WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.
The Ersatz Elevator by Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler)
Type: Adventure, Contemporary
Basic Idea: The Baudelaires are now living with the Squalors, a rich couple. Of course they are followed by Count Olaf again, but this time there are extra problems that they are trying to work through.
Plot: 4/5 Well Done: This is one of my favorite books in the series. I like the more interesting plot and the new characters in this book. The story was more exciting as the children had the goal of trying to help their friends as well as try to escape Count Olaf. The plot twist that reveals another main character in the book also makes this book a better one in the series, in my opinion. As I am rereading this series, I notice more hints to the character revelations than when I was a kid. As a child though, I hardly noticed them.
Writing Style and Setup: 4/5 Well Done: It was as good as always. The longer the books get, the more the author is able to express his unique style. The only think I don’t exactly care for are his definitions (probably because I know what those words really mean, so I find it a bit annoying). The suspense that he built to reach the conclusion of a matter and the way he describes scenes are both well done. The setup and pace were also appropriate.
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: 2/5 A Vague, Mostly Good Moral: The moral in this book is similar to book three. The children have each other to rely on and are thankful. The book series still has hints of “Your Parents are Dumb and Your Neighbor’s Evil.”
Overall: 4/5 Well Done: I recommend this book in quality for children of either gender and ages eleven to twelve and older.
Sexual and Inappropriate Content: ½/5 Brief Mention: Some children think a baby is complaining about seen in her underwear when she really isn’t.
Violence: It mentions a person wondering if they hurt someone. Several people slip on doilys. Another man hits people on accident with a statue.
Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: ½/5 A Little Misuse: “Gosh” is used once.
Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 1/5 Some Possibly Disturbing Content: It mentions in the dedication that a woman has died. A man hints he is about to be executed. It never says he is, and it is implied that he is not. An example of the phrase “mixed bag” is given by the author that includes “man-eating and woman-eating lions.” A description says that a man’s eyes looked like they could “burn them to a crisp.” A boy mentions a girl who had been captured during war times. It mentions a woman that was afraid of the stove exploding. Children are threatened a few times in the book. Some children are shoved down an elevator. Some children are found that look traumatized from being kidnapped and mention that horrible things have and will happen to them, though it does not go into detail of what they are.
Religious Issues: 1/5 Brief Mention: The word “haunting” is used and explained, the explanation mentioning ghost. A man thinks some people are ghost. A knot is used that is called “the Devil’s Tongue.” It mentions a myth with fake heroes and creatures in it.
Magic: 0/5 None
Others: Several people drink non-alcoholic martinis, though a boy asks if they have alcohol.
Overall: 1/5 All Ages Appropriate: This book is recommendable for all ages morally, the worst thing probably being some children having been kidnapped.
Here is a link to the seventh review: