Tuesday, 16 January 2018

A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book the Third: The Wide Window Review (Lemony Snicket, Brett Helquist)

Oh my criminy, I am so done with this series! What happens in The Wide Window, the third book in A Series of Unfortunate Events? The EXACT SAME STORY THAT HAPPENED IN THE FIRST TWO BOOKS! The Baudelaire orphans are placed with a distant relative, the villainous Count Olaf tries to do away with them and steal their fortune, he predictably fails, escapes, and the kids are relocated to some other hapless relative so the whole damn thing can repeat itself in the next book! I noticed this disappointing pattern in the second book, The Reptile Room, but hoped it was a one-off – nope, this looks to be the template for the entire series! I’ve read the same story for three books now and I can’t takes the formulaic repetition no more! 

Daniel Handler/Lemony Snicket unimaginatively recycles the same dreary guff in yet another jaw-droppingly cheeky and lazy effort. If anything it gets worse as Lemony Snicket’s annoying explanations of complicated words is compounded by a new character called Aunt Josephine who is extremely pedantic about grammar – and she’s as annoying as you’d expect! Once again Olaf is easily discernible through his disguise while the adults fail to take the children seriously AGAIN so we have to wait for the boring plot to catch up with what the reader knows the instant “Captain Sham” appears – to describe it all as tedious at this point is an understatement. 

The Wide Window is such a thoroughly unfunny and uninteresting reading experience that I’m abandoning the series now rather than suffer through reading the same story for another TEN books! Maybe I’m wrong though – if you’ve made it through the whole series, let me know if it changes tack after this book and improves and I might reconsider – but I recommend reading just the first book and then finding something else instead of continuing with this maddeningly trite title.

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