The Penultimate Peril (A Series of Unfortunate Events #12)
By Lemony Snicket
We’ve finally finished the 12th book in A Series of Unfortunate Events “The Penultimate Peril.” This turned out to be one of our favorite installments.
In the beginning of the story, the Baudelaires are traveling with Kit Snicket to the Hotel Denouement. Here they’ll take up positions as concierges to spy on some of the guests staying there. Their mission is to discern who’s working for and against V.F.D. and to investigate who this mysterious J.S. person is in the hotel.
“You’re not children anymore, Baudelaires. You’re volunteers, ready to face the challenges of a desperate and perplexing world.”
The children split up to assist guests of the hotel and all run into familiar characters from previous installments, eventually having a run in with Esme, Carmelita, Principal Nero, and Count Olaf once again. Count Olaf’s plan remains finding the sugar bowl (a mysterious object all the enemies want) and also the Medusoid Mycelium (deadly fungus that nearly killed Sunny) from the previous book The Grim Grotto.
The children are so close to getting much-needed information from an important character, but then someone dies, and the hotel is in complete chaos with everyone trying to figure out what went wrong. It’s no surprise, of course, that the blame is on the Baudelaires once again. Even Mr. Poe thinks they’re responsible for the death, so who can they trust?
“There are some who say that you should forgive everyone, even the people who
have disappointed you immeasurably. There are others who say you should not forgive anyone, and should stomp off in a huff no matter how many times they apologize. Of these two philosophies, the second one is of course much more fun, but it can also grow exhausting to stomp off in a huff every time someone has disappointed you, as everyone disappoints everyone eventually, and one can’t stomp off in a huff every minute of the day.”
After having a trial, the children attempt to tell their whole story from the very beginning, but everything goes awry and they end up in Count Olaf’s clutches once more.
The Penultimate Peril left me much more curious about Count Olaf because a few bits of information are given regarding his history that left me asking: What is it that makes Count Olaf so villainous in the first place?
I’m convinced after reading this installment that it’s very possible we’ll finish this series and not get the ending we’re hoping for. The Baudelaires’ lives just seem to be getting worse with no hope in sight. Not only that, it’s so full of uncertainty and impossible to figure out. We still have no idea what this strange artifact the sugar bowl is or who can be trusted. This series is full of mystery. I’m left to wonder how all this will wrap up in the final book The End.
Overall, The Penultimate Peril turned out to be one of the best yet. The tone seemed to be more upbeat and we really enjoyed the reunion of old characters, which was unexpected. The final quarter of the book had us on edge. We’re moving right on to the final book.
- Age Range: 8 – 12 years
- Grade Level: 5 – 6
- Lexile Measure: NC1150L (What’s this?)
- Hardcover: 368 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins; 1st edition (January 1, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0064410153
- ISBN-13: 978-0064410151
If this is the first book you found while searching for a book to read next, then the first thing you should know is that this next-to-last book is what you should put down first. Sadly, this book presents the next-to-last chronicle of the lives of the Baudelaire orphans, and it is next-to-first in its supply of misery, despair, and unpleasantness.
Probably the next-to-last thing you would like to read about are a harpoon gun, a rooftop sunbathing alon, two mysterious initials, three unidentified triplets, a notorious villain, and an unsavory curry.
Next-to-last things are the first thing to be avoided, and so allow me to recommend that you put this next-to-last book down first, and find something else to read next at last, such a s the next-to-last book in another chronicle, or a chronicle containing other next-to-last things, so that this next-to-last book does not become the last book you will read.
With all due respect,
Thanks for reading my review. Have you read this series? Let’s chat in the comment section below.