Been a while since we touched The Bad Beginning, it was only a matter of time until we found out how the story continued. And things get better!
For the readers, not for the children sadly.
Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire cunningly escape the clutches of Count Olaf and instead meet the eccentric Doctor Montgomery, their new garden. Fascinated by his studies of snakes, the children think they have found their new home and family to grow up with. But Count Olaf soon returns in disguise, still wanting to get his hands on their fortune. And his next plans require more cunning on their part as they attempt to prove him guilty of murder.
This book was in so many ways better than its predecessor. Maybe this was because in book one I was still getting re-introduced to Snicket’s writing style, or maybe because of others points I will later discuss. The writing style was far more tolerable this time. I felt like I was being talked down to in the writing style far less, for one thing. But Snicket’s unreliable narration that put rainclouds over a lot really shone this time.
What made this novel work so well in terms of plot was the short timeframe it covered. This is often something people underestimate, and I love any kind of long-length story that takes place up to three days. Well, this one took up a week I think, but my point still stands! These kinds of plots allow us to pay attention to any detail thrown at us and we are in the present with the characters. We won’t forget anything, these horrible thoughts feel very real in the moment. This book ticks all those boxes.
I particularly enjoyed how each of the characters had their moments to shine. While in The Bad Beginning Violet felt like the only one in control of getting out of her forced marriage, the climax of The Reptile Room involved all three in each of their elements. I won’t go into details, but this installment felt far more equitable in terms of the children.
But what really brought this book to such a high score was the tone. This book had its highs as well as lows, and in spite of us knowing those lows would be hit the highs had a bittersweetness that became very enjoyable. It really brought these characters to life once their time with Uncle Monty started spiralling downhill. Felt a little too real, but that’s humanity.
The Reptile Room gets a score of 4.5/5. The shorter the time period, the better the story and hijinks.
Yours in writing