The Reptile Room (A Series of Unfortunate Events)
Author: Lemony Snicket
Publication Date: September 30, 1999
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Children’s
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
As I’m writing this review I am actually on book #5 now so I think I can definitively say that I am still thoroughly enjoying this series, even in adulthood since as I mentioned in my review of The Bad Beginning this is my first time reading these books! I am going through these books so quickly I can’t keep up with my reviews! Hopefully I can get a few done today to try and get back on track!
We find our most unfortunate main characters being taken to live with their cooky Uncle Montgomery Montgomery (Yes he has the same name for his first and last name! But no worries he goes by Monty). Monty is a Herpetologist, a word which here means the study of reptiles (see further below for my feelings on this phrase). He loves reptiles enough to have a legit Reptile Room in his house where he houses all of the reptiles he loves and has discovered. This includes but is not limited to the incredibly deadly viper! This name is a misnomer though because the incredibly deadly viper is in fact the nicest reptile alive and could not be friendlier. When Monty is murdered one day and the incredibly deadly viper is blamed, the Baudelaire children know that this could not be how Monty was killed and they must find a way to prove that it was actually Count Olaf in disguise as Stephano, Uncle Monty’s assistant.
Okay let’s begin my review with that statement above ‘a word which here means’. I understand this is a children’s book and I shouldn’t be so critical because this is all in good fun but also, this phrase got really annoying really quickly. This phrase was spoken at least 45 times in the short 192 pages of this book. After the phrase is said Lemony Snicket then goes into a brief tirade of what the word or phrase actually means in relation to what’s happening to the Baudelaire children. This was honestly my biggest gripe with this entire book and because of it I actually rated it one star lower than it should have been.
One thing I really did love was Monty! He is the Baudelaire’s goofy Uncle and he was honestly a small amount of light in the children’s dark and bleak lives. He actually cared about them (I mean jeez he gave them the courtesy of getting their own rooms), he took them to movies every Friday, and they were allowed to help him with the reptiles and therefore gained a lot of knowledge they otherwise would not have had (which, we all know how much the Baudelaire’s love to learn). Monty’s untimely death hit a sore spot for me because even though I know what to expect from this series it still hurt my heart to see the children so broken up about it and to know it’s just one more relative that they no longer have in their lives. All of the competent adults in their lives end up dead and that’s incredivly distressing to me so I can only imagine how they felt.
The premise of this one was the first where we got to see Count Olaf in a disguise as he’s trying to steal the Baudelaire children’s fortune. In The Bad Beginning Count Olaf only has to play himself so it was fun seeing Olaf try to play off being another person for the sake of fooling the idiotic adults. I swear, Mr. Poe makes me want to tear my hair out. You would think he wouldn’t assume the children are ever lying when they say Count Olaf is in disguise, he has literally no reason to assume they aren’t telling the truth.
I listened to this on audiobook so it only took about 3 hours to get through the entire book and was still narrated by the ever amazing Tim Curry. But I will say this one took me until about 30 minutes left in the book before I realized this one wasn’t produced with a full cast! I don’t know why I didn’t notice it right from the beginning but this one is only Tim Curry narrating. That didn’t change anything for me though because he is an amazing narrator and should honestly read every book!
I’m excited to delve further into these books and see where the Baudelaire’s end up and hopefully get some answers!