I'm definitely too old for this series. This book is seriously an easy read. I'm somewhat of a fast reader and I read this in about two days (only one if I read all day).
This book is pretty enjoyable for a children's book. It was entertaining despite how silly it was. But unfortunately there were some problems that kind of just made me cringe while reading this. But before I get to that, let's take a look at the story.
So this book is about three children whose parents have died in a fire and now they have all become orphans with a large fortune that will soon be theirs when Violet becomes of age to inherit the fortune. Because their home burned down and they don't want to live outside of their hometown so they live with one of their relatives named Count Olaf who is the closest relative in town.
Everyone has talked about the summary of the book that the author gives us, warning us that the main characters will continue to experience these 'unfortunate events' and that there will be no happy endings. At first, I was satisfied with that. I kind of like books that have situations where things don't always go as planned and bad things do happen. But I think it's safe to say that the ending for this book was definitely a cop out.
I'm not saying that it was a happy ending but the book didn't end on a depressing note. If you read the book, you'll know what I'm talking about and if you haven't . . . then I guess you can read the book and find out.
The characters are given traits (told to us by the narrator) that distinguish the children from one another. Violet has the mind of an engineer and can build things. Klauss is a reader and is able to absorb the knowledge from the books that he reads. Sunny bites things. Yep, those are the personalities of those characters. Which I guess is fine for a kid's book but those characters don't display those 'personalities' until the climax of the book where they find out Olaf's plan to get their fortune and they try to use their skills to find a way out of his plans. Sunny gets captured as a hostage and Violet and Klauss use their traits to try to rescue Sunny and prevent Violet from marrying Olaf. (By the way, was I the only one who was a little creeped out by Olaf's plan to marry Violet? I also thought that it was stupid of him to announce his marriage to everyone. Seriously? Why would you do that?) They do outsmart him but then they can't live with the nice neighbor and have to move with another relative. Doesn't seem sad to me, Olaf didn't get the money and the children are together.
The villains are also kind of 'meh'. Count Olaf and his men are bad men and do terrible things to the children in a clever plan to prevent the children from outwitting them. One of the things that confused me was the fact that Olaf's troupe kept telling the children of Olaf inheriting their fortune. That is incredibly stupid and just allows the children to become suspicious and try to prevent Olaf from succeeding. Wouldn't it be much more dramatic and tragic if Olaf won the fortune before the children knew it and then this book really would have been sad.
Olaf. As soon as the book introduced him, I knew there was something odd about the guy. He doesn't try to hide the fact that he wants the children's money and the sad thing is that the family friend, Mr. Poe, doesn't have second thoughts about leaving the children alone with this creep who couldn't get less subtle.
Speaking of creepy, that's another thing about this book that's doesn't seem to add up with this story. For a children's book, there's quite a lot of adult content within these books. There are issues such as coping with death, physical violence & abuse, pedophilia, and who knows how many other adult themes.
That isn't the problem. My main problem with this book is that if you're going to write a children's book and give it kind of a dark edge (regardless of the fact that this book is for 4th graders) then don't look down on the audience and take it seriously. I mean no cop outs and no definitions that the book feels the need to define to the readers. This book kept interrupting the story just to inform the readers what the definition of some words were.
I'm sorry. I know some people like that kind of writing. I don't. I found it really distracting and unnecessary. If the book is adding adult-related content in its story, then don't you think that the kids reading it are grown up to figure out the definitions for themselves? Or at the very least, are smart enough to look them up in the dictionary. Seriously, it's not that hard.
The writing was a pain and I really don't like it stopping in the middle of a description of something just to tell me what it is. So yeah . . . it was alright. I didn't hate it but I didn't enjoy it a lot either. I'll read the next one and see what happens.