Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Carnivorous Carnival

2002, first edition, from HarperCollins
Lemony Snicket
Illustrated by Brett Helquist
A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book the Ninth: The Carnivorous Carnival
Original price $10.99, purchase price $4.80
Hardcover in good condition

While better than the autobiography, this entry is still not Snicket at the top of his game.  I did like the discussion of whether evil acts, like lying, are evil if they're done by good people for good reasons.  But at this point, I think it was wrong to have the Baudelaires be rootless wanderers.  When they were with guardians who were supposed to take care of them in one place, no matter how much the guardians failed at this, it rooted not just the siblings but the story.  In this one, there's no reason for them to stick around the carnival (more of a circus really), except to eavesdrop.  And, yes, I don't find myself laughing out loud at the humor anymore.  The series is still better than a lot of other children's series, but it's not living up to its initial promise.  Snicket does top himself with his most outrageous sex joke so far: under a discussion of French terms, he has "'la petite mort,' which describes a feeling that part of you has died."  Since he's mainly discussing de ja vu, this allows him to repeat the joke three times!  (At least when Ruth Plumly Thompson did this stuff, there was a chance she didn't realize what she was saying.)

The best illustration this time is definitely Esme's gown with the "I [heart] Freaks" banner.

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