The Grim Grotto
A Series of Unfortunate Events #11
by Lemony Snicket
read by Tim Curry
My rating: 3.5 / 5
Genre: Children’s fiction
Spoiler notice: The following review will contain some spoilers for the previous books in the series, starting with The Bad Beginning.
We find the 3 Baudelaire orphans where we left them—in a toboggan, rushing down a stream, helpless to save themselves. As they try to unravel the mystery of V.F.D. and stay out of the clutches of Count Olaf, they’ll have to navigate dark waters and even darker intentions.
There were some things I actually enjoyed about this book, starting with Tim Curry’s portrayal of Captain Widdershins. I’m pretty sure I would have rolled my eyes at his particular way of speaking, especially when first introduced, if I was reading it for myself, so that’s all the more reason I’m glad I’m listening to this series instead. On the other hand, if I’d been reading instead of listening, I could have skipped entire pages of repetition that I guess Snicket thought would be clever, but only made me question my own sanity. Sunny’s dialog continues to be the only source of humor in the entire series, and I did appreciate a Chekov’s “gum” moment.
I’m a little baffled by the way Snicket is hammering us with this whole, “nobody is completely evil or completely noble; everyone is shades of both” or whatever he’s trying to say, yet one character in this book is practically vilified by the main characters because of a very difficult decision that didn’t go the way the main characters thought it should, even while that character still showed shades of nobility. There were a couple of surprises near the end, though one of them left me scratching my head. Maybe we’ll learn more about that in the next two books…though the way people talk about the end of this series, I kind of doubt it. Guess I’ll find out for myself soon enough.
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If you’ve read this book, or read it in the future, feel free to let me know what you think!