WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.
The Reptile Room (A Series of Unfortunate Events) by Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler)
Type: Adventure, Contemporary
Basic Plot: The Baudelaire children have found a new home with another relative, but just as they are happy again, a certain someone comes back to try to steal their fortune.
Plot: 4/5 Well Done: The main idea is the same as the first book; a man is trying to take the Baudelaire’s fortune. New characters, events, and details make this book just as interesting as the first one, though. Throughout the book, the author also reveals more about his characters personalities, making them more interesting.
Writing Style and Setup: 4/5 Well Done: Some of the other parts of Lemony Snicket’s writing style come out in this book. He uses other techniques and descriptions that I don’t think were used as explicitly in the first book. Throughout the book he also explains things such as “dramatic irony.”
The story was paced well and things were revealed at a good rate. It is mentioned that a certain character will die early in the series several chapters before he dies. I believe this was done because the main suspense of the novel was not the fact that the character died, but how the children would prove he was murdered rather than just dieing.
Graphics: 4/5 Well Done: The graphics were done in the same style as the ones in the previous book, pencil sketches. They were again scattered with clues about what would and will happen.
Moral: ½/5 No Clear Moral and a Suggested Bad One: Unfortunately there were minor negative morals and again no main one. The minor bad morals were not constantly pressed, (well, except for the second one) but they are there. The minor negative morals included the author saying it was ok to lie in certain circumstances and Your Parents Are Dumb and Your Neighbor’s Evil (see Dangerous Ideas). Overall there was really no moral.
Overall: Except for the fact that no real moral was in the series except for minor bad ones, the series was well done in quality. I would recommend it for ages ten to twelve and older for children of either gender who would be interested in it.
Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 0/5 None
Violence: 2/5 Mentioned, Threatened, and Light Violence: A man is murdered, though not violently and it mentions that another man was as well. A letter says a man “swallowed a pack of thumbtacks.” It mentions that they watch a movie called “Zombies in the Snow,” and it is mentioned that people are eaten by the snow zombies. A snake bites a girl twice, though not violently, and a girl bites a snake and a man’s fake hands. A man mentions that he wishes someone would be “torn apart by wild animals.” A man threatens the children with violence several times, specifically once to chop a girl’s toe off. The children remember some of the things that were violent in the previous book. A girl gets hit in the shoulder with a suitcase. A man gets hit on the shoulder with a lamp dropped from the second floor. It mentions the story of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” and how he gets eaten. A man says that there are some snakes that would run you over with a car if they had the opportunity to. A lion looking at prey it will kill and eat is used as a description.
Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: 1/5 Light Swearing: The word “damn” is misused twice. The word “hell” is misused once. “God” is used as an exclamatory three times, and “Lord” is used two times.
Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: It mentions in the dedication that a woman has died. It mentions that some children’s parents have died. A secondary character is murdered, though not gorily. It is mentioned that another man was murdered. The children respond to it emotionally, crying a little and getting upset at other characters. The children are threatened in various ways throughout the book. A man says that if he had wanted to kill the children their “blood would already be pouring down these stairs like a waterfall.” It uses “the eyes of a skull” as a description and in one picture there is a skull sticker on a suitcase.
Religious Issues: 1/5 When a man is worrying and is exclaiming he says “Blessed Allah! Zeus and Hera!” A certain toad is compared to looking like a cathedral. “Hypnotized” is used as a description.
Magic: ½/5 Slight Mention: A movie is watched called “Zombies in the Snow.” No magic is done in the book.
Others: There is mention of a man wanting to drink and having some in his room and suitcase. It is mentioned that a man had “drunken guest.”
Overall: As far as I remember this is the only book with actual swearing in it. I really hate it when authors put language in one of their books randomly, and then it never shows up again. Other than the language, the book is clean. I would recommend it morally to twelve to thirteen and older because of the language.
Here is a link to the third book review: