Series: A Series of Unfortunate Events #2
Published: September, 1999
Genre: fiction, fantasy / Middle Grade
If you have picked up this book with the hope of finding a simple and cheery tale, I’m afraid you have picked up the wrong book altogether. The story may seem cheery at first, when the Baudelaire children spend time in the company of some interesting reptiles and a giddy uncle, but don’t be fooled. If you know anything at all about the unlucky Baudelaire children, you already know that even pleasant events lead down the same road to misery.
In fact, within the pages you now hold in your hands, the three siblings endure a car accident, a terrible odor, a deadly serpent, a long knife, a large brass reading lamp, and the appearance of a person they’d hoped never to see again.
I am bound to record these tragic events, but you are free to put this book back on the shelf and seek something lighter.
With all due respect,
This review was long due. It will also be shorter than usual because I’ve talked about my main thoughts on my review for The Bad Beginning, and I will not repeat them unless my opinion about a particular topic changes. Also, the books are very short themselves.
The Reptile Room was similar yet different from The Bad Beginning. We have the same narrative style, the narrator has the same tone and treats the reader just like he did in book 1, and the plot itself is quite similar too. Whats different, however, is that this time the children are happy.
I know they go through some bad experiences, but for the majority of the book, they are happier and more comfortable than they were before. Their guardian is very nice and actually cares for them, and even though they are not completely at ease, they are enjoying life.
Let’s talk about Dr. Montgomery for a bit first. It was such a great change after their stay with Count Olaf. Throughout the book, however, I kept asking myself where were all those relatives during the Baudelaire’s parents’ funeral. I appreciated Mr. Poe meeting Dr. Montgomery and getting to know him when he left the children in his care, though it was the only time they didn’t need it. Props to Mr. Poe for even trying, that was the most he has done for them!
The dynamic Dr. Montgomery had with the children was so sweet and comforting after everything they have been through. However, I think the narrator constantly telling us what would happen to him ruined things a bit. Don’t get me wrong, I love when he tells us things about what’s to come or makes some comments about the character’s future, but that was overused in the case of Dr. Montgomery. Just mentioning it twice would have been enough, but instead I was waiting for it to happen, instead of focusing on what I was reading.
I’m not particularly interested in reptiles and don’t know much about them but that didn’t make my read less interesting. The children were happy and so was I. The introduction of Stephano was a fun addition to the book, and I liked both the children’s reaction and Dr. Montgomery’s. The ending played out as expected but that last part (when the doctor came) was a bit strange for me. I was happy that the children seemed more their age in this book but still clever (more well-balanced that in book one) but that chapter in the book got me thinking about it again. I understand, however, that the children were mad and could not think straight, but they should start being less trustworthy with strangers.
As in book 1, I liked how we get some sneak peeks for the next installment, and have a couple of clues for both the book we’re reading and what’s coming next, as well as the future of the characters.
Have you read The Reptile Room? What are your thoughts? Do you agree with me? Which book from the series is your favourite?