‘A Series Of Unfortunate Events: The Penultimate Peril’ by Lemony Snicket

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‘Dear Reader,
If this is the first book you found while searching for a book to read next, then the first thing you should know is that this next-to-last book is what you should put down first. Sadly, this book presents the next-to-last chronicle of the lives of the Baudelaire orphans, and it is next-to-first in its supply of misery, despair, and unpleasantness.
Probably the next-to-last things you would like to read about are a harpoon gun, a rooftop sunbathing salon, two mysterious initials, three unidentified triplets, a notorious villain, and an unsavoury curry.
Next-to-last things are the first things to be avoided, and so allow me to recommend that you put this next-to-last book down first, and find something else to read next at last, such as the next-to-last book in another chronicle, or a chronicle containing other next-to-last things, so that this next-to-last book does not become the last book you will read.
With all due respect,
Lemony Snicket. ‘

I’ll set the scene for you. I’m nine years old, short, excitable with far too much energy and too few outlets. After months of nagging my parents get me the newest installment of ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’: ‘The Penultimate Peril’. My lasting memory of this exciting time was trying to precariously balance on the back of the sofa as silently as I could as I held the book up to the mirror that hung just over 5 and a half foot on the wall so that I could read the mirror-writing in the book.

The thing I always loved about this particular book in the series was that it was the book where it all seemed to be coming together. For so long, the Baudelaire orphans had searched for the answers behind the mysterious V.F.D. and their members and had one found threads leading them on in various directions until they heard of the last safe place, the Hotel Denouement. All the answers seemed to lie in the events that would happen in this book since it takes place at the Hotel. And yet, it wasn’t the last book which left an intriguing but sinister shadow lying over the events of the book. If all the hints about V.F.D. and the origins of the Baudelaire’s misery were culminating in this book, then why would there be another after? At the time of first reading it I probably should have realised that this meant that this book would not have a satisfying ending and wouldn’t give me the answers to all the mysteries of the Baudelaire’s world. But, in all honesty, I was so busy reading it I didn’t give anything else much thought.

But rereading it these past few days, I have to say that the vague memory of what happened in this book was especially vague. I honestly couldn’t remember anything past the fact that this is the hotel one- which was nice in the respect that it was almost as if I was reading it for the first time. What did surprise me is that I completely forgot about Dewey Denouement, who had been one of my favourite characters in the series as a child. In fact, I completely forgot about the mystery of the of the hotel managers and which one was the good or bad one and which one the Baudelaires spoke to at any given time. I also completely forgot about the reappearance of some of the Baudelaire’s previous guardians and the trial they set up to use Dewey’s evidence to imprison Olaf and bring him to justice. I don’t really know what it says about my memory that I forgot all of the best plot points from one of my favourite books but I’m actually glad I did because I had such an unbelievably enjoyable experience rereading this book that I think I might give it another eleven years before I go back to this series again.

5-stars

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