101 of 104 people found the following review helpful
If there's anyone on your gift list unlucky enough to own the entire series of unfortunate events, you may wish to inflict further adversity upon them by purchasing this additional volume for their collection. Not so much a book as a mystery contained between hard covers, this most attractively presented publication contains two folders, one with a large two-sided poster filled with clues, and a notebook containing correspondence exchanged between a guy named Lemony Snicket and what seems to be two people named Beatrice Baudelaire, one of whom claims to be a fourth Baudelaire sibling. The letters begin before The Bad Beginning and end sometime after The End.
It soon becomes evident that the notebook contains many clues, and from the cover we learn that these clues are "suspiciously linked to Book the Thirteenth". The most obvious puzzle is the anagram using the punch out letters, but there's no way in heck that anybody's going to ruin the notebook by actually doing that. There are several solutions to the anagram, two of which contain names, the simplest one seeming to tie in with the poster illustration, and the other one connected through the correspondence. Even the cover has an illustrated surprise which could also be a clue.
Conspiracy buffs will have a field day with this one, which is a lot trickier that it looks. For instance the occupation "baticeer" (someone who trains bats) won't be found in the dictionary, and the poem "My Silence Knot" is also a puzzle. It's highly unlikely that I'll be any closer to revealing any secrets by the time "The End" comes out next month, so I guess I'll just have to wait and see. In the interim, this one gets full marks for originality and presentation.
Amanda Richards, September 17, 2006
52 of 53 people found the following review helpful
on September 10, 2006
I think I can safely say that the Series of Unfortunate Events is the only series I've read where the author's mysterious story might be even more intriguing than the actual storyline. This book is cleverly set up, complete with punch-out letters that spell out something important! There is also a very suspicious-looking two-sided poster. This book takes a few reads and a bit of piecing together, which makes it a lot of fun. There are still some things I need to figure out. You may want to take some notes while reading these letters...
The humor is more subdued in this companion to the series, but Lemony Snicket's reply to Beatrice's 200-page book made me laugh. The whole presentation is both funny and kind of sad...like the books themselves. In other words, this book is worth the buy.
109 of 120 people found the following review helpful
Anagrams and anagrams. This series loves anagrams.
This book raises more questions than it answers, but it only heightens the anticipation of the thirteenth book, "The End". We see a different side of Lemony Snicket, both in his letters to Beatrice and Beatrice's letters to him. We also see different *sides* of Beatrice. I haven't been following the clues as closely as many readers have - because there are so, so many - but there was one particularly interesting revelation here. At least a *possible* revelation. Without spoiling anything, I feel safe in saying that not everyone involved may be quite as "adult" as they seem. Then again, perhaps not. Frankly, it's fascinating.
Others have commented on the physical design of the book, so I'll not bore you with that repitition.
This is a quick read - unless you want to try and put all of the pieces together. If that's what you're in the mood for, and I highly reccommend it, get a pot of coffee (if your Mom or Dad will allow), a pen, and a commonplace notebook. It's an all-nighter. If you're adept at anagrams, it may be considerably quicker, and the coffee might not be necessary.
I've read adult mysteries that were easier to follow; read enormous, overlong, and tremendously complex fantasy series that are nearly impossible to follow (Robert Jordan's comes to mind). That a book aimed at young adults (9-12) is so involved, and involves so many adults (like myself) is truly a testimony Daniel Handler.
I really have to wonder exactly what is going on in Handler's mind, especially considering the other books he's written - two not specifically for younger readers. It must be an interesting, no, *fascinating* place. He seems a bit like Willy Wonka, if Wonka were an author. To me at least...you don't need to agree.
56 of 62 people found the following review helpful
on September 12, 2006
The end is near. Followers of "A Series of Unfortunate Events" know that the thirteenth, and last, book of the series, titled "The End", is out on the thirteenth day of the tenth month on the fifth day of the week. A confusing phrase which here means: Friday, October 13th, 2006.
Lovers of the series have devoured each book and Lemony Snicket, the series' elusive author, has earned himself quite a following. A phrase which here means a LOT of happy readers who like to devour every word the author writes in hopes of solving a complicated mystery.
Why they would amuse themselves with the trivialities and misfortune that befalls the Baudelaire Orphans is beyond me. Horrible things happen to these lucky children: Their house burns down, they lose their parents, they get taken in by a nefarious criminal, Count Olaf, who tries to take their massive fortune.
And that's just the beginning of their woes. But Lemony Snicket, chronicler of the lives of the Baudelaire Orphans, has also earned himself an air of mystery. Here which means a confusing situation that may or may not be solved with the help of bloodhounds on a cloudy day.
Little is known about the elusive author and littler still of his great love: Beatrice. Each of the twelve books has been dedicated to her in some way. "The Penultimate Peril," Book the Twelfth in "A Series of Unfortunate Events," is dedicated to her thusly:
No one could extinguish my love,
or your house.
Thus we come to: "The Beatrice Letters." Here we have a File Box of information. A phrase, which here means a book that opens to two file folders, holding a double-sided poster with clues and the letters themselves, carefully bound in tape. There are letters to Beatrice from Lemony and to Lemony from Beatrice. All through out them, codes abound.
Cryptograms appear galore; sprinkled through out a collection of business cards, file photographs, telegrams, poems and letters written on scraps of paper, we learn of a love affair between Snicket and Beatrice, who claims to be a fourth Baudelaire sibling. A love blooms between them in their search for Violet, Klaus and Sunny. And mayhap we learn a few secrets along the way.
But these are not just your normal letters. In fact there are Letters encased in amongst the letters, which is to say there are punch out Letters with which you can make many names.
Snicket says of these punch out Letters at the end of the letters:
"For many years I thought if I collected all these letters and their accompanying ephemera--a phrase which here means "documents and items which I feared had vanished, and may soon vanish again"--I could put all of them in the proper order, as if solving an anagram by putting all of the letters in the right order. But letters are not letters, so the arrangement of letters is not as simple as the arrangement of letters, and even if it were, the arrangement of these letters could spell out more than one thing..."
The only problem with the Letters is that I do not want to punch them out of the page, thereby ruining the book. I can only write them down in my commonplace book, in hopes of solving their anagram secret. There are many secrets encased "The Beatrice Letters", which is suspiciously linked to Book the Thirteenth; but this author can't figure them out.
I've read through "The Beatrice Letters" twice now and am unable to decipher anything but a few obvious clues. As to how "The Beatrice Letters" is linked to Book the Thirteenth, perhaps we finally find out the identity of the elusive Lemony Snicket? I'm going to have to rifle through "The Beatrice Letters" many more times before its secrets become clear.
Though I am loath to admit it--a phrase here, which means with great reluctance, unwilling or disinclined--I was disappointed when I first picked up "The Beatrice Letters." I was expecting a book, similar to "The Unauthorized Autobiography of Lemony Snicket" whose pages I could scour for clues. What I wasn't expecting was a file of letters and a large poster.
After going over "The Beatrice Letters," though, it's become clear to me what Lemony Snicket has given us. With only just over a month until the last and final book in the series, Lemony Snicket has given us a challenge, a game. Our challenge is to try and find the shocking secrets about Book the Thirteenth. Indeed, "The Beatrice Letters" are quite brilliant. Instead of another book to add to the series, Snicket has given us something all together different; something we can sink our teeth--and brains--into until the last book finally hits stores.
I for one will be waiting with anticipatory glee--a phrase here which means great eagerness--until then. I'll have to read "The Beatrice Letters" again, commonplace book beside me open to a fresh page, to see if I can find the secrets out, before it's too late.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on December 26, 2006
I defenitely suggest reading this. It's like a super short book 14. I discovered lots of stuff about the whole series AND that the things I thought after reading The End were WRONG. This is a great read if you're intrested in the Series of Unfortunate Events books because if you read carefully, you can discover a huuuuuuuge thing.
P.S. When reading this book, remeber EVERYTHING about Book 13.
P.P.S Especially the end.
P.P.P.S The thing I discovered suprised me. I didn't know I was smart enough to discover it. :)
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on November 9, 2006
In order to fully appreciate this book you really need to have read all 13 of the 'A Series of Unforunate Events'novels. However, by reading 'The Beatrice Letters' alone, you can still get a really excellent feel for the trials and tribulations experienced by the narrator as he searches for Beatrice and tries to make sense of her disappearance. This book is the icing on the cake for the series and is not to be missed.
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on September 5, 2006
The first thing you'll notice about this book is that it really is quite lovely. It's hardcover and storybook sized. The cover photo will look familiar to some, and is a clue all in itself. It's quite large, and although a bit on the pricey side with a list price of $19.99, you should be able to find it discounted pretty easily.
When you first open the book, it may seem there's not much to justify the twenty dollar price tag. However, there's a "notebook" (a composition sized paperback) filled with activites and correspondence between Lemony Snicket and the mysterious Beatrice. Within the first few pages we learn some remarkable things about her, and the clues just keep coming in from there.
Also included within the pages are activities to further you research into ASoUE, and Brett Helquist has made a fold out double sided poster all decorated with some "The End" foreshadowing. I rather like his work, and will probably wind up framing this eventually. If you or your children are fans, they might want to do the same.
If you are a fan on the series, you will want this book. It's touching and beautiful, filled with clues, and adds more pieces of the puzzle each time you read it. If you read Lemony Snicket's Unauthorized Autobiography, you'll find the clues and such about in the same vein--although not quite as silly (and not quite as focused on V.F.D. alone).
It's the birthday season now, and soon the holidays will be upon us. This is a great gift that fans will want to read again and again.
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Lemony Snicket, The Beatrice Letters (Scholastic, 2006)
I finished this quite a while ago now, actually, and have been avoiding writing a review of it because I honestly don't know what to say that's not going to sound overly harsh-- and I get the feeling that my thoughts towards this book are overly harsh because I read it after reading The End. This was obviously meant as a lead-up.
But then, if the entire purpose of the book was to provide a lead-in for The End, and it's not capable fo standing on its own, isn't at least some harshness deserved? If you take that approach to it, it starts looking more like a marketing ploy than an actual book, a piece of ephemera produced for the sole purpose of culling another few bucks from the wallets of series fans-- who, given that not a single one has yet been released in paperback, are already suffering enough. (The listings for paperbacks-- with the possible exceptions of the Spanish editions, no idea what they're doing in other countries-- at Amazon are miscataloged. Plug those ISBNs into your library's system and see what comes up.)
Given that, the simple question: is it worth the money? The simple answer: not unless you're an Unfortunate Events completist. There's not nearly as much actual information here as there is in the novels, and the mystery to be solved is of a type of mystery that one can only solve once, in one way (and, needless to say, if you've already read The End, you know what's coming anyway). Not much replayability value, one thinks, especially for the price. I'd pass, were I you. **
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on September 9, 2006
I'm sure no readers used to Snicket's enigmatic style will be surprised at how familiar this book will ring. How expected, to have some questions answered only to discover so many more mysteries we weren't even aware of! What's the elusive Beatrice's identity? And for those of us who already know, why are so many strange contradictions surfacing the further we read? Is there something more to what we suspected? Of course there is, and we can only hope the last book reveals all. There are, however, some who think the clues are all there, if they could only put them together the right way. Does Lemony really know all he says? Or will 'The End' contain a dead ringer, a shipwreck, and several missing persons? You'll have to read the book to find out, and even then, no promises. Just remember to keep your eyes - and ears - open for clues. Some things that seem ordinary, if you're paying attention, should set off some familiar bells in your head.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
I'm left with even more questions now after reading The Beatrice Letters--mind you there are some very very interesting tidbits in this volume that clearly effect how I look at parts of the series and how the final book will turn out.
I just skimmed through it, but I would say that its something that will require multiple viewings to really figure much out from it--especially since Lemony Snicket's Letter to his editor--at the end of the book,really helps with some of the problems I was having while reading it.
Its set up sort of as a little portfolio, in one pocket there is a two sided poster, that matches parts of the illustrations with in the book (these illustrations have punch out letters by the way--since I didn't own the book I didn't punch them out, so I can't be sure what they spell, especially with all of the anagram hinting at that was given, because they might spell one thing, but is that what they are supposed to spell?)
In the other pocket is the actual 'book', its paper back, like the commonplace books that are mentioned in the series, and is (in some sort of order) the correspondence between Lemony Snicket and Beatrice. Some things fold out, there are a few photographs of important items etc, its sort of like an artifact from the world that the Baudelaire's might come across.
It really made me hungry for the 13th book, but also made me wish I had taken some sort of notes while reading the previous 12 because wow have I forgotten alot, I didn't pick up on clues I know were dropped.
Anyone who is a fan of the series needs to read this.