“A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Reptile Room.”
By Lemony Snicket
Published in 1999 by HarperCollins Publishers, New York.
To maintain consistency I have copied some parts of my previous book review for the first book. The genre of the book is fantasy and it’s written from the point of view of Lemony Snicket. The style of writing is similar to the first book, very informal. The author addresses the reader directly a number of times.
The book continues to expand on the misfortunes which continue to follow the lives of Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire. After the disastrous time living with Count Olaf, the children are placed into the custody of a distant uncle called Montgomery Montgomery who is a herpetologist. (Science of studying snakes – I’m sure you see where this is going.)
Uncle Monty is the complete opposite to Count Olaf. He seems perfect for the children; baking coconut cakes, asking them for help with preparation for his upcoming expedition to Peru, teaching them about all the reptiles in his lab. All seems well… until Uncle Monty’s assistant needs to be replaced. Of course, in comes Count Olaf under the guise of ‘Stephano’, just waiting to cause trouble. The entire book takes place in the space of a week, so the children manage come to and leave Uncle Monty’s house extremely quickly. They get a taste of comfort which leads to only more sadness once it’s gone.
The children once again use their talents to foil the Count’s plans, but he manages to evade capture with the help of one of his crew. The characters have slightly developed. The children are learning to cope with the death of their parents, and Count Olaf is coming up with different ways to cause mischief.
The ending was a bit abrupt once more, but it wasn’t as bad as the first because there was a little bit of closure and the children were on the point of saying goodbye.
I am getting used to the way these books are written. It’s a bit tedious sometimes to read the long descriptions, but it’s also interesting to see how the author went about explaining certain phrases in ways that children might understand. (For example, ‘Meanwhile, back at the ranch’) It’s also interesting how the author managed to portray the children as the most perceptive characters in the book, when they are surrounded by adults.
The adventure continues, and the reader doesn’t really know what misfortune might happen next to the children. I would recommend the book to a young audience, but you may want to read the first one… first.