Young Lemony Snicket is back, and this time the villains mean business.
When Lemony and his “mentor”, S. Theodora Markson (whose hair has exceeded mine in insanity) investigate a case of arson, they find a strange trail involving arson, break-ins, and Markson completely ignoring all signs of the real problem. When the school is burned down and the children are moved to nearby Wade Academy, Lemony discovers yet another sinister plot closing in around him.
I can safely say this is the book that definitely shows the series is meant for older children. The themes get a bit darker here, with emotional abuse, Lemony’s mentor coming home with very real injuries, and Lemony enduring the pain of seeing his friends in danger and being unable to help his sister when she needs him most, as well as getting a rather brutal beating from the local bully at the orders of Hangfire.
The pieces of the puzzle start coming together, especially when it appears there is a live Bombinating Beast wandering the grounds of Wade Academy.
On a less darker note, we still got the snarky humor I’ve come to love so much in these books. We get plenty of book shout-outs and some silly moments, as well as the continuing noir parody. We also get some allusions to the other books-Count Olaf attended Wade Academy, and the delightful Josephine shows up near the end.
It’s Snicket at his best.