Book Reviews

Book Review :: The Reptile Room : Book the Second (A Series of Unfortunate Events)

🚨SPOILER ALERT 🚨

RATING :: 💀💀💀💀💀

AUTHOR :: LEMONEY SNICKET

GENRE :: NOVEL/STEAMPUCK/GOTHIC FICTION/MYSTERY/ABSURDIST FICTION

SYNOPSIS :: After finally escaping Count Olaf’s clutches, the Baudelaires are sent to live with their kind Uncle Montgomery Montgomery (yes, this is his full name). All their troubles seem to be over until an unexpected guest arrives.

“If only Uncle Monty knew what we know,” Violet said, “and Stephano knew that he knew what we know. But Uncle Monry doesn’t know what we know, and Stephano knows that he doesn’t know what we know.”

REVIEW :: Ugh. I had trouble picking this book up at first and reading it through without stopping. The first one (The Bad Beginning) was so depressing that I ended reading a happier book afterwards to relieve myself of gloominess.

BUT… wow. I have to say that this book was much better than I thought. Sure, it was still depressing and it still earned 5 skulls for the dark theme and overall story, but it managed to change what I initially felt about it.

Let me start with the characters once again…

Klaus, Violet, and Sunny are still as charming and intelligent as they were before… but in this part of the book series, it was Sunny and Violet who I felt proved themselves far more intelligent than the adults and Klaus as well. I hadn’t noticed this before, but Klaus tends to jump ahead of himself too quickly without thinking things through. Violet and Sunny, on the other hands, use their wit to pull a fast one on the evil Count Olaf, who is back for no good.

Count Olaf hasn’t changed one bit… although he manages to make a fool of himself to a greater extent in this story than the last one. I felt that he was finally outsmarted in a more deserving & worthy manner since the first book didn’t do much justice. My observance of him in the first book was that he comes across as a sexual predator and when I read the chapter in which he brushes his sharp knife up against Violet’s knee while they were eating dinner with the children’s uncle, I shuddered. This character just gives me the creeps. Needless to say, he manages to get away with murder, AND escapes once more.

Uncle Monty started off as a lovable and intelligent character. His treatment of Klaus, Violet, and Sunny was the overall highlight of the story… but my opinion of him changed a little once Count Olaf, or “Stephano,” arrived. I swear, it’s like every adult finds their inner stupidity once Olaf is around. He does a great job listening and paying close attention to the children at first but then allows his greatest strength to become his greatest weakness. His pride and confidence blinds him from noticing the red flags which leads him to his own death. I personally wouldn’t put blame on the Baudelaire children for not acting swift enough to tell him of Count Olaf; that seems unfair since, after all, their guardians are the ones who should be vigilant and intelligent enough to notice that something IS wrong. At least the mystery of his tragic death is solved…

Mr. Poe… this idiot is still as stupid as ever, but at least it’s not AS bad as it was in the first book. The irony surrounding Mr. Poe is that he manages to be of help when he’s not trying to be but manages to screw things up when he is trying to. The car accident is an example of him being of use to the children; His denial that Stephano is Count Olaf, and insistence that the children ride alone with Olaf is an example of his foolishness. I was quite surprised that he gave the children his attention when they brought evidence against Olaf, exposing his plan and identity. I guess he gets somewhat of a pass in this book… we’ll see if he’s learned a thing or two of believing and listening to the Baudelaire children in the next book… if i can bring myself (and my mood) to reading it.

img_9428 The plot in The Reptile Room was far more interesting, and surprisingly a tad bit less depressing, than The Bad Beginning. For the first three chapters, the Baudelaire children are living peacefully and happily with their Uncle Monty (whose real name is Montgomery Montgomery) who own an impressive collection of reptiles.

Side Note: The relationship between The Very Deadly (who is not deadly at all) Viper and Sunny was adorable (something that comes in handy for the Baudelaire children later in the story).

As the children and their Uncle prepare to set out on their excursion to Peru, trouble arrives in the form of Count Olaf. Once again, the Baudelaire children have to use their smarts to counter Olaf’s evil plans. While they are able to expose his identity and plan to take them to Peru so he can hatch a way to get a hold of their fortune, they aren’t able to do so without losing their beloved uncle & finding themselves getting ready to be taken to yet another relative.

img_9428-1 The tone of the writer- Lemoney Snicket- comes across as dark and gloomy. While the reader is engaging in the only happy moments of the story, Snicket takes the time to add a reminder that there is no such thing as a happily ever after in this book. Snicket certainly has a dark sense of humor. It often feels like he is purposely trying to annoy the reader by ruining a happy moment, changing the subject for a brief moment in the middle of a suspenseful scene, repeating annoying phrases such as ‘meanwhile, back at the ranch,’ and even by dedicating an entire page for the word ‘ever’ (pg.154).

97d This is the first series I’ve picked up on with a goth/steampunk theme and I’m still debating on whether or not I LIKE it. It contains everything that I wouldn’t want to read in a book, but it’s so bad that it’s SO good. I keep coming back to the books and reading them even though I despise the way they are written.

I will say that I am glad I never read them when I was in elementary school as I’m sure my innocent heart would not have been able to handle the dark humor and irony.

While A Series of Unfortunate Events has interesting plots and handful of loving (and questionable if not irritating) characters, I am not entirely sure yet if I want to continue with the series due to its dark theme.

We shall see…

img_9428-1 Have you read A Series of Unfortunate Events?

What are your thoughts on it?

Thanks for reading!

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2 thoughts on “Book Review :: The Reptile Room : Book the Second (A Series of Unfortunate Events)

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