A Dark, Cold Discovery (The Grim Grotto – A Book Review)

The Grim Grotto (ASOUE #11)

Author: Lemony Snicket

Published: 2004

On Goodreads

My Rating: 

Rated F for formidable fungi fun that’s not really fun.

Unless you are a slug, a sea anemone, or mildew, you probably prefer no to be damp. You might prefer to read this book, in which the Baudelaire siblings encounter an unpleasant amount of dampness as they descend into the depths of despair, underwater.

After a treacherous sled ride down the Mortmain Mountains, losing their fired Quigley, the lost Quagmire, and with Count Olaf right behind them, the Baudelaires wash out to sea where they encounter more than just a submarine. In fact, they encounter a number of horrors as they become a part of the crew of the Queqeg. From something dark and ominous lurking in the dark depths to mighty discoveries in a poisonous cavern to dastardly double-crosses. The search for something lost proves more difficult than imagined.

A Series of Unfortunate Events is 1 of 3 books series I am rereading this year as a part of my New Year’s Resolution. This is book 11 of 13.

ASOUE Reviews

The Bad Beginning

The Reptile Room

The Wide Window

The Miserable Mill

The Austere Academy

The Ersatz Elevator

The Vile Village

The Hostile Hospital

The Carnivorous Carnival

The Slippery Slope

Like The Vile Village and The Slippery Slope, this didn’t rank high with me. There were moments that had me excited and thrilled but in its entirety, I wasn’t in love with this book. From Captain Widdershins saying Aye! too much to his stepdaughter, Fiona, struck me in a grey area. Much like Madam Lulu, Fiona mostly seeks to further her own goals. Sure, they include finding the mysterious sugar bowl, but now so much to help the VFD it seems. The Captain is on the side of VFD, so I guess he helped guide her. But with the minor arc for the hook-handed man, Fernald, coming into play, it really threw the Queqeg’s morals up in the air. I liked that he got his own spotlight and how it showed just how interwoven everyone is throughout the schism. Really intricate and smart.

And while the plot and story itself left me a tad bored, I was massively impressed by Snicket’s main point. That in the midst of the schism, everybody is capable of good and evil. That sometimes people will do evil things for a good purpose and vice versa. That’s exactly what the Baudelaires have been going through. Having helped burn down the carnival and holding Esme hostage for example. Nobody is perfect. People will do a mixture of things whether for selfish purposes or for what they believe to be the greater good.

Getting to see the Bombinating Beast AKA The Great Unknown again was wicked cool and a major connection I loved! It originally showed up in the ATWQ Quartet that highlighted Lemony Snicket’s adventures as he was just starting out in the VFD. Definitely check out my reviews: ATWQ1, ATWQ2, ATWQ3, ATWQ4.


Grim really did cover how I felt about this one. While it’s pivotal to the series with what it does and doesn’t reveal about VFD and the children’s parents, I felt it was just…dull. Sadly. Of course, it’ll remain in my collection, but it just didn’t come out as adventurous, dangerous, or even horrifying and perceived. LOL. The cameo and familial connections gripped me but not much else.


“If you are considering a life of villainy—and I certainly hope that you are not—there are a few things that appear to be necessary to every villain’s success. One thing is a villainous disregard for other people, so that a villain may talk to his or her victims, ignore their pleas for mercy, and even behave violently toward them if the villain is in the mood for that sort of thing…” (p. 1870

“The way sadness works is one of the strange riddles of the world. If you are stricken with a great sadness, you may feel as if you have been set aflame, not only because of the enormous pain, but also because your sadness may spread over your life, like smoke from an enormous fire.” (p. 212)

More to come soon…                                                                                                


Song Today? Into the Ocean by Blue October.

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