Friday, 12 January 2018

A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book the Second: The Reptile Room Review (Lemony Snicket, Brett Helquist)

Wow, this series tanked hard - and so damn soon after a great first book! I kinda expected it to dip in quality gradually, like every series does at some point, but so quickly and by so much in just the second book? That’s impressive!

So the orphaned Baudelaire children, Violet, Klaus and Sunny, are sent to a new distant relative to stay with. This time it’s their Uncle Monty, who’s a herpetologist (a scientist who studies amphibians/reptiles). Then Count Olaf appears and the same charade from the first book is repeated and it’s over. Really? Really. 

I guess good for the kids that they wound up, however temporarily, with a nice relative after the misery of staying with Count Olaf but unfortunately pleasant things aren’t in the least bit interesting to read (that’s why I can’t abide Alexander McCall Smith’s books or that abominable Lake Wobegon crap)! And once Olaf does appear, in disguise, we instantly know it’s him so we have to wait for the adult characters - whose contrived stupidity has already gotten annoying - to figure it out. And boy does that swiftly get tedious when nothing else is happening! 

I liked that the series still has an edge to it (by children’s books standards) with the fate of Uncle Monty, the book is well-written and Count Olaf remains an interesting character. But for the most part The Reptile Room was an immensely boring and worthless addition to the series. Thank jeebus these books are quick to read otherwise I’d’ve packed it in long before the end! Hopefully the next book picks up by cutting out the filler and actually having a semi-compelling story!

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