The Miserable Mill and The Austere Academy are books 4 & 5 in the series. Both involve the same plotline as books 2 & 3… No one ever recognizes Count Olaf in his ridiculous costumes except the Baudelaires, and no one ever believes them. And in the end, when Count Olaf is finally discovered, he escapes. In the Miserable Mill, the children are forced to work in a lumber mill, and the Austere Academy takes place in a boarding school. At the school, the Baudelaires finally meet some friends their own age who believe them.
In the Ersatz Elevator, the formula finally changes. The Baudelaires are adopted by a wealthy family near where their home burned down. As the back of the book says,
“Even though their new home in the city is fancy, and the children are clever and charming, I’m sorry to say that still, the unlucky orphans will encounter more disaster and woe. In fact, in this sixth book in A Series of Unfortunate Events, the children will experience a darkened staircase, a red herring, an auction, parsley soda, some friends in a dire situation, a secret passageway, and pinstripe suits.”
I was thrilled at a change and having someone else to root for and someone else to hate. The characters are quirky and outlandish, but fun to read about.
The Bad Beginning, The Reptile Room, The Wide Window
I love the writing and the way “Snicket” breaks the fourth wall. Every book begins with the admonition that you would be better off doing pretty much anything else than reading this book. When the Baudelaire children lost their parents, it was a bad beginning, but it only gets worse from there. The only thing they can count on from Mr. Poe, the inept banker who is acting as their guardian, is that he coughs and he will fail them.
The first book introduces Count Olaf, a villain who is constantly trying to get his greedy hands on the Baudelaire fortune. The second two follow the same basic formula of the Baudelaires moving on, finding guardians who fail them, and facing Count Olaf. Violet is the oldest and ties her hair up in a ribbon any time she needs to invent something. Klaus is a bookworm and amazing researcher. Sunny is the youngest and has unusually sharp teeth which sometimes help the siblings get out of trouble.
I enjoyed the first three books, they are entertaining, easy reads. It only took me a few days to get through all three and I kept going…
There are two reasons why a writer would end a sentence with the word “stop” written entirely in capital letters STOP. The first is if the writer were writing a telegram… But there is another reason why a writer would end a sentence with “stop” written entirely in capital letters, and that is to warn readers that the book they are reading is so utterly wretched that if they have begun reading it, the best thing to do would be to stop STOP.
The enemy fighter jets surged past Neil Andertol, soaring over desolate, sandy terrain.
So, another 6-8 grade Sunshine State nominated book. I wasn’t planning on reading this one because I didn’t think I would like it. That’s what I get for judging a book by its cover. Anyway, one of the 4th-grade students was really enjoying it and she asked me to read it with her. It’s actually pretty good and I can’t wait to talk to her about it tomorrow. Though I finished it and she is probably around halfway through.
Neil loves video games, like most 13-year old boys these days. He especially enjoys one called Chameleon. Chameleon, it turns out is a training tool used by the Air Force to teach pilots to fly an actual plane called the Chameleon that is capable of seeming invisible. Neil and a bunch of other kids get recruited by the Air Force to find a lost plane and save the day. I know, I know. Big suspension of disbelief here, but kids love that sort of thing.
Anyway, Neil ends up meeting a few people in real life that he only previously knew online. So, there are expected surprises there. And the kids make a couple of decisions that mess up something that Major Jones had planned, resulting in more unlikely situations. At least the kids don’t make some half-assed decision based on their guts and end up being right over the Major who is an adult and should know better than them.
This is a fast-moving story that kids will devour. And now that there are 3 books in the series, it will keep the kids reading.
Good for 4th – 8th graders who enjoy video games, strong female characters, soldiers, edge of your seat adventures… it has something for everyone.
An amazing end to this brilliant series. There were times I was screaming in anger, crying with sadness, and slamming my fists in frustration. I loved this series and now must find something else from Neal Shusterman to read.
If you like dystopian books, you should try this one, you won’t be disappointed.
**If you haven’t read Unwind, there may be spoilers in the following review.**
Book 2 in the Unwind series continues to follow the story of Connor, Risa, and Lev along with a few new and interesting characters. There’s Nelson, a “parts pirate,” determined to track down Connor and turn him over to the Juvenile Authority for “unwinding,” Starkey, a power hungry kid who wants to usurp Connor and take control, and even Cam, a teenager created using the parts from various unwound kids. They call Cam a “rewind” but he is like Frankenstein and he doesn’t even know if he is “real.” The chapters alternate between different character’s POVs and the narrator does a good job giving them different voices and personalities. In between chapters are actual news articles about organ harvesting and abandoned and “feral” teens. (The only thing annoying about that is hearing the narrator spell out the entire websites where the articles are found, something you wouldn’t have to read yourself and would probably gloss over.)
This series continues to twist your expectations in new ways. I loved this just as much, if not more than the first one. The plot twists at the end made me jump right into book 3.