Author: Lemony Snicket
Publication Date: February 20, 2001
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Children’s
Publisher: Harper Collins
As with the previous Series of Unfortunate Events books The Ersatz Elevator begins with the Baudelaire children being sent off to live with another random stranger, this time in a high rise on some many unknown amount of floors up in the penthouse! Naturally with the unfortunate state of the orphans lives, the elevator is “out” and stairs are “in”. So it takes several hours to climb up and down the stairs, which is absolutely absurd just to try and fit in. But, such is the lives of the Squalors, the children’s’ new guardians.
Esmé Squalor is a very important financial advisor and is organizing an auction for “in” items with Gunther, the new trendy auctioneer. The Baudelaire children immediately recognize Gunther to be Count Olaf in disguise, and of course when the children try to expose Gunther for his true identity none of the adults believe them and they just go about their merry way.
When the children try and find where Count Olaf has hidden the Quagmire triplets they stumble upon an ersatz elevator, or rather, a fake elevator. There is no platform or cables and it appears to be an empty shaft all the way down to the bottom. They climb down the shaft and find the Quagmire triplets in a cage! When the Quagmire’s tell the Baudelaire’s that Count Olaf is planning on selling them in the auction while hidden inside one of the items the Baudelaire’s become desperate to try and find a way to help the Quagmire’s escape.
Now, without going into too much more detail on the plot I am sure you can imagine that things do not go well for the Quagmire’s or the Baudelaire’s. Hence why there are 7 more books after this one. I feel like this one is where things really start going dark. I actually think I’ve said that about the last two books but I don’t know, this one just has a special extra something that makes it feel so creepy and foreboding.
Maybe it’s the fact that Count Olaf and Esmé actually end up hiding and selling the Quagmire’s in one of the auction items??? Like?? These are children, and you just human trafficked them. I told you, this book went dark where none of the others have. It may have also been partly because Esmé was in on this scheme the entire time with Count Olaf?? He apparently taught her how to act and man she fooled everyone, including her husband! She also would have fooled me had I not already seen the Netflix show.
I think this book may have been the saddest and most anxiety inducing one yet. The entire scene with the elevator shaft was simply terrifying, there may have been a scene where Esmé actually PUSHED all three Baudelaire children down the empty shaft and I about lost my marbles. LIKE, HOW TERRIFYING. To have your guardian do that?? Or legit to have anyone do that??? I just, I don’t even want to continue talking about it! I am so impressed with how brave all of the children are, and how even though their lives are completely horrible they still try to make the best of it.
I am really getting into this series now, I have about 35 minutes left in The Vile Village audiobook so hopefully I will have a review up for that Friday or Saturday!