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chrisblocker

Chris Blocker

Literary snobbery and other thoughts by Chris Blocker

Currently reading

The Kite Runner
Khaled Hosseini
Hurt People: A Novel
Cote Smith
The Family Under the Bridge
Natalie Savage Carlson
Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within
Julia Cameron, Natalie Goldberg

The End

The End - Michael Kupperman, Lemony Snicket, Brett Helquist

This is a review of not only The End by Lemony Snicket, but of A Series of Unfortunate Events as a whole. As The End is the end of A Series of Unfortunate Events it seems a rather appropriate place to discuss the series as a whole. If you disagree, please remember there are two sides to a coin, though technically it could be argued there is a third, that is the edge, and clearly it has the best vantage point—it is from this perspective I write. I am writing on the edge, suckas.

 

So, Snicket had been building up to this. All the questions, plotting, characterization, drama, mysteries, warnings, heartbreaks, broken hearts, flashbacks, back stabs, disguises, inventions, definitions, apologies, meanderings, repetitions, translations, interpretations, acronyms, repetitions, mushrooms, tattoos, guardians, orphans, and evil eyes lead to this. Really, to this? I give Snicket a hand for pulling the philosophy card out here and trying something unique for a children's series of books, but really, what just happened? What's the point? So we've come full circle; also, there are many questions about the sheltering of children and what it means to have honor. But where's the story in all this? It's hard to complete any extensive series to the satisfaction of its fans. I commend Snicket for writing a series that didn't talk down to children, especially in these final volumes, but it felt to me that the author was trying too hard at something, and forgot the story. When the story of The End moves, it moves slowly. When the deaths in The End come, they come much too fast, without a pause for thought. These are characters we've invested in for many books, some for as many as thirteen, they deserve more than poor, poor, poor Uncle Monty whom we've been lamenting over for the past ten books.

 

So in wider scope of the series, The End wasn't that bad; it just wasn't right, at least I didn't feel it was. I didn't expect all my questions to be answered, or to find a happy ending, but I wanted more than this. My children agreed. Though they liked the book, they used words like “odd” and “strange” when discussing the story. You could tell they felt it was disjointed. And we all know that kids know what they're talking about as long as their parents agree.

 

A Series of Unfortunate Events final ratings:
The Bad Beginning – 3.1
The Reptile Room – 3.2
The Wide Window – 3.6
The Miserable Mill – 3.3 
The Austere Academy 3.4
The Ersatz Elevator 3.3
The Vile Village 3.1
The Hostile Hospital 3.4
The Carnivorous Carnival 3.9
The Slippery Slope – 3.6
The Grim Grotto – 3.9
The Penultimate Peril3.4
The End3.4

 

As for the series, I enjoyed it except when I didn't. It wasn't phenomenal or as funny as I had hoped, but it had its moments. I'd say the series largely picked up in the late middle books, when the conspiracy deepened and the humor became less forced. My children thoroughly enjoyed the series. When asked their favorite of the series, they offered votes of The Ersatz Elevator and The Slippery Slope. My youngest who is younger than the intended audience and only listened to the story sparingly would vote for any moment Sunny said something comical; he found no value in the story aside from Sunny. My own ranking of the series follows. Final thoughts: I spent my last year and some months on this? No, I spent it reading to my kids. I'm likely through with Snicket, though I'm still curious about Handler. I want more closure. I'm going to miss those Baudelaire orphans. That's it, The End.

 

A Series of Unfortunate Events Ranking:

The Grim Grotto – Book 11

The Carnivorous Carnival – Book 9

The Slippery Slope – Book 10

The Wide WindowBook 3

The Austere Academy – Book 5

The Penultimate Peril – Book 12

The Hostile Hospital – Book 8

The End – Book 13

The Miserable Mill – Book 4

The Ersatz Elevator – Book 6

The Reptile Room – Book 2

The Bad BeginningBook 1
The Vile Village – Book 7