Review: The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket

297671The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events #1) by Lemony Snicket
Published: September 30th 1999 by HarperCollinsPublishers
Details: Hardcover, 176 pages
My Rating: 4 stars

Summary: In this first book, readers are introduced to the unfortunate Baudelaire children — 14-year-old Violet, 12-year-old Klaus, and their infant sister, Sunny — when they learn they’ve just been orphaned by a terrible house fire.

The executor of the Baudelaire estate — a phlegm-plagued banker named Mr. Poe – sends the children to live with a distant relative: a conniving and dastardly villain named Count Olaf, who has designs on the Baudelaire fortune. Count Olaf uses the children as slave labor, provides horrid accommodations for them, and makes them cook huge meals for him and his acting troupe, a bunch of odd-looking, renegade good-for-nothings. When the children are commandeered to appear in Count Olaf’s new play, they grow suspicious and soon learn that the play is not the innocent performance it seems but rather a scheme cooked up by Olaf to help him gain control of the children’s millions.

All this bad luck does provide for both great fun and great learning opportunities, however. Violet is a budding McGyver whose inventions help the children in their quest, Klaus possesses a great deal of book smarts, and Sunny — whose only real ability is an incredibly strong bite — provides moral support and frequent comedy relief. Then there are the many amusing word definitions, colloquialisms, clichés, hackneyed phrases, and other snippets of language provided by the narrator (a character in his own right) that can’t help but expand readers’ vocabularies. Though the Baudelaire children suffer myriad hardships and setbacks, in the end they do manage to outsmart and expose Olaf’s devious ways. But of course, with luck like theirs, it’s a given that Olaf will escape and return to torment them again some day. If only misery was always this much fun.

My Review: Since watching the movie years ago, I’ve been wanting to read this series. Even though I’ve been wanting to read it, I just couldn’t bring myself to buy these books. They just seemed too expensive for such short books. So when my Dad got me the first in the series, I was so excited that I started reading it right away.

I have a feeling I would have given this book five stars if I hadn’t seen the movie first. It is that good. I love how dark it is. I wish I had read this series when I was a kid. I can’t wait to read the rest of this series.

Note: This is an older review. So I don’t feel like I can get more into what I liked. Maybe someday I will re-read The Bad Beginning and do a better review. Though I will probably wait until I have the whole series.

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