This is the thirteenth and final book of The Series of Unfortunate series so it may contain spoilers from the entire series including this book. I feel like because it's the end to such a long series and because I have been reading it for a year it's hard to review it without bringing up major plot points. So, if you do not want to be spoiled I highly recommend this book series and I hope you come back to discuss the ending I have been anticipating since I picked up the first book in the beginning of 2016.
One of my smaller goals from last year was to re-read this series before the Netflix show came out on January 13th. With three days to spare I am pretty proud of both myself and my reading buddy for getting through these thirteen books in about a year. Most of them are typically easy reads with fun little adventures but they have twists and turns that bring up more and more questions.
I finished this book about four hours ago. When I read the final page and closed the book my first reaction was disappointment. I wanted more answers, and I wasn't given them! I had gone through thirteen books picking up more questions than I can probably recall and a good chunk of them were still unanswered when I closed THE END.
After letting myself think about it, I realized I am actually less disappointed with the ending than my original reaction led me to believe. I really enjoyed where the three Baudelaire siblings ended up, who they ended up with, and the future that is hinted that they will have. Like many things about this series, it's really unrealistic, but that is what makes the series so much fun. It's absolutely ridiculous in a lot of ways, but the core themes of each book are very real. I also think the core themes are very important for readers of all ages to read and learn from. Just because they're categorized as children's literature doesn't make them unimportant books.
I do enjoy Count Olaf's ending, although I think it was a little too neat in terms of his character, I can see why his ending happened that way. We know Olaf's parents were murdered, I assume by the Baudelaire children's parents but it was never stated just hinted at in the last book The Penultimate Peril, we know he's experienced love, loss, and he obviously has something mentally wrong with him to make him constantly be in the mind-set of a greedy child. I think if you re-read the series with a specific purpose to focus only on Olaf you can make some interesting theories on mental health. I know that seems deep for a children's literature series but I think that's one of the smartest things about this series. It's seriously unfortunate on both the surface level and on a deeper level.
I am also happy we got to know who this Beatrice is that Lemony Snicket has brought up in the dedication of all thirteen books. We find out that she is not only the sibling's mother, and a member of the V.F.D. but Snicket's unrequited love interest. I am so interested in this aspect and it makes me want to know more but at the same time I am actually happy with the open ended aspect of this part of the story.
If you are going into this series expecting a straight forward mystery adventure I would warn you that Snicket's writing style is definitely one to get used to and reading as an adult can sometimes make you feel a bit annoyed. There's a lot of unnecessary details to the mystery and it's more background of Snicket and getting in the strange mind of Snicket. So when you go into the last few books ready for answers know that there is a lot of other information you're going to have to get through. So try to just enjoy it as it comes, it makes the reading experience much easier.
Like I had mentioned earlier, I have a nice little bundle of unanswered questions even after finishing the series. What is the sugar bowl exactly? What happened to the triplets? Or Fiona and her brother? What happened to Ishamel and the other islanders? What about the Baudelaire's previous caretakers that didn't die? Or even, do the siblings make it back into the real world? Or are they stranded at sea? Snicket did say it was sad all the way through, even the end. How does a sixteen, fourteen, and three year old take care of an infant on their own not only on the sea but when (if?) they get to the real world. Do they meet up with Mr. Poe? Why did the Baudelaire kill Olaf's parents (if they did)? Olaf says he didn't burn down the Baudelaire house but was he lying? If he wasn't, then who did it?
I definitely recommend this series to all ages. The characters are fun, the writing style is both unique and new, and the adventure itself is an exciting ride that I am really happy I went on. I think this series, much like the Harry Potter series, is one that works really well if the reader grows with the characters but I definitely think everyone would gain something from reading this story.
Thank you for reading!
Have you read The Series of Unfortunate Events series? What about the spin off autobiographical series about Snicket? I am debating reading it. Also, are you excited about the Netflix series? I am so excited to see Neil Patrick Harris play Olaf!