Author: Lemony Snicket
Illustrator: Brett Helquist
My rating: 4.5 of 5
A Series of Unfortunate Events, vol. 10
Following the tragic death of their parents in the fire that destroyed their home, the Baudelaire orphans–Violet, Klaus, and Sunny–have encountered numerous unfortunate circumstances–a phrase which here means the violent schemes of Count Olaf to steal the Baudelaire fortune. As The Slippery Slope begins, the children have been separated, and Sunny is in the not-particularly-clean hands of Count Olaf. The Baudelaires must put Violet’s inventing skills, Klaus’s research capabilities, and Sunny’s ever-growing repertoire of talents to work as they strive to reunite, foil Count Olaf’s evil plans, and avoid becoming villains themselves.
I find it intriguing that this modern-day adaptation of a tragedy (with plenty of suspense, intrigue, and Snow Scouts thrown in) has such a strong appeal; however, on closer examination, its appeal makes perfect sense. The main characters are quite likeable–polite, smart, but not too perfect–and are definitely the underdogs in the story, while the antagonists are absolutely detestable–it’s a delight to hate them, if you will. Lemony Snicket also uses the element of surprise to great effect, not only in the plot, but particularly in the unexpected literary devices he employs. I have enjoyed the growth of the series as it’s progressed from the story of three orphans trying to protect themselves and their fortune from the vile Count (in The Bad Beginning) to the point in The Slippery Slope where these orphans appear to have stumbled onto something significantly larger–in which case Count Olaf might just be small fry, relatively speaking. Well, I can’t really recommend this book any more than the author can, since it will only depress you, but if you must. . . .
Note: Apologies for reviewing a book in the middle of the series without previously reviewing the earlier volumes. These earlier volumes are also excellent, and I would advise beginning at The Bad Beginning.