The Hostile Hospital (#8) by Lemony Snicket

Published: May 1st 2003
Goodreads badgePublisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 258
Format: Book
Genre: Junior Fiction
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

Dear Reader,

Before you throw this awful book to the ground and run as far away from it as possible, you should probably know why. This book is the only one which describes every last detail of the Baudelaire children’s miserable stay at Heimlich Hospital, which makes it one of the most dreadful books in the world.
There are man pleasant things to read about, but this book contains none of them. Within its pages are such burdensome details as a suspicious shopkeeper, unnecessary surgery, an intercom system, anesthesia, heart-shaped balloons, and some very startling news about a fire. Clearly you do not want to read about such things.
I have sworn to research this story, and to write it down as best I can, so I should know that this book is best left on the ground, where you undoubtedly found it.

With all due respect,
Lemony Snicket

And the exciting times continue for those Baudelaire children (after all these reviews I still can’t spell their name without checking). So book number eight is a bit milder than the others in terms of action, this focus more on the suspense side of discovering about VFD and what these mysteries and connections mean.

In The Hostile Hospital the children pick up from their last journey as they left the Vile Village. They hitch a ride with a group of highly cheerful, singing troupe that goes around cheering up sick patients in hospitals. It is all very sweet in theory but Snicket’s take on this is that they ignore what actually needs to be done and just hands over the cheery balloon. Of course the doctors should be doing that anyway so we don’t dislike these singers for abandoning the patients, it isn’t technically their job.

The children do not have a guardian in this book, they fend for themselves and try to hideout away from the ever searching police force, still convinced of their criminal nature. When left to their own devices Violet, Klaus and Sunny are very clever and they are logical and reasoned people, somehow the adults are the oblivious and daft bunch. Olaf makes his usual appearance and there is actually a bit of suspense created in this hospital. There is even a great cliffhanger that essentially insists you dive into the next book.

The final star is withheld for the (granted lessening) explanations of words. I only remember a dozen or so and they did not stick out nearly as much. Also your level of acceptance needs to be terribly high in this series to believe the things that happen, there are understandable things but occasionally, in this book especially, it is just ludicrous, but the characters actually make comment on this this time round, they themselves cannot believe some of the things. I think that helps you accept, if the characters are stunned by what happens then you can accept it better than if no one notices the unrealistic things.

After a slow first few books Snicket is definitely getting the ball rolling towards the final conclusion. By starting the suspense as early as he did (well, by early I mean book five) he ensures that the hints and clues can build over time rather than be rushed through. It is a wise tactic, and compensation I think for the tedious tendency of the beginning books.

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