In a fading town, far from anyone he knew or trusted, a young Lemony Snicket began his apprenticeship in an organization nobody knows about. He started by asking questions that shouldn't have been on his mind. Now he has written an account that should not be published, in four volumes that shouldn't be read. This is the first volume.
Despite absolutely loving the original series, I felt like I was done with it on completion. I sat on this prequel series for a long time, and the synopsis on the back didn't really seem to help interest me at all. After the slowly-burning, intricate and deceitful world that was created in the originals, did I really want to read a very short book about some kid doing detective work - even if that kid was Lemony himself?
Turns out it was my mistake for waiting so long to pull the trigger on this prequel series. It has the same sense of strange dread and incredibly contrived situations that somehow feel deep when though should feel trite, however it is also distinct enough to stand on its own. Whereas the original series was a slave to its own constantly repeating imagery, word-tricks and symbolism, this is a (comparatively) more straightforward tale. As much as I loved the mechanics of those original series, it turns out Handler can write just as well in that world without making it an exercise in literary whirlpools.
There are a few "a word which hear means"-es though.
As for the story: just read it. Great characters, great location, great writing. The audiobook production is great too (though of course I miss Handler and Tim Curry, as well as the Magnetic Fields songs).
So I guess the bominating beast is the Unknown question mark which devoured so many Unfortunate Events characters?
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