Book Review: The Austere Academy (A Series of Unfortunate Events #5) #BookReview #ChildrensBooks #Fiction

The Austere Academy

by Lemony Snicket


My thoughts on this book:

The Baudelaires have been whisked away from Count Olaf once again, this time to a boarding school called Prufrock Preparatory School. Principal Nero has assured them that Count Olaf will never find them because of his sophisticated computer system. Of course, his guarantee becomes questionable once the children realize that he’s just another adult that can’t be trusted. All he seems to care about is playing his violin, and horribly I might add! The orphans have been housed in a fungus dripping, crab-infested shack, baby Sunny has been given the job of administrative secretary for Principal Nero, and Violet and Klaus are expected to get good grades on ridiculous exams after spending their sleepless nights running in circles with the gym teacher, coach Genghis. Luckily, they’ve found themselves a few friends that sympathize with them and are willing to help them solve their problems. The Baudelaires always have the same issue: They must find a way to succeed against Count Olaf.

We took a bit of a break after book #4 because the plot of these books seemed to be getting a tad redundant. This installment was more interesting though, and even with the recurring themes we found it engaging and comical at times. It’s still depressing, but we appreciated the friendship the Baudelaires found with the Quagmire triplets in this one; it was nice that the children had some normalcy for once. Principal Nero is extremely annoying, yet hilarious. Coach Genghis, well, you’ll have to read about all his craziness in the book. The end leaves you with a huge cliffhanger which was unexpected, and after that we really want to move right along to book six now.

Something I love about all of these books is Lemony Snicket’s use of vocabulary. In this installment children learn meanings to more difficult words like luminous, sayonara, austere, adversity, triptych, and assumption. Even if the full definition isn’t given for every word, my children are intrigued and want to understand them.

We enjoyed this installment and look forward to finishing the entire series. The books just keep getting longer as the series moves forward, so I have a feeling things are going to get interesting.


Find this book on Goodreads and Amazon:

  • Age Range: 8 – 12 years
  • Grade Level: 5 – 6
  • Series: A Series of Unfortunate Events (Book 5)
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 1st edition (August 8, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0064408639
  • ISBN-13: 978-0064408639


From Goodreads:
Dear Reader,

If you are looking for a story about cheerful youngsters spending a jolly time at boarding school, look elsewhere. Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire are intelligent and resourceful children, and you might expect that they would do very well at school. Don’t. For the Baudelaires, school turns out to be another miserable episode in their unlucky lives.

Truth be told, within the chapters that make up this dreadful story, the children will face snapping crabs, strict punishments, dripping fungus, comprehensive exams, violin recitals, S.O.R.E., and the metric system.

It is my solemn duty to stay up all night researching and writing the history of these three hapless youngsters, but you may be more comfortable getting a good night’s sleep. In that case, you should probably choose some other book.

With all due respect,
Lemony Snicket

Thanks for reading my review! Have you read this series? Let me know in the comment section below. Happy reading!

♥️ Mischenko

15 thoughts on “Book Review: The Austere Academy (A Series of Unfortunate Events #5) #BookReview #ChildrensBooks #Fiction

  1. You know, I am halfway convinced to try and read through the series, just because I’m enjoying your posts so much. There is also a really good reference to pasta puttanesca in the first book, which would be fun to make. Hmmmmm…………must ponder this a bit more. How much depressing stuff can I deal with happening to these kids? 😉

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks, Vanessa. You should try them! Honestly, I don’t think the books are that bad. They’re depressing at times, but these kids are resilient. They have the Quagmire children in this book and grow quite close to them so, there are good parts too. We also found this one to have funnier characters like Principal Nero. I have a good feeling that the books are just going to get better as we get into some of the larger volumes, but I guess we’ll see.

      I remember the puttanesca sauce! In this book it’s creamed spinach but from the school cafeteria lol. 😂❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I would seriously think about reading these to kids just for the vocabulary side of things. And it wasn’t until near the end of the series that I realized that some of Sunny’s gabble were actual real, little known words. Great stuff 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. starjustin

    So glad to hear an update on this series from you Jen! I always enjoyed hearing you read this with the kids. I’m looking forward to the next post on this series. I’ve bonded with these kids and Count Olaf needs to get his come up-ins. Lol. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am so glad you are still going strong with series, even if you took a break. I only read the first three, so will have to keep going with them. I have the first 8, so will have to see if I can get to them. I am actually looking forward to reading these with or to my grandson. I love that there is such great vocabulary in the books. Wonderful review.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. We have taken a break from them too… Joey has read 1-3 and I think we will come back to them. I know my oldest son read them all from beginning to end and loved them. But I got a bit bored with the same storyline with Count Olaf…
    This series will always remind me of my oldest son… who is 25 now. 😫 dangit… why do they grow up so fast?!


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