Thursday, October 19, 2006

Ending Pending?

Just to let you know that I won't be discussing any specifics regarding the last book in A Series of Unfortunate Events. So if you are worried about spoilers, you can still read my thoughts on it. I'll try to be as vague as possible when describing things. But rest assured, I won't ruin anything for you.

Begin review of The End.

After the disappointment that was The Penultimate Peril, book twelve of A Series of Unfortunate Events, I wasn't as eager to read the final book The End. I mean, don't get me wrong. I was very interested to answer all of the lingering questions that the first twelve books have been dragging along. But I didn't find myself counting down the days to its release, not like I did with book twelve. I think I was just preoccupied with the Nintendo Wii.

But I did pre-order the book and had to wait an entire extra weekend to receive it from Amazon. And yeah, once it arrived last Monday, I immediately cracked it open.

The book starts off just like all the others; recapping the story of the Baudelaires. The book isn't exactly what I expected. I thought the last book would be a collection of explanations. I guess I expected it to come full circle and toss out any kind of story to just explain everything; much like the series finale of a show. But this book bucks that trend. Like all the other books, it is its own self-contained story. And why shouldn't it have been? This book speeds along as if it weren't the last of anything, and I gotta give the author credit.

And the story is fantastically interesting and imaginative. It was refreshing to see a different villain (though it depends on how you look at it) and to even see a different side of Count Olaf. The books are far from realistic, but at the same time, they are down to earth. Lemony Snicket doesn't sugar coat things and he has warned repeatedly that it won't end well. Well, I gotta say that I thought the ending was very fitting. Though not all my questions were answered, I believe there is meaning in Snicket's decision to leave things open ended; namely that the points aren't important. And if he were to answer some of these questions, we'd no more understand or care for it than if we were still in the dark.

And dagnabbit, how he ends the book makes you ponder the story from the bad beginning and opens wide new questions. I'm actually thinking about going back and rereading the series, now that I'm knowledgable on a certain detail.

Was that vague enough? If you couldn't tell, I really loved this last book. It was smart, funny, poignant, pregnant, tragic, hopeful, heartwarming, infuriating, and just plain memorable. I'm very sad that there won't be any other updates on the Baudelaires, but this ending was very satisfying. Though if you've also read The Beatrice Letters, well, I won't say anything further. It just makes me sad thinking about it.