With the arrival of the new Netflix series, now is a perfect time to sink your teeth into Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. This series is unique and one of my favourites; Snicket’s narration is satirical, morbid and hilarious all at once, and although he will warn you many times that the books are best left alone, you will be missing out if you don’t take the chance to follow the lives of the Baudelaire children.
While the series deals with some heavy and depressing themes, the story never goes too long without Snicket’s in-book persona giving an absurd analogy or suspiciously specific definition that adds charm to each chapter. It’s easy to make the mistake of thinking these books are too serious or dreary, but every sentence is dripping with Snicket’s sardonic wit and dark comedy. The villains, while certainly loathsome, seem to be parodies of cliché “bad guys”, making them a bit easier for young readers to swallow. The heroes of the series – Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire – are made likeable by their sheer determination. The three children can’t fight their way out of their obstacles, instead relying on their intelligence. The heroes continuously find a way to save themselves, even when it looks like there is nothing that can help them. Rather than be the “chosen heroes” who are destined to succeed, the Baudelaires are frightened but resourceful children who have only each other to count on. Although there’s plenty more misery than happiness in this saga, every success the Baudelaires achieve is immensely satisfying.
This series is not for the optimistic reader, but if you’re a fan of mystery, there’s much more to the story than there first appears. The books are full of codes and riddles that are not always obvious, and some mysteries can only be solved either online, or in Snicket’s other work, The Beatrice Letters (which I would definitely recommend if you want to delve deeper into Snicket’s world). These books are incredibly clever and funny in their own way, and are guaranteed to keep you flipping pages.
A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket is available for sale here!