Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Who Could That Be at This Hour? by Lemony Snicket

The chance we've all been waiting for - the opportunity to learn about the elusive Lemony Snicket.  Snicket, who has had an unusual education, begins his first assignment with his chaperon.  Unfortunately, plans have changed causing Snicket to break his promise to a friend.  Now he and his chaperon are in the practically abandoned town of Stain'd-by-the-Sea trying to locate a statue, which may or may not be priceless, of the Bombinating Beast, which may or may not have been stolen from its owner.  Of course, there is much more going on than meets the eye.

Who Could That Be at This Hour didn't quite have the snap the A Series of Unfortunate Events books did.  It's very much written the same way.  Very tongue in cheek.  Use of sophisticated words which are then explained.  Adults aren't very smart and children are.  It didn't accomplish these things as well as in past books.  It felt a little forced and weighted down.

This is a beginning of a four-part "biography", so it was laying a lot of groundwork.  Many questions are left unanswered (of course), and knowing Lemony Snicket, it's entirely likely they will never be answered.  I think what made this difficult to get into is that we don't really know any of the characters.  Everyone is so shrouded in mystery, the reader doesn't really have any idea what's going on.  Sure, there's a mystery that's trying to be solved, but the mystery that's the focus of the book is clearly not "the right question."  So while this makes things mysterious and interesting, it also left me with a disconnected feeling.  I got into it more as it went along, I had a harder time at the beginning.

One thing I had a lot of fun with was the casual references that are made to books, I enjoy figuring out what ones they are.  For example, "I'm reminded of a book my father used to read me...A bunch of elves and things get into a huge war over a piece of jewelry that everybody wants but nobody can wear."  "I never liked that book...There's always a wizard who's very powerful but not very helpful."  Hehe.  The only one I wasn't familiar with is a book about a lawyer and a tap dancer.  Anyone know it?

Fans of Lemony Snicket's other books will be eager to get their hands on this one.

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