A Top Drawer Education – (“Shouldn’t You Be in School?” – A Book Review)

“Shouldn’t You Be in School?” (All The Wrong Questions ?3)
Author: Lemony Snicket
Published: 2014

On Goodreads

SYBIS

 

My Rating: Full boltFull bolt Full boltFull boltFull bolt

 

What are they teaching their students? Where did she hide it? Does anyone else feel sleepy?

Is that smoke? Fires are coming up all over the town of Stain’d-by-the-Sea and apprentice Lemony Snicket is on the case. So is S. Theodora Markson, his chaperone, but she is easily distracted by Sharon Haines, a teacher, who insists on helping. But, is she really helping? Lemony must put his sleuthing to good use and call on his allies if he hopes to figure out who’s been starting these fires. What are the secrets of the Department of Education? Are these fires connected to the academy? Is all of this somehow connected to the notorious villain Hangfire?

 

With fires popping up everywhere and kids disappearing to a new academy brought up by the Department of Education, Lemony Snicket is determined to get to the bottom of it all. Amid this, his worries for his sister, Kit, and her arrest peaks to a whole new level of worry. Ellington Feint comes out of the shadows, having escaped her own arrest and Lemony doesn’t know if he can truly trust her after the many times she’s double-crossed him. Only the promise that he’d help her get her father back from Hangfire keeps him from turning her over. Afraid, of endangering his friends, he must now rely on them if he hopes to end these fires.

SYBIS

Third book in the series, the story has intensified immensely. While Moxie was hurt at the end of the last book, the danger for Lemony and his friends is even higher now. I really loved that Lemony’s friends didn’t give up on him or walk away even though it was dangerous to join him on his mission. I find this to be inspiring because everyone should have friends that will stick with them through the hard parts of life, though they might not always be comprised of dangerous women with knives or trying to put out fires or take down nefarious villains. It’s important to have a person you can rely on and who’ll do anything for you and vice versa. This is a great show of that. It’s completely heartwarming.

SYBIS

The new addition of Wade Academy into the setting of Stain’d-by-the-Sea reminded me so much of Austere Academy, the fifth book of A Series of Unfortunate Events, though much more dangerous since it wasn’t necessarily an educational environment. The place is accessible by train, really showing just how isolated it is from the town, while also leading Lemony to discover more to the big plot Hangfire has. Each time a new setting has been introduced it’s just as surprising to me as it is to Lemony. They’re like monuments to the town—The Black Cat Coffee, Hungry’s, the Library, Lost Arms, and others.

The VFD has its reveal. Sort of. Not really. It’s not a secret at this point, especially with Lemony’s offhand mentions. The deeper understanding of what VFD is about is impressive, but you still don’t know everything about it. If you did it wouldn’t be a secret. So while we understand Lemony’s part, kind-a sort-a, there’s still so much to be in the dark about. That kind of mystery, where it’s more heroic and adventurous and filled with clues is more fun and always capturing my attention.

If I could join this secret society I totally would. To get up the gumption to be so brave and find optimism even in the darkest of moments, it would be amazing. I must say, though, the foreshadowing for ASOUE is heavy and even giggle worthy.

ATWQ

Something I haven’t mentioned yet, is how clever Lemony himself is, not just in his maneuvers, but in how he thinks and talks. I know I’ve talked about the books overall being clever, but Lemony really has all the cards. While looked down upon by adults, he is quite possibly smarter than all of them. He really thinks outside the box and the results are phenomenal. I’m in awe of this character.

 

Need I say what I’ve said for the last two books of this series? Original and dangerous and surprising. There’s never a dull moment. From light humor to moments of sorrow to the great A-Ha! Go read this!

 

Quotables

“Children are the future of the world, and we must keep them safe from harm.” (Sharon to Lemony, p. 41)

“It is not pleasant to have a number of people glaring and sighing at you at the same time, even if you meant for them to do it.” (Lemony, p. 52)

“The treachery of the world will continue no matter how much you worry about it, L.” (Kit to Lemony, p. 106)

“There’s more to a library than the library.” (Ellington to Lemony, p. 171)

“Everyone tells you it’s all right to cry, but not enough people say it’s all right if you don’t want people to know.” (Lemony, p. 174)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

 

P.S. Song today? On Your Side by Thriving Ivory.

 

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Get Scared Later (“When Did You See Her Last?” – A Book Review)

“When Did You See Her Last?” (All The Wrong Questions ?2)
Author: Lemony Snicket
Published: 2013

On Goodreads

WDYSHL

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

 

Did you get the message? Who has the formula? What’s for breakfast?

There is a new mystery in the nearly inkless town of Stain’d-by-the-Sea. Cleo Knight has gone missing and S. Theodora Markson and her apprentice Lemony Snicket are on the case. While Markson believes this to be cut and dry, a term often meaning simple and to the point, Lemony thinks otherwise.

Is she a runaway? Or was she kidnapped? He seems to be asking all of the wrong questions. As he gets closer to figuring out what happened to Cleo, a bigger mystery unfolds, revealing something that could save Stain’d-by-the-sea. One that is dangerous and lead by the villainous Hangfire, who can mimic anyone’s voice.

But, before you go on to read this book and discover what more troubles Lemony is getting into, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Have you seen the missing girl?

                    [ ] No.                  [ ] Why would I tell you?

  1. Why aren’t her parent worried?

                    [ ]  That’s odd.            [ ] Well, some parents are like that.

  1. Can you read a note written in invisible ink?

                    [ ]  I’m not sure.        [ ] “         .”

  1. Is it safe to follow a suspicious woman through the streets of an empty town?

                    [ ] Probably not.                  [ ] Wait, where did she go?

Lemony Snicket is still reeling from Ellington Feint’s double-cross and can’t but wonder where she might be, and with the Bombinating Beast that she stole off with. Now, possibly a part of Hangfire’s scheme, which is still a mystery, a young woman, a chemist, named Cleo Knight has gone missing and S. Theodora Markson insists they go on the case. Along the way he discovers that Cleo was onto something that may just save this town. With the help of old and new allies, Lemony is on the case and determined to find out how a mythical beast ties into this ongoing mystery.

Ever since I read A Series of Unfortunate Events (and out of order, too, though it still made sense and was somehow even better that way), I’ve wanted to read more of Lemony Snicket, hence I’ve gotten my little fingers on All The Wrong Questions. He makes a mystery more than a mystery. It’s a curious, art piece of a puzzle that I wanted to put together. There’s more than just the who dun it. There’s all of the in-between, and there is a lot of that.

This is often the book when readers say, “This is a fragmentary plot.”, which here means that this book is a part of a much bigger plot that has yet to be reached. Ib other words, while you’re left hanging by the end, you’re also satisfied. A strange feeling that is. And freaking amazing. Book series that do this are exemplary. Working like puzzle pieces and creating a good long story, which is the beautiful point of a series! Just amazeballs.

mind blown

Lemony is still a mysterious as ever and leaving fun Easter eggs. While I can’t tell you about them because I hate being spoilery, I will say that there are some amazing mentions, and a cameo that really made me giddy. This series takes place before the Baudelaire orphans were born. A prequel of sorts, yet not at all. A beginning that’s not really a beginning.

This book took me deeper into the town and how it became drained of ink, its main source of income. It’s quite dreadful that the greed of this town lead to the extinction of a sea and its population of octopus, which painfully relates to the world and how greedy people are over similar resources. Delving into the history behind a story is always fun because it shows you more than what you’ve seen so far and just pulls you in that much deeper, making the imagery that much stronger. In the process of following every small lead Lemony gets to this mystery, he discovers Ellington Feint, and she’s got her own plan. A plan that he just can’t stay out of, proving he is a loyal and kind person, who’s almost thirteen.

Lemony meets Jake Hix, the young man who works at Hungry’s Diner and is in lover with the missing chemist, Cleo. This new ally, much like the Bellerophon brothers, the taxi drivers, and Moxie, the journalist, help him with this new mystery. Each character really encompasses something unique and so creative, that it makes you laugh out loud. I read this and thought, people don’t work like this and they certainly exist. They don’t hand out helping hands like this, and it leaves me hoping and wishing that they did. I just find these characters to be fascinating and filled with the extraordinary abilities of true heroes.

The artwork of this novel is something to behold. All done in the shade of one color-purple in this book-is both goofy while it edges on sophisticated and loud, capturing scenes perfectly. They’re crowded and truly give off the lighthearted feel for the book to show that it’s enjoyable on a level that isn’t overly frightening. Dangerous and humorous more than anything.

WDYLSH

After reading this, I was left wanting more. I’m so glad I bought the entire series before starting them. Clever plots and heroic allies within these pages kept me from putting this down until I’d finished it. There’s always something surprising around the corner and by the end you realize you’re left with more questions so you have to read the next one.

Quotables

“How could someone who was missing be in two places at once?” (Lemony Snicket, p. 1)

“Boredom is not black licorice, Snicket. There’s no reason to share it with me.” (Moxie to Lemony, p. 119)

“You’re chasing mysteries, Snicket, but you’ve been a mystery yourself since you arrived in town.” (Moxie to Lemony, p. 198)

“No reality has the power to dispel a dream.” (Associate to Lemony, p. 274)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

 

P.S. Song today? Here’s To The Night by Eve 6.

 

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What Does the S Stand For? (“Who Could That Be at This Hour?” – A Book Review)

“Who Could That Be at This Hour?” (All The Wrong Questions ?1)
Author: Lemony Snicket
Published: 2012

On Goodreads

WCTBH

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

 

What happened to his parents? Where is that screaming coming from? Is it too late?

In Stain’d-by-the-Sea, a town boarded up and faded. Young Lemony Snicket, almost thirteen to be exact, begins his apprenticeship for a secret organization shrouded in mystery and secrecy. There was a girl and there was a theft. He’s determined to figure the real reason behind the theft of a statue, how this town lost its way, and who is really behind the sinister villainy.

But first things first, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do you find sinister mysteries interesting?

[ ]   Yes.          [ ] Why do you ask?

  1. Have you ever received a secret note and followed its very dangerous instruction?

[ ]   No.           [ ]   “No.”

  1. Are you too young to be the sort of detective who retrieves a mysterious stolen item that may or may not have been stolen?

[ ]   None of your business     [ ]   Besides, I’m told I look young for my age.

  1. Who is that standing behind you?

[ ]   I’m not going to fall for that old trick.      [ ]   Eek.

 

Lemony Snicket has a mystery to solve and it’s not as easy as his chaperone, S. Theodora Markson (who is 52/52) thinks it is. With the help of Moxie, a journalist, the Bellerophon brothers, taxi drivers, and Ellington Feint, a girl who is just trying to rescue her father, Lemony discovers a much bigger and nefarious plot at hand, but what is it? It has something to do with a statue of a mythical beast called the Bombinating Beast and a villain nobody’s ever laid eyes on named Hangfire, and let me tell you, he’s seems worse than Count Olaf.

WCTH

I’m not a fan of mysteries. I’ve said that a few times, I think. They just make me sleepy and that’s no fun. Then there’s Lemony Snicket. While what he writes is certainly mysterious, he also weaves intrigue and curiosity into his stories. He’s well-known for his A Series of Unfortunate Events series. While the story of the Baudelaires had gothic theme, his own personal adventures in this series has a strong Noir feel. I. Love. Noir.

It only took me a day to get through this book. It was fast, not because it was simple, but because that was how fast the pace. I was clinging on trying to catch all of the Easter eggs and decode all of the hidden meanings. The word peril, which here means danger serious and immediate danger, is threaded throughout this entire book and that left me on the edge of my seat, bouncing, needing to get to end to discover who the culprit was and I wasn’t shocked, but I was desperate to start the next book. There wasn’t just some mystery. There were parts in between that if you weren’t careful, you’d miss them completely.

Lemony quickly gained fellow friends, and frenemies, and enemies. The characters were fun and smart and really clever. The adults however, acted the way you’d expect them to act, like kids knew nothing and you just couldn’t believe them about anything. In truth? Lemony and his allies were brilliant. They relied on each other to get to the bottom of theft and these connections really made the book that much more fantastic.

Though, the officers Mitchum, two police officers who insist that they’re good at their job (they’re not), also married, who bickered non-stop and nit-picked about trivial things really added some humor and left me bewildered. LOL.

 

I really really REALLY enjoyed this book. The author’s story takes a unique POV because now you get to follow his story, and if you remember correctly, most, if not all, of his stories come to dreary and dreadful ends. If you enjoy nefarious plans, perilous situations, and double-crossing then read this. Then again, if you prefer a happy, more upbeat story with a predictable happy ending for its main characters don’t even pick this one up because you will not find that in this book.

 

Quotables

“Knowing that something is wrong and doing it anyway happens very often in life, and I doubt I will ever know why.” (Lemony Snicket, p. 33)

“The children of this world and the adults of this world are in entirely separate boats and only drift near each other when we need us to wash our hands.” (Lemony Snicket, p. 114)

“Scolding must be very, very fun, otherwise children would be allowed to do it.” (Lemony Snicket, p. 151)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

 

P.S. Song today? The Sound of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel.

 

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