Saturday, 27 June 2020

#Booky100Keepers Day 55: The "A Series Of Unfortunate Events" books by Lemony Snicket / Daniel Handler (Egmont)

We love dark books, we love books that also feature memorable villains - and could there possibly be a more memorable villain than Count Olaf?

Way back in the mists of time I picked up an anthology of "A Series of Unfortunate Events", not realising that the mammoth task of ploughing through all 13 volumes with C made our Harry Potter marathon look like a sprint in comparison.

However there's something completely intoxicating that draws you into the story of the Baudelaires, a happy go lucky trio of siblings who become orphans overnight as their parents perish in a fire at the family home. Lost and folorn, the oprhans are placed with their nearest living relative, the nefarious Count Olaf who has only one thing on his mind - the oprhans' massive inherited fortune, and how he can get his disgustingly unkempt fingernails on it.

Through the books, Count Olaf cooks up disguise after disguise, and some truly skin-creepingly grim tricks (even at one point trying to trick Violet Baudelaire into marrying him, ewwwwwww!) in order to secure the loot. But these plucky kids outwit him at every turn.

Whatever you might think about Handler, he can craft the sort of stories that keep you hanging on in there, at first because you feel that the orphans might find their happy ever after as each book draws to a close, and that Count Olaf might end up in prison, only for the reverse to usually occur as the slippery eye-tattooed miscreant evades capture once again.

C's favourite volumes are the ones that feature Olaf's equally unctuous sugar-bowl-obsessed partner in crime, Esme Squalor, a villainess to rival Cruella DeVille with the fashion sense to match. C also loved the Netflix show that arrived off the back of the books, lovingly crafted and brilliantly produced, and just like the books, a story that dwindles away to one of the most bizarre and unsatisfying endings ever captured in a popular book / tv series. Perhaps Lemony Snicket himself had the last laugh on us all, keeping us hanging on in there right till the bitter end...

Original Review Links:

Amazingly we never reviewed any of the books on the blog!