Find your next favorite book

Become a member today and read free for 30 days
A Series of Unfortunate Events #10: The Slippery Slope

A Series of Unfortunate Events #10: The Slippery Slope

Read preview

A Series of Unfortunate Events #10: The Slippery Slope

ratings:
4.5/5 (104 ratings)
Length:
232 pages
3 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Oct 13, 2009
ISBN:
9780061757105
Format:
Book

Description

From Scribd: About the Book

The tenth novel in Lemony Snickett's beloved A Series of Unfortunate Events books, The Slippery Slope, finds the hopelessly unlucky Baudelaire orphans facing their enemies once again as the clever children hope to escape the clutches of Count Olaf. Now, the Baudelaires find themselves trying to save young Sunny from where she's being kept at the top of an icy mountain.

With all of the perils of the other books in the series, Violet, Klaus, and Sunny struggle to get away from the danger they've faced since the tragic fire destroyed their home and killed their parents. Count Olaf seems to pop-up wherever they are, no matter where they go, and he's always got a dastardly plan ready to try to get his hands on the Baudelaire fortune.

Will Violet, Klaus, and Sunny get out of this horrid situation? Or will they finally succumb to Olaf's traps? The exciting saga continues in The Slippery Slope, a book you might be better off without.

Publisher:
Released:
Oct 13, 2009
ISBN:
9780061757105
Format:
Book

About the author

Lemony Snicket had an unusual education which may or may not explain his ability to evade capture. He is the author of the 13 volumes in A Series of Unfortunate Events, several picture books including The Dark, and the books collectively titled All The Wrong Questions.


Related to A Series of Unfortunate Events #10

Related Books

Book Preview

A Series of Unfortunate Events #10 - Lemony Snicket

CHAPTER

One

A man of my acquaintance once wrote a poem called The Road Less Traveled, describing a journey he took through the woods along a path most travelers never used. The poet found that the road less traveled was peaceful but quite lonely, and he was probably a bit nervous as he went along, because if anything happened on the road less traveled, the other travelers would be on the road more frequently traveled and so couldn’t hear him as he cried for help. Sure enough, that poet is now dead.

Like a dead poet, this book can be said to be on the road less traveled, because it begins with the three Baudelaire children on a path leading through the Mortmain Mountains, which is not a popular destination for travelers, and it ends in the churning waters of the Stricken Stream, which few travelers even go near. But this book is also on the road less traveled, because unlike books most people prefer, which provide comforting and entertaining tales about charming people and talking animals, the tale you are reading now is nothing but distressing and unnerving, and the people unfortunate enough to be in the story are far more desperate and frantic than charming, and I would prefer to not speak about the animals at all. For that reason, I can no more suggest the reading of this woeful book than I can recommend wandering around the woods by yourself, because like the road less traveled, this book is likely to make you feel lonely, miserable, and in need of help.

The Baudelaire orphans, however, had no choice but to be on the road less traveled. Violet and Klaus, the two elder Baudelaires, were in a caravan, traveling very quickly along the high mountain path. Neither Violet, who was fourteen, nor Klaus, who had recently turned thirteen, had ever thought they would find themselves on this road, except perhaps with their parents on a family vacation. But the Baudelaire parents were nowhere to be found after a terrible fire destroyed their home—although the children had reason to believe that one parent may not have died in the blaze after all—and the caravan was not heading up the Mortmain Mountains, toward a secret headquarters the siblings had heard about and were hoping to find. The caravan was heading down the Mortmain Mountains, very quickly, with no way to control or stop its journey, so Violet and Klaus felt more like fish in a stormy sea than travelers on a vacation.

But Sunny Baudelaire was in a situation that could be said to be even more desperate. Sunny was the youngest Baudelaire, still learning to speak in a way that everyone could understand, so she scarcely had words for how frightened she was. Sunny was traveling uphill, toward the headquarters in the Mortmain Mountains, in an automobile that was working perfectly, but the driver of the automobile was a man who was reason enough for being terrified. Some people called this man wicked. Some called him facinorous, which is a fancy word for wicked. But everyone called him Count Olaf, unless he was wearing one of his ridiculous disguises and making people call him a false name. Count Olaf was an actor, but he had largely abandoned his theatrical career to try to steal the enormous fortune the Baudelaire parents had left behind. Olaf’s schemes to get the fortune had been mean-spirited and particularly complicated, but nevertheless he had managed to attract a girlfriend, a villainous and stylish woman named Esmé Squalor, who was sitting next to Count Olaf in the car, cackling nastily and clutching Sunny on her lap. Also in the car were several employees of Olaf’s, including a man with hooks instead of hands, two women who liked to wear white powder all over their faces, and three new comrades Olaf had recently recruited at Caligari Carnival. The Baudelaire children had been at the carnival, too, wearing disguises of their own, and had pretended to join Count Olaf in his treachery, but the villain had seen through their ruse, a phrase which here means realized who they really were, and cut the knot attaching the caravan to the car, leaving Sunny in Olaf’s clutches and her siblings tumbling toward their doom. Sunny sat in the car and felt Esmé’s long fingernails scratch her shoulders, and worried about what would happen to her and what was happening to her older siblings, as she heard their screams getting fainter and fainter as the car drove farther and farther away.

We have to stop this caravan! Klaus screamed. Hurriedly, he put on his glasses, as if by improving his vision he might improve the situation. But even in perfect focus, he could see their predicament was dire. The caravan had served as a home for several performers at the carnival’s House of Freaks before they defected—a word which here means joined Count Olaf’s band of revolting comrades—and now the contents of this tiny home were rattling and crashing with each bump in the road. Klaus ducked to avoid a roasting pan, which Hugo the hunchback had used to prepare meals and which had toppled off a shelf in the commotion. He lifted his feet from the floor as a set of dominoes skittered by—a set that Colette the contortionist had liked to play with. And he squinted above him as a hammock swung violently overhead. An ambidextrous person named Kevin used to sleep in that hammock until he had joined Olaf’s troupe, along with Hugo and Colette, and now it seemed like it might fall at any moment and trap the Baudelaires beneath it.

The only comforting thing that Klaus could see was his sister, who was looking around the caravan with a fierce and thoughtful expression and unbuttoning the shirt the two siblings were sharing as part of their disguise. Help me get us out of these freakish pants we’re both in, Violet said. There’s no use pretending we’re a two-headed person anymore, and we both need to be as able-bodied as possible.

In moments, the two Baudelaires wriggled out of the oversized clothing they had taken from Count Olaf’s disguise kit and were standing in regular clothes, trying to balance in the shaky caravan. Klaus quickly stepped out of the path of a falling potted plant, but he couldn’t help smiling as he looked at his sister. Violet was tying her hair up in a ribbon to keep it out of her eyes, a sure sign that she was thinking up an invention. Violet’s impressive mechanical skills had saved the Baudelaires’ lives more times than they could count, and Klaus was certain that his sister could concoct something that could stop the caravan’s perilous journey.

Are you going to make a brake? Klaus asked.

Not yet, Violet said. A brake interferes with the wheels of a vehicle, and this caravan’s wheels are spinning too quickly for interference. I’m going to unhook these hammocks and use them as a drag chute.

Drag chute? Klaus said.

Drag chutes are a little like parachutes attached to the back of a car, Violet explained hurriedly, as a coatrack clattered around her. She reached up to the hammock where she and Klaus had slept and quickly detached it from the wall. Race drivers use them to help stop their cars when a race is over. If I dangle these hammocks out the caravan door, we should slow down considerably.

What can I do? Klaus said.

Look in Hugo’s pantry, Violet said, and see if you can find anything sticky.

When someone tells you to do something unusual without an explanation, it is very difficult not to ask why, but Klaus had learned long ago to have faith in his sister’s ideas, and quickly crossed to a large cupboard Hugo had used to store ingredients for the meals he prepared. The door of the cupboard was swinging back and forth as if a ghost were fighting with it, but most of the items were still rattling around inside. Klaus looked at the cupboard and thought of his baby sister, who was getting farther and farther away from him. Even though Sunny was still quite young, she had recently shown an interest in cooking, and Klaus remembered how she had made up her own hot chocolate recipe, and helped prepare a delicious soup the entire caravan had enjoyed. Klaus held the cupboard door open and peered inside, and hoped that his sister would survive to develop her culinary skills.

Klaus, Violet said firmly, taking down another hammock and tying it to the first one. I don’t mean to rush you, but we need to stop this caravan as soon as possible. Have you found anything sticky?

Klaus blinked and returned to the task at hand. A ceramic pitcher rolled around his feet as he pushed through the bottles and jars of cooking materials. There’s lots of sticky things here, he said. "I see blackstrap molasses, wild clover honey, corn syrup, aged balsamic vinegar, apple butter, strawberry jam, caramel sauce, maple syrup, butterscotch topping, maraschino liqueur, virgin and extra-virgin olive oil, lemon curd, dried apricots, mango chutney, crema di noci, tamarind paste, hot mustard, marshmallows, creamed corn, peanut butter, grape preserves, salt water taffy, condensed milk, pumpkin pie filling, and glue. I don’t know why Hugo kept glue in the pantry, but never mind. Which items do you want?"

All of them, Violet said firmly. Find some way of mixing them, while I tie these hammocks together.

Klaus grabbed the pitcher from the floor and began to pour the ingredients into it, while Violet, sitting on the floor to make it easier to balance, gathered the cords of the hammocks in her lap and began twisting them into a knot. The caravan’s journey grew rougher and rougher, and with each jolt, the Baudelaires felt a bit seasick, as if they were back on Lake Lachrymose, crossing its stormy waters to try and rescue one of their many unfortunate guardians. But despite the tumult around them, in moments Violet stood up with the hammocks gathered in her arms, all tied together in a mass of fabric, and Klaus looked at his sister and held up the pitcher, which was filled to the brim with a thick and colorful slime.

When I say the word, Violet said, I’m going to open the door and cast these hammocks out. I want you at the other end of the caravan, Klaus. Open that little window and pour that mixture all over the wheels. If the hammocks work as a drag chute and the sticky substance interferes with the wheels, the caravan should slow down enough to save us. I just need to tie the hammocks to the doorknob.

Are you using the Devil’s Tongue knot? Klaus asked.

The Devil’s Tongue hasn’t brought us the best luck, Violet said, referring to several previous rope-related escapades. I’m using the Sumac, a knot I invented myself. I named it after a singer I admire. There—it feels secure. Are you ready to pour that mixture onto the wheels?

Klaus crossed to the window and opened it. The wild clattering sound of the caravan’s wheels grew louder, and the Baudelaires stared for a moment at the countryside racing by. The land was jagged and twisty, and it seemed that the caravan could tumble at any moment into a hole, or off the edge of one of the mountain’s square peaks. I guess I’m ready, Klaus said hesitantly. Violet, before we try your invention, I want to tell you something.

If we don’t try it now, Violet said grimly, you won’t have the chance to tell me anything. She gave her knot one more tug and then turned back to Klaus. Now! she said, and threw open the caravan door.

It is often said that if you have a room with a view, you will feel peaceful and relaxed, but if the room is a caravan hurtling down a steep and twisted road, and the view is an eerie mountain range racing backward away from you, while chilly mountain winds sting your face and toss dust into your eyes, then you will not feel one bit of peace or relaxation. Instead you will feel the horror and panic that the Baudelaires felt when Violet opened the door. For a moment they could do nothing but stand still, feeling the wild tilting of the caravan, and looking up at the odd, square peaks of the Mortmain Mountains, and hearing the grinding of the caravan’s wheels as they rolled over rocks and tree stumps. But then Violet shouted Now! once more, and both siblings snapped into action. Klaus leaned out the window and began to pour the mixture of blackstrap molasses, wild clover honey, corn syrup, aged balsamic vinegar, apple butter, strawberry jam, caramel sauce, maple syrup, butterscotch topping, maraschino liqueur, virgin and extra-virgin olive oil, lemon curd, dried apricots, mango chutney, crema di noci, tamarind paste, hot mustard, marshmallows, creamed corn, peanut butter, grape preserves, salt water taffy, condensed milk, pumpkin pie filling, and glue onto the closest wheels, while his sister tossed the hammocks out of the door, and if you have read anything of the Baudelaire orphans’ lives—which I hope you have not—then you will not be surprised to read that Violet’s invention worked perfectly. The hammocks immediately caught the rushing air and swelled out behind the caravan like enormous cloth balloons, which slowed the caravan down quite a bit, the way you would run much slower if you were dragging something behind you, like a knapsack or a sheriff. The sticky mixture fell on the spinning wheels, which immediately began to move with less ferocity, the way you would run with less ferocity if you suddenly found yourself running in quicksand or through lasagne. The caravan slowed down, and the wheels spun less wildly, and within moments the two Baudelaires were traveling at a much more comfortable pace.

It’s working! Klaus cried.

We’re not done yet, Violet said, and walked over to a small table that had overturned in the confusion. When the Baudelaires were living at Caligari Carnival, the table had come in handy as a place to sit and make plans, but now in the Mortmain Mountains, it would come in handy for a different reason. Violet dragged the table over to the open door. Now that the wheels are slowing down, she said, we can use this as a brake.

Klaus dumped the last of the mixture out of the pitcher, and turned to his sister. How? he said, but Violet was already showing him how. Quickly she lay on the floor, and holding the table by its legs, dangled it out of the caravan so it dragged on the ground. Immediately there was a loud scraping sound, and the table began to shake roughly in Violet’s hands. But she held fast, forcing the table to scrape against the rocky ground and slow the caravan down even more. The swaying of the caravan became gentler and gentler, and the fallen items owned by the carnival employees stopped crashing, and then with one last whine, the wheels stopped altogether, and everything was still. Violet leaned out of the door and stuck the table in front of one of the wheels so it couldn’t start rolling again, and then stood up and looked at her brother.

We did it, Violet said.

"You did it, Klaus said. The entire plan was your idea." He put down the pitcher on the floor and wiped his hands on a fallen towel.

Don’t put down that pitcher, Violet said, looking around the wreckage of the caravan. We should gather up as many useful things as possible. We’ll need to get this caravan moving uphill if we want to rescue Sunny.

And reach the headquarters, Klaus added. Count Olaf has the map we found, but I remember that the headquarters are in the Valley of Four Drafts, near the source of the Stricken Stream. It’ll be very cold there.

Well, there is plenty of clothing, Violet said, looking around. Let’s grab everything we can and organize it outside.

Klaus nodded in agreement, and picked up the pitcher again, along with several items of clothing that had fallen in a heap on top of a small hand mirror that belonged to Colette. Staggering from carrying so many things, he walked out of the caravan behind his sister, who was carrying a large bread knife, three heavy coats, and a ukulele that Hugo used to play sometimes on lazy afternoons. The floors of the caravan creaked as the Baudelaires stepped outside, into the misty and empty landscape, and realized how fortunate they had been.

The caravan had stopped right at the edge of one of the odd, square peaks of the mountain range. The Mortmain Mountains looked like a staircase, heading up into the clouds or down into a veil of thick, gray mist, and if the caravan had kept going in the same direction, the two Baudelaires would have toppled over the peak and fallen down through the mist to the next stair,

You've reached the end of this preview. Sign up to read more!
Page 1 of 1

Reviews

What people think about A Series of Unfortunate Events #10

4.3
104 ratings / 45 Reviews
What did you think?
Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    I started on my reread of the final books of ASOUE this month to prepare for the third season and I loved TSS. I do not have anything to say that is not spoilery. I loved it. I loved being back in the world.
  • (5/5)
    Nearing the end of the Baudelaire children's story, this book manages to be as compelling and interesting as ever. I read it a long time ago, but I do recall the books as all being darkly humorous and very readable. I highly recommend for children (and adults) who can enjoy a certain type of snarky humor.
  • (4/5)
    While this instalment of the series can be a little slow in places (especially when it comes to the translation of Verbal Fridge Dialogue), it also felt as though it was starting to move the story along. Finally - after nine other instalments - we learn who the VFD are and start to get some hints as to what it was that shattered the organisation. Finally, we get a clearer picture of how all of the adults (possibly all adults everywhere) are connected and why some are more benevolent towards the Baudelaires than others.We also get a clear idea of the trajectory that the series will take next, at last starting to show the villains' master plan and setting the orphans on a wider quest. It's not just a matter of clearing their names anymore, but a race to save the potentially unaware members of the VFD from their enemies. There are also many hints at a bigger picture that the reader can't quite see - glimpses of long running feuds within the organisation, and we're still no closer to understanding the significance of the sugar bowl.In terms of characterisation, the book is also very strong. Sunny gets her own solo mission in this book, proving that she is no longer a baby as she learns to prepare simple yet delicious meals and spies on Olaf and his troupe. While Violet and Klaus play a much smaller role in this book, we still get to see them question if their recent villainous behaviour is worth it, as well as discover just who it was who survived the fire.The climax of this story was utterly thrilling (and surprisingly optimistic for this series), and I really look forward to seeing what new secrets the Baudelaires will discover in the Grim Grotto.
  • (4/5)
    I'm going to review all four of the last books in this series in one review, since I read them all at one go due to the quick plot pacing, and now they've mushed together in my brain. These are wonderful! When I first started, this series, I was underwhelmed, but Snickett grows up his books like he grows up the Baudelaires. Unlike many coming-of-age stories, this one manages to avoid the trite and the untrue. Despite Snickett's fantastical style and plot twists, there is deep reality at the core of these books, which manage to show the world in all its nastiness and how difficult it is to be a "volunteer instead of a villain," and yet it conveys the desperate need for each of us to try. It also teaches voculary, is subtley hilarious if you already have a big one, and imparts a love of science, literature, poetry, and even good cooking. Highly recommended for all the young, and old, people in your life!
  • (4/5)
    The Slippery Slope, the 10th book in the Series of Unfortunate Events, chronicling the misadventures of the Baudelaire children. I think this is one of the best books in the series up to this point. The story moves right along at a fairly fast pace. All the Baudelaire's are growing up and becoming more responsible for their actions. Both the ending of the last book and the title of this one suggests an important plot point that will be reached, and hopefully successfully overcome. The book title The Slippery Slope referred both a physical obstacle, and a logical one which had to be surmounted (here meaning both to climb, and to follow ones conscience) in order for Klaus and Violet to try and save their baby sister Sunny. from the clutches of Count Olaf and his troupe.Once again, another horrible edition to the sorrowful lives of the Baudelaire's.
  • (4/5)
    This one seemed especially long, but quite a lot happens in it, so maybe it's appropriate.Quigley is a great addition to the gang. I love how everyone has one specific talent. It might be a rather juvenile way of writing characters, but Lemony Snicket pulls it off very well. It also helps that his characters are interesting, and his plot is interesting, and his writing is very good.Overall the best part about this book is Sunny. I swear she might be my favorite of the Baudelaires, because she's probably the most resourceful. And the fact that she's growing up brings me to tears..
  • (2/5)
    More of the same plot (just a different location and a few new characters)...still enjoyable, but you can't read too many of these in a row.
  • (4/5)
    The children, are, quite literally, sliding down the slippery slope as the book opens. Actually more like plummeting. But - a typically-ridiculous scheme saves them, they meet a group of Scouts in the mountains who sing an annoying and repetitive song (if you thought that it couldn't get worse than 'have a heart-shaped balloon; you were wrong.)
    Plus, the terrible Carmelita Spats is back!
    On the more positive side; they meet the presumed-dead Quigley Quagmire - who might actually know something concrete about the mysterious V.F.D.
    Will the children be able to rescue Sunny from the nefarious clutches of Count Olaf, and unravel the mystery behind what happened to their parents in that terrible tragedy that left them orphans?
  • (5/5)
    This is probably one of the most adventurous books in the series. Two siblings going down, one sibling going up. Snicket left me wanting to read more and more and more.
  • (3/5)
    Sunny comes into her own as "a young girl" and no longer a baby. She also develops an interest in cooking. Oh, and the Beaudelaires escape from Count Olaf again. Many more answers to series-long mysteries in this one, so that's good.
  • (5/5)
    A good book in the series. As always we get answers and even more questions! Darn you, Lemony Snicket!! Still, I did enjoy this read and already started the next book. I would recommend this. 5 out of 5 stars.
  • (3/5)
    Now the books are raising interesting moral questions. I'll keep going.
  • (5/5)
    I am pleased to report that The Slippery Slope is as good as, if not better than, The Carnivorous Carnival! I did not want to put it down. The reader finally gets to meet Quigley the missing triplet, once again encounters the character who I consider to be the biggest cakesniffer of them all, and "watches" as Sunny stops being a baby and grows into a "young girl". Change is certainly in the cold mountain air. With only three volumes to go in the series I'm getting excited to see what twists and turns remain in the Baudelaire orphans' adventure. Now go get #11, The Grim Grotto, and start reading, you cakesniffers! And don't forget to be accommodating, basic, calm, darling....
  • (3/5)
    The 10th book in the Series of Unfortunate Events gives readers more of the same. The three orphans are still battling Count Olaf and his crew, but they have been separated from each other. Olaf has kidnapped the youngest, Sunny and the two older siblings, Violet and Klaus, are trying to rescue her. The book does a lot of rehashing of the previous books. It felt like the author was just trying stretch it out to cram more books in the series than the story needed. The only major plot advancement was the introduction of Quigley Quagmire, the third triplet who is believed dead before this book. I know I'll finish the series, because my curiosity must be satisfied, but I think the series' plot could easily have fit into 10 books.
  • (4/5)
    The longest of the series so far, this book still manages to be gripping, funny, heartbreaking and fresh. I can't wait to read the final 3 books!
  • (5/5)
    The Bauldelaires are split up in this installment of their lives as they battle to reach each other on a freezing mountain and search through more clues about VFD.
  • (4/5)
    This is the tenth book in the series. This serie is fun, humorous and clever. It's about 3 kids who are running away from a evil man named Count Olaf. He is trying to get their fortune, but the kids always mange to escape. from him. This book will make you laugh, think and it'll make you want to keep reading.
  • (4/5)
    This book really stood out for me because of Sunny's growth. I loved seeing her get some spotlight for a change.
  • (4/5)
    The central moral dilemma in this installment is how far can one go before one becomes wicked as well. It's a bit silly, because the villains in these books are so ridiculously evil, but at the same time, makes a reasonable point. There are more clues about what the vfd is and who their parents really were. At least they are out from under the poor supervision of Mr. Poe!
  • (4/5)
    Still great! There were a few great surprises in this one. Sunny continues to grow up, and the Baudelaires find a new(ish) friend. I even thought that things were going to be looking up for the orphans, but I should have known better.
  • (4/5)
    Book 10 in Lemony Snicket's "A Series of Unfortunate Events" picks up where the prior book left off -- with Violet and Klaus Baudelaire hurtling down a mountainside in a caravan car and Sunny Baudelaire trapped in her enemy's grasp. However, "The Slippery Slope" moves away from the somewhat repetitive formula used in the past books (Kids go to a guardian, Olaf wears a disguise and tricks them, they escape...) and becomes much more interesting and entertaining this time around. Snicket's humor and crisp writing style remains, so even when the plot twists are somewhat obvious I remained interested and entertained as I read. I hope the remaining books in the series continue in this vein.
  • (5/5)
    Oh my gosh! I loved this book! This is probably my top favorite book out of this series. There is a new character in this book who you will love! At least I did. Very good book.
  • (5/5)
    The Slippery Slope is the 10th installment of the ever so dreadful series called "A Series of Unfortunate Events", featuring the three Baudelaire orphans; Violet (14 year old inventor), Klaus (her well read brother) and the youngest Sunny (the ever talented chomper). The book began with a really bad start, where Violet and Klaus are plummeling down the mountain to their death while Sunny is left in Count Olaf's hands so he could get his filthy hands on the Baudelaire's fortune. After their close call, they meet up with the third missing Quigley Quagmire, who were thought to be dead in the first place! The three of them do whatever it takes to decipher the ever so mysterious VFD, giving Violet and Klaus more important informaton about their parents' past involvement with the VFD. Meanwhile, Sunny tries her best to keep herself safe, by stalling and doing some chores set by Count Olaf and his evil troupe for her to complete, as cooking, hoping her siblings are safe somewhere and not dead in the feet of the mountains. While she is in Count Olaf's hands, she overheard some things that's useful for her and her siblings to persue in the future. At first, I wasn't really looking forward to read this one after how that last book ended. I love the cover and the plot really pulls you in like always.
  • (3/5)
    Summary: The Baudelaires are in hot pursuit of the sugar bowl and did one parent really survive a fire? And will everything really come together at a slippery slope? I think not, but close to it.ReviewL It was okay.
  • (2/5)
    I wish I hadn't started reading this series but now I have to find out how it ends.
  • (4/5)
    The plot is getting better and doesn't feel like it's the same thing over and over. Eager to read the last three though.
  • (4/5)
    The sad saga presses on. This installment of unfortunate events starts with a bang, or several bangs, as Klaus and Violet rush down a mountain in a runaway caravan, set off by their nemesis Olaf at the conclusion of the last book. Of course, their ingenuity saves the day, and they escape a death by plummeting off the mountain side; unfortunately, Olaf still has Sunny in his clutches, so their troubles are only partly solved. As they climb the mountain they just rolled down, this time on foot and much slower, they meet the odd characters that are typical of this darkly funny series, and even find a new friend. What's more, this new friend (who is closely related to some old friends who disappeared) takes them to a building in the heart of the mountains, one that answers a lot of questions the children have had about their parents, their parents' friends, and the VFD. While the children spent a lot of time lamenting that they had more questions than answers, the astute reader knows that this book actually answers quite a lot of questions that have been raised throughout the series. You might have to do a bit of inferring and piecing together, but all the clues are there. We know why Olaf has targeted the Baudelaires and certain others, for instance, and why fire has played such a big role in the story. We learn why both good guys and bad guys are sharing the same symbol, the spooky eye. The overall plot is significantly furthered, and that's a good thing, since we have only three more books in the entire series. Also, the books have definitely moved away from the typical plot formula they followed before, although other repetitive elements remain. The children are still faced with ridiculous situations that require research and invention and sheer courage to confront, the theme of costume is strong, although it has now switched from Olaf wearing the costumes to the children wearing them (and I do miss seeing what crazy get-up Olaf would don next, I must admit), and the troupe of villains and other supporting characters return. Snicket's quirky style remains charmingly snarky. The overall tone of the books have changed, though. Whereas before, it was a battle of secrecy and deception, it feels more like outright warfare. In early books, the children were placed in what society considered "normal" positions - although we and the children clearly saw that they were anything but normal, which was a good source of ironic humor - and Olaf would sneak in, under a new disguise, and try to steal the children away through treachery. None of the adults, whether they were well meaning or otherwise, realized the terrible truth until it was too late. Now, though, the children are on their own. They have been branded as criminals, and since they are outsiders from society, Olaf has no worries about trying to fool others. If he sees them, he will keep one and kill the others, and so it is the children who are in hiding, trying to figure out the mystery behind their parents and how to stop Olaf for good. In other words, all the action has escalated, and you clearly get a sense that events are unfolding towards a climax. I hope that the foreseeable conclusion justifiably wraps up the series and the characters to my satisfaction.
  • (4/5)
    Cold and Bitter.
  • (3/5)
    The latest installment of The Series Of Unfortunate Events picks up right where the last one left off - with Sunny Beaudelaire in the villianous clutches of Count Olaf and Esme Squalour, and Sunny's siblings, Violet and Klaus, about to be dropped off a cliff. In this volume, new characters are met up with, much more is learned about the mysterious VFD, and we get to see the characters of the Beaudelaires explored some more. Oddly enough, I used to enjoy this series because of how repetitive and formulaic it was - and yet, with the last few volumes, it's perfectly eschewed the conventions it set up in the first six parts, and I'm still enjoying it greatly.
  • (4/5)
    This is a book that has alot of adventures in it and it is a very suspensful book. You never know what is going to happen next. I recommend this book to teachers who have students who like adventure or that just had a death in their family.