The Penultimate Peril

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

** There are no spoilers of Book 12, but this review assumes you’ve read the first 11 books in the series.

The Penultimate Peril (Book 12)
by Lemony Snicket

The word Penultimate is defined as “The second to last in a series or sequence.” What a fantastic word to use in the title of this, the second to last book in the Series of Unfortunate Events.

Kit Snicket (fictional author, Lemony’s sister) takes the Baudelaire orphans, Sunny, Violet and Klaus, to the Hotel Denouement, where the mysterious VFD will be meeting in a few days. The siblings must disguise themselves as concierges to find out more information about the society. Along the way they run into almost every villain or friend they have met along the way in the first 11 books, though the Quagmire triplets were no where to be seen. The hotel is cleverly organized by using the Dewey Decimal system, which I loved.

The series is finally coming together and we are able to see what role the characters have played in the wider saga. Everyone has to pick their final side, good or evil, and a few decisions are surprising.

I am desperately hoping that Snicket can pull off an ending that makes the whole series worth while. I’m sure my expectations are pretty high at this point, but when you leave so many questions unanswered for 12 books, your readers are going to expect you to explain everything I the final book. I know that I’ll be really disappointed if things are left open-ended.

Fingers crossed.


Kristi said...

I have books 1-5 in the series. I bought them for my kids, but since they haven't picked them up, I think I should. I'm glad you're enjoying it. How fun that there are 13. I really hope my kids get into it because they won't have to search for a new book for a little while.

Sandy Nawrot said...

I've not read any of these, but I know they are popular at the kids' school. Love the title, and I love the idea of them meeting up with all their previous adversaries! You can almost feel the tension building from your review!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Kristi - I get burned out on them if I read them in quick succession, but it's probably different if you're a kid. I used to read Babysitters Club books back-to-back and those are so formulaic.

Sandy - The book does have that feel, which is good, unless the final book is anticlimactic.

Darlyn (Your Move, Dickens) said...

I read the first four books in the series a couple of years ago, and I completely loved them--especially the narrator. Lemony Snicket--or whoever he is--is awesome, both as a narrator and character. I love it when he makes fun of himself. Your review makes me want to read the rest of the books in the series. :)

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Darlyn - The first four (esp. #2) are so good. Then there's a big lag in the middle and then it picks up again towards the end of the series. I think he could have cut a couple out of the middle, but I do love Snicket as a narrator. His voice keeps me coming back.

Amanda said...

I LOVE The End. But you know that already.