Friday, July 31, 2009

The Penultimate Peril

The Penultimate Peril
© 2005 Lemony Snicket
353 pages

As its name suggests, we are nearing The End. Following clues left for them by VFD members, the children arrive back where the series began -- at Briny Beach, where Sunny echoes her past self and says "Look at that mysterious figure coming out of the fog!". They soon arrive at the Hotel Denouement, where they meet many of their old "guardians" as well as many VFD comrades. Rather than allowing the children to rest in light of their many perilous adventures -- escaping multiple fires, a hurricane, idiot guardians, a lynch mob, being thrown down an elevator shaft, and falling down a mountain among many others, their VFD contact asks them to infiltrate the hotel and spy on various persons to find some answers and resolve the plot. This does not go too well, and the arrival of Count Olaf makes matters worse, leading to a trial where everyone by the judges are blind-folded (as "Justice is blind") after a harpoon accident. The children engage in even more morally questionable acts, and by book's end, the only person who isn't questioning their moral integrity is Count Olaf -- as he writes them off as being just like him. Very little is resolved aside from some questions about VFD, but then everything goes up in flames -- as it were.

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