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The Reptile Room (A Series of Unfortunate Events #2) Hardcover – Deckle Edge, August 25, 1999
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The Reptile Room begins where Lemony Snicket's The Bad Beginning ends... on the road with the three orphaned Baudelaire children as they are whisked away from the evil Count Olaf to face "an unknown fate with some unknown relative." But who is this Dr. Montgomery, their late father's cousin's wife's brother? "Would Dr. Montgomery be a kind person? they wondered. Would he at least be better than Count Olaf? Could he possibly be worse?" He certainly is not worse, and in fact when the Baudelaire children discover that he makes coconut cream cakes, circles the globe looking for snakes to study, and even plans to take them with him on his scientific expedition to Peru, the kids can't believe their luck. And, if you have read the first book in this Series of Unfortunate Events, you won't believe their luck either. Despite the misadventures that befall these interesting, intelligent, resourceful orphans, you can trust that the engaging narrator will make their story--suspenseful and alarming as it is--a true delight. The Wide Window is next, and more are on their way. (Ages 9 and older) --Karin Snelson
From Publishers Weekly
"If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book." So cautions Snicket, the exceedingly well-mannered narrator of these two witty mock-gothic novels featuring the misadventures of 14-year-old Violet, 12-year-old Klaus and infant Sunny Baudelaire. From the first, things look unfortunate indeed for the trio: a fire destroys their home, killing their parents along with it; the executor of their parents' estate, the obtuse Mr. Poe (with a son, Edgar), ignores whatever the children have to say; and their new guardian, Count Olaf, is determined to get his hands on the Baudelaire fortune. But by using their individual gifts (Violet's for inventing, Klaus's for reading and researching and baby Sunny's for biting) the three enterprising children thwart the Count's planAfor now. The author uses formal, Latinate language and intrusive commentary to hilarious effect, even for readers unfamiliar with the literary conventions he parodies. The peril in which he places the Baudelaires may be frightening (Count Olaf actually follows through on his threats of violence on several occasions), but the author paints the satire with such broad strokes that most readers will view it from a safe distance. Luckily for fans, the woes of the Baudelaires are far from over; readers eager for more misfortune can turn to The Reptile Room, for an even more suspenseful tale. Exquisitely detailed drawings of Gothic gargoyles and mischievous eyes echo the contents of this elegantly designed hardcover. Age 9-up. (Sept.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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I came to this series after already watching the tie-in movie "Lemony Snicket's a Series of Unfortunate Events". I had been fairly certain I would like the series for its dark humor, and the first book in the series - "The Bad Beginning" - most certainly did not disappoint, so I was not too surprised when I also loved "The Reptile Room".
Like the rest of the novels in this series, this book is very slender and can be whipped through in a few short hours - if it has any drawbacks at all, it would perhaps be the price-to-page ratio. However, the story is engaging and well-told and it's impossible to not be drawn into the drama of the Baudelaire orphans as they struggle to survive in the home of their kind-but-eccentric Uncle Monty. Having already seen the movie, it was a bit tricky for me to adjust from Billy Connolly's delightful and warm characterization of Uncle Monty to the somewhat cooler and more oblivious Uncle Monty presented here on page, but the characterization fits more easily within the confines of the story.
A note about the audiobook edition of this book: this installation in the series is narrated by Tim Curry. He narrates the story superbly and adds a wonderful layer of creepy inflection over the entire affair. The pacing is excellent and the overall effect on the reader is very immersive and well worth the listen.
~ Ana Mardoll
Drama: This was the first book in the series, to have a murder of a Guardian. This death was actually expected, in my opinion. This is because, we already know what Count Olaf would do to get these miserable orphans fortune, so why not expect him to kill as well?
OLAF AND HIS DISGUISES: I personally got a kick out of his disguise in this book. It was simple, yet the fact he had convinced everyone he was "Gunther" made the whole disguise even funnier. It actually was funny, when the Baudelaires found him out the second they saw him. I mean I find it ironic, that no one recognized him, and the only people who did recognize him where the Baudelaires.
HIS PLAN: I think that his plan to gain the Baudelaire fortune, was stupid. I mean seriously, he tried to frame Uncle Monty's vast collection of snakes, on Monty's death. He left so much evidence around Uncle Monty, that only an idiot would miss it. Apparently everyone in this series are actually idiots and show ignorance, except the Baudelaires, if you haven't noticed. Well back to the plan, then Olaf was going to take the orphans to Peru, which was the trip Monty was going to take them on. Olaf would have full control over the orphans if Monty had died, and according to his plan, they would leave before any police or any official awareness.
Plot Development: No plot development at all. Actually there is no plot development until the fifth book.
Characters: (Old/reoccurring: Sunny, Violet, Klaus Baudelaire. Mr Poe. Count Olaf and his troup.)(New: Uncle Monty, Gustav.)
Final Review: 3/5
Verdict: This book did not contribute to the story growth. Therefore I call this a filler chapter, and is a part of Act 1 of the story. Good book at times, but same old. Boring, might entertain some.
A Series of Unfortunate Events tells the story of three really smart children that become orphans and live a really miserable childhood.
In this volume called "The Reptile Room" they stay at Monty's beautiful house after outsmarting count Olaf, right before he swears vengeance.
The story takes place at lousy lane, a disgusting road that smelled like fertilizer and at Monty's house which looked old and creepy on the outside, but was really cozy inside.
The special feature about Monty's house is this room called "the reptile room" that was filled with... reptiles. Reptiles of all kinds, from snakes to turtles and books all about them.
Monty is planing a trip to Peru, but his assistant quit right before it, so he has to hire someone else called Stephano to help him on the trip. As soon as the children see him, they realize that he is just count Olaf in a disguise. The next day Monty gets "bitten" by the Mamba Du Mal, one of the most venomous snakes in the world. Right away the children suspect that count Olaf is to blame for this when they see that the Mamba Du Mal is still in its cage.
From now things go from bad to worse.
Olaf is taking the children to the airport where they are going to catch the flight to Peru, but fortunately they crash into Mr. Poe (the banker that in charge of the orphan's money) on their way.
Now the children must figure out a way to make Mr. Poe believe that "Stephano" is really count Olaf.
Because of the crash they all have to go back to the house. At first Mr. Poe does not believe the children because of Olaf's costume. By the end of the book he believes the children, but count Olaf is able to escape.
I personally liked this book and I would recommend it to anyone that can read a book that doesn't end with 'And they lived happily ever after.'