Series of Unfortunate Events
The Austere Academy-Book the Fifth
Lemony Snicket - Illustrated by Brett Helquist
An Egmont Book
is a very private man
The Baudelaire kids
are having an even worse time than last, if that is possible. Orphaned
on page one of Book One, thrown into care by the hapless Mr. Poe, the
banker, they are tortured, forced to do unspeakable things by the awful
Count Olaf who wants their fortune - did I mention their parents were
rich? Book Two, Three, Four are even worse and full of menace and the
crimes against them by the heinous Count Olaf terrible to an extreme.
Mr. Poe the hapless banker grows more hapless by the episode and the Count
ever more scheming and heartless. The kids barely survive each adventure
and if they ever get a square meal or a nights sleep they will surely
In book four they are forced to be slave labour in a lumber mill, even
the baby has to gnaw bark off trees for supper and supper turns out to
be chewing gum. There are evil people trying to corrupt intelligent, polite
resourceful children who clearly deserve a better life...but they aren't
going to get a better life. It gets worse and more harsh and sinister
with each book and there are at least 13 of these stylish volumes.
*You can click on book and buy here
Now with The Austere Academy we are up
to book five and in the authors own words:
'If you are looking for a story about cheerful youngsters spending a
jolly time at boarding school, look elsewhere. For Violet, Klaus and
Sunny Baudelaire school turns out to be another miserable episode in
their unlucky lives'.
They are terrorised by the awful Carmelita Spats the most loathsome
girl in the world and the two teachers Mr. Remora and Mr. Bass are utterly
bereft of teaching skills. Worse the baby, Sunny, is forced to work
as the vice-principal's secretary,answering phones and stapling paper
together, not a task many babies, let alone Sunny, could cope with.
They finally are allowed the luxury of making 'friends' (the Quagmire
triplets but there are only two of them ) but beware of making friends
with these Baudelaire kids. You will either die suddenly or be whisked
off to be tortured or traded for money - if your parents can be bothered
to pay a ransom.
Needless to say
everyone is mad. The vice-principal Nero believes he is a musical genius
but cannot play a note on his violin. The rules of the school are gloriously
unjust and cruel:
served promptly at breakfastime...if you are late we take away your
cups and glasses and your beverages will be served to you in large puddles'.
The children are
forced to live in a tin shack filled with wild crabs and a fungus that
drips off the ceiling and sleep on hay bales. If they do anything wrong
they are forced to eat without silverware.
Needless to say eating scrambled eggs and spaghetti with your hands
The teaching is
even worse than a normal English state school. The teachers know nothing
and get students to measure pencils all day or remember what the teachers
ate for lunch. Prison would be more fun and that is the point of this
series of unfortunate events. How far can it go before these Baudelaire
kids crack up entirely.
Lemony Snicket has already sold four million copies of his book series
and it is snapping at the heels of Harry Potter. It is much more cruel
and harsh than Potter and easier to digest. But at the end of the day
each Potter adventure is different wheras A series of unfortunate events
is ...well the same. They still make you laugh out aloud and Count Olaf
is predictably more evil in each and the kids have to be even more resourceful
but then again, I am an adult. Kids will crave this stuff and although
I am signing off on the Lemony Snicket ticket...if you haven't read
at least two of them, start now. They are fresh, inventive, hilarious
and wonderfully cruel.
Buy, enjoy, swap.
You won't regret it.
PS : Great for adults too!
The best and meanest
and most cruel of the five so far in the UK? The fourth book in the
scary lumber mill. But don't say you haven't been warned, they are terribly
I believe a film is in the works.
Lemony Snicket review