The Penultimate Peril (ASOUE #12)
Author: Lemony Snicket
Rated J for judging, justice, and a unique use of the dewey decimal system.
Next-to-last things are the first thing to be avoided, and so allow me to recommend that you put this next-to-last book down first, and find something else to read next or a chronicle containing other next-to-last things, so that this next-to-last book does not become the last book you will read.
In this next-to-last book, the Baudelaires encounter many past figures as they work in disguise, finally diving into VFD business. Some of whom are there to help them and others that are there to work against them. The three children work together to discover who’s brought all of these people to the last safe place.
In the heart of the schism, it becomes realized that the world is not as black and white as the Baudelaires thought and that even heroic plans can have villainous outcomes. Amidst this next-to-last account of the children is deadly mushrooms, fire, a book recording the horrible villainous deed of on Count Olaf, and a harpoon gun.
Now, this one I enjoyed. There were many callbacks to previous characters and a closer look at them rather than a passing-by. Plus, I always get giddy about characters returning for one last hoorah. It also livened up the series as it got ready for its big bang. It added so much that really got me re-invested in the series. Granted, this seemed to be the one book that also focused on not just Count Olaf did, but the things the Baudelaires did to survive, including start a fire and disguise themselves, and reminded them of just how unfortunate their lives are.
Many loose ends were tied up while so many were left afloat. Snicket did an amazing job of rounding everything up while also bringing the Baudelaires and (just) Count Olaf face to face. The Baudelaires’ getting a firsthand look and confusion at the schism was something I’ve been waiting on since the very beginning.
Kit Snicket’s debut is was one of my favorite parts about the series. She’s a firecracker and a curious soul. If Olaf were good, he’d be like this and vice versa. It brought the author closer to the storyline without plopping him directly on top of that, While Snicket keeps himself a mystery, he gives so much of himself to make things so much curioser.
The Hotel Denouement was such a grand setting. From its system of rooms based on the Dewey decimal system to the mysterious owners Frank and Ernest to its deep secrets. The hotel alone made the book fun. Built from an intricate and crazy design that is ultimately confusing and intriguing.
This is one of my favorites from the series. From the vivid color and artwork of the cover to the Baudelaires getting some hands-on work for the VFD to the wild themes addressed. Baudelaires have grown so much and this book showed how much the endeared. A spectacular read that definitely prepared you for the end…then again maybe not. It’s unclear about who is ever ready for an end to a series that still has so many questions yet to be answered, when it feels like you’ve only scratched the surface? On a good note, at least this seems to be the end to unfortunate events and may be the start of more fortunate ones.
“Justice isn’t being served in the lobby or anywhere else in the world.” (Olaf, p. 304)
More to come soon…
Song Today? Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash.
Thoughts? Let’s chat in the comments below!