Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Book Review: A Series of Unfortunate Events: The End

Ok, so I'll try to keep my review short, sweet, and spoiler free.

I really enjoyed how the last book wrapped things up. There are 2 plots in this series. The first, is the story of the Baudelaire orphans, Count Olaf, and the confusing VFD. The second plot, is the story of the narrator, who is also connected to the first plot.

In regard to the main plot I think it ended quite well. The denoument was not too rushed. The author stayed true to his writing style throughout. The characters had satisfying development. And, the ending was as believable as the rest of the story was. That's really all I can say about it without giving too much away. While nothing is certain, I get the feeling that book 13 was the last book telling the story of the Baudelaire orphans.

The second plot, the one that is only hinted and teased at throughout by the narrator, delivered perfectly. It's the kind of thing that the narrator couldn't just interject and explain to the reader, since that would be drastically against the narrator's character type. But, the final clue to it all is laid out for the reader. This is the plot that is going to compell me to read the whole series over again (preferrably when I own them all and can do it continuously). The two plots worked together exquisitely well, serving to deepen the mystery, heighten the suspense, and add a layer of complexity to the story and about how and why the story is being written.

I enjoyed the series as a reader. It was entertaining and not too easy to guess the plot twists and turns. Some parts were a little slow and the narrator's melodramatic tone could be tiresome at times. But, the enjoyable parts far outweighed the negatives.

I enjoyed the series as a teacher. I can see these books as an excellent addition to any classroom library. The series also opens up many different issues that would be of interest to kids. For example, I'm sure students could go on quite passionately about the differents ways in which the Baudelaire orphans are treated by the adults in their lives. Or, there is also the classic good vs. evil conflict to explore. I think this would also be a delightful read aloud for the whole class. It would give the students an opportunity to work through the difficult and confusing passages together and demonstrate that even the adult teacher can be confused by a book (well, it would if I were the teacher).

Finally, I enjoyed the series as a writer. Whether you love it or hate it, you can't deny that the author has a very distinctive writing style. The narrators voice definitely comments on and colours the story. Even the page layout sometimes serves to enhance the meaning in the story. None of it is done in an arrogant or overbearing fashion either. It is all part of the story. The story wouldn't be the same if the narrator were removed and the plot would be far less enjoyable if it didn't have the melodramatic flair to it. It's a great example of how a story can be so much more than just words on a page.

1 comment:

Kim said...

Damn. You made the books sound so interesting that I'm going to have to start reading it. I've already read the first few books and now I'm going to have to go back and read all of them. Damn. Good review though. I know when you say that a book or a series of books ended satisfyingly then it must be true!