Saturday, September 09, 2006

Book 78: The Carnivorous Carnival

Here is the ninth volume in Lemony Snicket's bestselling children's collection A Series of Unfortunate Events. The Baudelaire orphans had hidden in the trunk of Count Olaf's car at the end of The Hostile Hospital to escape from a fire that Olaf and his "associates" had set. With The Carnivorous Carnival They arrive at the Caligari Carnival out in the middle of the hinterlands and are able to get out of the trunk before Count Olaf discovers them. Klaus, Violet, and Sunny disguise themselves as Carnival Freaks so that they can stay at the Carnival and have the opportunity to discover some facts about the possibility of one of their parents still living and the rest of the "Snicket File". Klaus and Violet are disguised as a Two-Headed Freak Beverly / Eliot, Sunny is Chabo the Wolf Baby. They join with other freaks, like Kevin the Ambidextrous Man, Colette the Contortionist, and Hugo the Hunchback.

Laced with dark humor and Snicket's signature warnings about continuing to read the book because of the horrible things the Baudelaires will go through, The Carnivorous Carnival is another excellent entry by Lemony Snicket and with this book and the previous one Snicket has brought some fresh energy to a series that had a sense of a paint by numbers formula. No longer are the stories resolved neatly by book's end being led to a conclusion which may be a few books away but feels immediate and fraught with tension and danger.

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