Published: 13 October 2006
Publisher: Harper Collins
Genre: Junior Fiction
★ ★ – 2 Stars
You are presumably looking at the back of this book, or the end of The End. The end of The End is the best place to begin The End, because if you read The End from the beginning of the beginning of The End to the end of the end of The End, you will arrive at the end of the end of your rope.
This book is the last in A Series of Unfortunate Events, and even if you braved the previous twelve volumes, you probably can’t stand such unpleasantries as a fearsome storm, a suspicious beverage, a herd of wild sheep, an enormous bird cage, and a truly haunting secret about the Baudelaire parents.
It has been my solemn occupation to complete the history of the Baudelaire orphans, and at last I am finished. You likely have some other occupation, so if I were you I would drop this book at once, so The End does not finish you.
With all due respect,
Oh Mr Snicket, you’ve done a C.S Lewis on me. How could you! As I finish this final book dubbed “The End” I give you a two. This is a very generous two mind you. You had been building me up for so long, promised me excitement and intrigue, you were making up for the dull start and then…then as book twelve ended you added confusion. Then as Book 13 began you kept me confused, and you took me to a place that made no sense and seemed out of place after all we’d been through. Let’s just quote myself from two book reviews ago shall we? “The ending is certainly being set up to be very exciting and after the hints, clues, and build up Snicket has done, then it should not be a let down.” Oh how wrong I was.
You were grasping at things to tie up your loose ends and some worked, some didn’t. You gave a lot of credit to the readers to piece things together, you seemed to have ignored everything mentioned in the past books aside from names and recapping. Your tangents filled up oh so many unneeded pages, had you run out of story? Had the plot failed you? Why had so much more unnecessariness been added when this was supposed to be the book that made us sit in bed, in our chairs, at the table with a wiggle and a squirm as we saw the pieces come together magnificently and we all went ‘it’s all so clear!’ You hinted, you offered a small amount but nothing like what was expected.
There was a moment, as we refer again back to the dear Mr Lewis who crushed us after being faithful (oh the irony!) for so long, I felt you became a little religious more than once, not as bleeding obvious as Mr Lewis, but golly, there was symbolism and messages by the pageful. And if this was not intended, then what the heck was all that about. I liked these past 12 books, I put up with your failings and odd narrative and writing style and this is how you repay us? I hope there was some religious thing I missed completely otherwise this made no sense whatsoever and it failed magnificently as a conclusion to this great story you has been creating.
I won’t say I liked it and I did not hate it. You balance precariously between the two and if it wasn’t for a few minor things you’d be joining Mr Lewis in his final failings as well. The things you made us sit through these past 12 books as you brushed over them – the murder, the arson, the villainy – all in fun and seen light heartedly. I take nothing of your ‘Unfortunate Events’ philosophy this time and won’t accept it. You changed tones so much in this final book it became depressing, annoying and a little bit mean (we are of course just gonna ignore the amount of unbelievableness in there towards the end no matter how touching it was supposed to be. I’ve been pretty accepting with you before but this was something else).
Your characters were as peculiar as the previous books but when what we knew, what people we knew, what we had accepted and expected changed so much, and in such a strange and confusing way, and seemingly without reason, it just felt wrong. After what these kids have been through and seen and that’s how we’re supposed to believe it went down. I know you tried to imply they changed, but wow. Ambiguity does not work well as a final book Mr Snicket, it’s even worse that you tried to make it concluding. A VERY generous two.
Of course if you wish to continue reading more of Snicket’s books Jess from Bookish informed me that the elusive Snicket has a new book out called Who Could That Be At This Hour? I do remember hearing of this when it was coming out, it is now a New York bestseller it seems. Bookish have posted an excerpt of an interview with him on their site here. I have to say though that like Lewis, Snicket’s last book has made it very hard for me to want to read another of his books for awhile, but please feel free to expand from this series yourselves. I however will need a long time to find the desire to read his work again. I’m sorry Mr Snicket, you elusive strange man, but that is how I feel.