Author: Lemony Snicket
Publication Date: August 31, 2000
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Children’s
Publisher: Harper Collins
The Austere Academy begins with the Baudelaire children now being shipped off to a boarding school after the terrible outcome at The Miserable Mill. This boarding school is not one you would want to attend because of the terrible conditions the children are forced to endure. If they break a rule they are made to eat their food without utensils or cups for their drinks, they have to live in an “orphan shack” because they don’t have a guardian to sign a form allowing them to live in the dorm, and because of the dastardly Count Olaf in disguise as the new gym teacher they are forced to run laps hundreds of times each night which doesn’t allow them any time to sleep or study for their ridiculous classes like “measuring” (where all they do is measure random objects).
Okay, phew that was a lot to take in, and I can confidently say that I am glad I was not forced to attend a school like this. There’s no better way to make sure a child hates going to school than to make it so unbearable like this. This book also brought a question to my mind and I don’t know how to feel about it now, aside from this book the children no longer attend school. This one doesn’t even really count because they are not learning anything useful. So in the other books the children just don’t have to go to school? How will this affect their future when they become adults, assuming Count Olaf doesn’t kill them in the process of trying to steal their money? I think about this a lot now and I need answers.
I feel like I am starting to compare these books to the Netflix show, which is a real problem for me. I have a hard time separating book from film and usually end up disliking one or the other. I think at this point I still like the books and the show for what they are and I am going to try my hardest to not compare them. BUT, with that being said I do remember the Netflix interpretation of The Austere Academy being a lot darker? I feel like I was expecting more from this story line because the show was actually much more bleak and some uh.. more heinous things happened.
We are finally getting into more the mysteries and secrets of these stories though because we meet the Quagmire triplets (YAY the Baudelaire children finally have friends!) and we find out about V.F.D, although we are given literally no information on it! Thank goodness these books are all already released so I can just hop right on the train to the next one and not have to wait ages to find out more about these secrets. Of course, when the Baudelaire children find a ray of light in their life it is quickly snatched away by the greasy hands of Count Olaf. When the Quagmire triplets put themselves in harms way to help the Baudelaire children who are in a tight spot, they are caught by Count Olaf and kidnapped! Talk about anxiety.
One thing Lemony Snicket is great at is leaving the reader wanting more from the story. We are given tiny snippets of information throughout each book which leaves us wanting more, what better way to get the reader to grab the next book than ending the last book on a cliffhanger!