Friday, October 21, 2005

40. The Slippery Slope

by Lemony Snicket

[Warning: Spoilers ahead.]

I had every intention of diving into the fourth Harry Potter, in efforts to finish it by the movie’s release date, but I have a feeling that’s not going to happen. That feeling stems mostly from the fact that I was alerted to another release, that being Lemony Snicket’s The Penultimate Peril, the penultimate, as one might gather, book in the series. Somehow I had totally not known that there were a finite number of books in the Series of Unfortunate Events (who sent that memo and why didn’t I get it?), so finding out that the next-to-last book was in stores sent me into a bit of a reading tizzy. It went sort of like this: “But I’ve only read through Book the Ninth! I need to finish Harry Potter by November 18! I need to start on the next GB Book Club book! Too many books, not enough time! Damn you full-time job!” And then I shook my fist in the general direction of my office.

What happened is my love for Lemony Snicket overruled. And it only takes me two to three days to finish the books anyway. It’ll only be a week and then I’ll be all caught up. Harry Potter can wait.

Things got really interesting in The Slippery Slope. We still haven’t learned what VFD officially stands for, but we do know that it stands for such things as Verbal Fridge Dialogue, Verdant Flammable Device, and most importantly, Very Fresh Dill. We know that there’s one last safe place for the VFD volunteers (I’m sure that’s redundant somehow) to gather and that’s the Hotel Denouement. We know that Quigley Quagmire, the third of the Quagmire triplets, survived the fire in which he was believed to be killed and may be embarking on a romantic relationship with Violet. And we know that both the Baudelaire and Quagmire parents, as well as Count Olaf and a number of others, all belonged to VFD until some point at which a great schism tore them apart. It’s all coming together and all these secrets we’ve been uncovering since Book the First are starting to make some sense.

I’ve said it before, but I never tire of reiterating what I love about these books – the word play is sublime. With Sunny saying things like “bicuspid,” which means “Should I drag my teeth against the ice, too?” and “coastkleer” which means “It's safe to come out now” you can’t help but laugh at the overall cleverness. And really, Hotel Denouement? That’s hilarious! I love the word “denouement.” I love that it’s used so correctly here. This, combined with the fact that this huge story has been stretched across thirteen books, building and building in suspense, each book revealing just enough of the story to make you horribly impatient for the next book to come out? That is awesome. I can’t wait to read these to my children. (However hypothetical and very far in the future those children may be.)

2 Comments:

Blogger piksea said...

I only read the first book and it was so dark and sad and depressing that I never went back. I needed a little more glimmer of hope to keep me coming back for more. After reading your praise, I may just look into the other books in the series.

I will admit that I loved the word play and I really loved how he gives definitions and definitions of the words as used in context.

2:44 PM  
Blogger Exxie said...

I like that the books are darker than most children's books. I like Artemis Fowl, too, because the central character is an evil mastermind and yet we sympathize with him because we understand what he's doing. With the Baudelaire siblings, we get to see the good in everything unfortunate that happens. They use their intelligence to get them out of messes, they find they have the courage to defeat the villans, and they never abandon each other. I find it a welcome change from the usual saccharine tales. Give the books another chance - the meat of the story really gets started around Books 4 and 5. After that you'll be dying to know what happens next!

6:47 PM  

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