A review of A Series of Unfortunate Events 1-13
Book: A Series of Unfortunate Events 1-13
Author: Lemony Snicket
Genre: Children’s/ Mystery/ Gothic Fiction/ Dark Humour
Age Recommendation: 10+
“In this book, not only is there no happy ending, there is no happy beginning and very few happy things in the middle.”
I have wanted to read A Series of Unfortunate Events since I first saw the film in 2004. It has taken me 12 years but I can finally say I have read the entire series!
The series is made up of 13 (unlucky!) books, each with 13 (unlucky!) chapters and around 200-300 pages. Each book is an easy read so they are perfect little books to read when you have a busy schedule!
A Series of Unfortunate Events tells the story of three children Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire. At the beginning of the series, Violet is 14 years old and loves inventing things. Klaus is 12 and loves to read. Sunny is a baby who cannot talk yet and loves to bite things. In The Bad Beginning, the children become orphans after a tragic fire and are sent to live with Count Olaf who plots to steal their inheritance. As the series goes on, you learn about the unfortunate events that the children find themselves in, each event being equally absurd and mysterious. Their adventures include being sent to a boarding school, working at a carnival, climbing a mountain, living on a submarine and surviving many fires! Despite there being 13 installments, I never got bored of reading about the Baudelaire’s adventures.
The series is set in an arguably timeless world with similarities to the 19th-century but with contemporary scientific knowledge. Not being able to place the story in a certain time or location makes the story of the Baudelaires seem quite magical and exciting to read because you never know what could happen next. This also makes the unfortunate events seem a little less impossible. Baby Sunny finding employment in an office? Sure. A hotel? Of course. A lumber mill? Why not.
The books have been written as if narrated by Lemony Snicket, with regular intrusive commentary that made me laugh out loud. Throughout the series, the narrator reminds you that these books contain everything he knows about the story of the Baudelaire orphans and admits that, in his research, he has not been able to find all of the details. For this reason, you can find yourself asking a lot of questions. For me, I found this really clever because this is how both Snicket and the Baudelaires have felt through the duration of the series and now I feel the same way.
Whilst the books can be very dark at times, they are also cleverly written, very funny and full of adventure. I loved reading this series far more than I could have imagined. I miss reading about the Baudelaires already. I highly recommend A Series of Unfortunate Events if you enjoy children’s lit and don’t have a lot of time to read a bigger novel!