The End

Thursday, December 1, 2011

** There are no spoilers of Book 13, but this review assumes you’ve read the first 12 books in the series.

The End (Book 13, the final book)
by Lemony Snicket

We have come to the end… finally. For me, this was a long time coming. I loved this series at the beginning, but after 6 or 7 books it felt repetitive to me. I stayed with it though, reading only two or three of the books each year, because I wanted closure.

As I mentioned in my review of the 12th book, I had high expectations for this final installment. I’ve had a mixed reaction to some of the books in this series, but to me, this was one of the better ones. I loved all of the literary references to Moby Dick and The Tempest. I thought the “Call me Ish” bit was particularly funny.

I do think that there were still quite a few unanswered questions and that was a bit of a disappointment. There was such a big build up to the finale, I guess I thought there would be a lot more about the past and what led everyone to this final point. There was some of that, but not quite enough.

Here are a few things I wish were different about the entire series:

1) I understand that 13 is an unlucky number, but there didn’t need to be 13 books. The first 4 are great, books 5-10 have some good moments, but they are also incredibly repetitive. I think the series would have worked better if it had been condensed to about 10 books.

2) There are a few moments in the final book where the orphans think back on sweet memories they shared with their parents. I really wish there had been more of those throughout the whole series. There are very few times when we learn what their parents were like and I think I would have been more invested in the kids if I’d known more about their life before they became orphans.

3) I wish the book provided more closure for different characters. We never got to see the Quagmire triplets again. The books alluded to one of the Baudelaire parents possibly being alive, but unless I missed it, we never find out if that’s true or not. I just wish there had been a bit more information across the board.

Overall, I’m glad I read the series and there are so many things I loved about the way it was written. It was clever and funny. I think it would be a perfect read for preteens and a great vocabulary lesson for young readers. There are things I disliked and things I wish were different and because of that I can’t say I loved the series. But I’m glad I stuck with it and I would definitely read it with my niece and nephews one day if they were up for it.

“It's almost as if happiness is an acquired taste, like coconut cordial or ceviche, to which you can eventually become accustom, but despair is something surprising each time you encounter it.”

“It is a well-known, but curious fact that the first bite of an apple always tastes the best.”


Kristi said...

My nine-year-old started reading these this past summer, quite voraciously. He even convinced me to read the first one (it was pretty good). I think he stopped at book ten and hasn't picked up the rest. I'll have to try to convince him to finish them.

I did like the idea of them using bigger words and explaining them in the text. It was slightly annoying as an adult, but great for a kid.

Jillian said...

Hm I used to read this religiously, but thought the same way you did and found them a bit repetitive. Maybe I should get on it again and continue reading them?

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Kristi - I do think this is a series that doesn't translate quite as well for adults, but it's still entertaining.

Jillian - I wanted to finish for the sake of having closure. I guess it depends on if that's worth it for you.

Amanda said...

I love these with my whole heart. And life doesn't end up neatly tied in a bow; that's what I like the best about The End.

(P.S. You might enjoy The Beatrice Letters)

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Amanda - Honestly I think your love of them (and my OCD) is what made me stick with the series. I'm glad I did. I know life can be messy, but I was just so curious about so many characters. Maybe The Beatrice Letters will shed a bit more light.