, a troupe of organised youngsters, a covered casserole dish, and a surprising survivor of a terrible fire.
Unfortunately, I have dedicated my life to researching and recording the sad tale of the Baudelaire orphans. There is no reason for you to dedicate yourself to such things, and you might instead dedicate yourself to letting this slippery book slip from your hands into a nearby trash receptacle, or a deep pit.
With all due respect,
In the tenth installment of this series detailing the miserable lives of the Baudelaire orphans, the earnest natures of the young children help them to fight demanding villains, beastly insects and the ever encroaching threat of fire. But the Baudelaire’s are no ordinary children, they are brave, intelligent, honest and, in this particular episode atop Mount Fraught they have the help of budding cartographer Quigley Quagmire, one of the Quagmire triplets who was thought dead in the fire that consumed his family’s home and parents lives.
What I really loved about this particular chapter in Snickets horrifying tale is that this is the story in which Sunny Baudelaire grows up. Here, she stands on her own two feet and offers to spy on Olaf without the protective presences of her siblings, despite knowing how incredibly dangerous that is for one so young and defenseless. As for Sunny’s older siblings, Klaus once again shows the merit of being well read and a good researcher by decoding a secret V.F.D. code. and Violet invents the perfect way to save both herself and her brothers lives and then climb up the frozen Stricken Stream to find her sister twice. It’s one of the greatest strengths of the series- the fact that although the characters work together seamlessly they are also very real, functioning individuals who are capable of working alone and although they may not always find the perfect solution that defeats the baddie and saves the day they always persevere in the name of goodness and doing the right thing.
Another thing I loved about this book is that, within the series, the further on you get the more you learn about the V.F.D. and their ways and, in turn, about the character of the narrator Lemony Snicket. For me, the mysterious author was always one of the best things about the series and, in all honesty, if another series was brought out about the miseries of his life I would stand in line awaiting the arrival of every single new volume. In fact, the incredibly interesting side characters such as Olaf, the Quagmires and Olaf’s henchpeople are all so complex and interesting that I would love to read all of their backstories which for me is the real mark of the author’s genius, there isn’t a single weak link in the chain. All of the characters are complex and intriguing and make sure that there’s never a moment of dull disinterest on the part of the reader.
I really love these books and this one is no different although for me it will always stand out to me as the introduction of one of my favourite childhood characters, Quigley Quagmire.