WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.
The Austere Academy by Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler)
Type: Adventure, Contemporary
Basic Plot: The Baudelaires are now living at a horrible boarding school as Count Olaf tries to gain thief fortune.
Plot: 4/5 Well Done: After books of the same ending, this book finally has a bit of twist at the end. Two events in this book cause a major change in the series. One is the Baudelaires making friends with the Quagmire orphans. Another is the mention of V.F.D., which the meaning is not yet reveled in the series.
Writing Style and Setup: 4/5 Well Done: The writing style was as dark and humorous as the other books. There were creative explanations and descriptions again. There was also good pacing and revelations were made at the right time.
Graphics: 4/5 Well Done: The graphics were done in the same style as the ones in the previous book, pencil sketches. The clues throughout the illustrations were not as clear as the other books had been, in my opinion.
Moral: 1/5 No Clear Moral: The moral was not that clear in this book, not even for the children sticking together. I suppose one moral you could get from this book is to be cautious and heed warnings, as refusing to do so gets the Quagmire triplets in major trouble.
Overall: 4/5 Well Done: It was done as well as the other books. I recommend it for children ten and older for quality.
Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 0/5 None
Violence: 1/5 A Bit of Light and Suggested Violence: A girl and her friends are described as “violent.” She pushes a boy. It is mentioned that a man woman fell of a building. It says that molehills can give a person stubbed toes. There are crabs that like to pinch people’s toes. A girl writes a poem about how she wishes Count Olaf would get hit by a truck. A man kicks a bag of flour that he thinks is a child and says he had thought the child had a hole in it and had hoped the child had died. A woman bites a boy’s hand. A man kicks a boy in the stomach.
Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: ½/5 Possible Swearing: The phrase “come hell or high water” is used.
Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 1½/5 Injuries and Some Potentially Disturbing Content: It mentions in the dedication that a woman has died. It is mentioned that people died in previous books. The school buildings look like gravestones. The school model is Memento Mori, “Remember you will die.” It mentions that people will all die and that a man may soon die from a bus accident. In explaining the difference between a mountain and a molehill, subbed toes, war, people dieing, and children eating lions are all used. A man thinks he has kicked a hole in a child for a second and hopes he had killed her. An exercise program is called S.O.R.E., and it mentions the children being sore in various places for various reasons. It mentions that paint “can sometimes be poisonous or cause birth defects.” It mentions that a baby stapled its own fingers.
Religious Issues: ½/5 Slightly Suggestive: It is mentioned that people wear turbans for their religion, and a man wears a turban as a disguise claiming it is for his religion. He complains that he endures religious persecution.
Magic: 0/5 None
Overall: 1/5 All Ages Appropriate: I would recommend this book morally to ages eight to ten and older.
Here is a link to the sixth review: