The Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket: A

From the back cover:
Dear Reader,

If you have picked up this book with the hope of finding a simple and cheery tale, I’m afraid you have picked up the wrong book altogether. The story may seem cheery at first, when the Baudelaire children spend time in the company of some interesting reptiles and a giddy uncle, but don’t be fooled. If you know anything at all about the unlucky Baudelaire children, you already know that even pleasant events lead down the same road to misery.

In fact, within the pages you now hold in your hands, the three siblings endure a car accident, a terrible odor, a deadly serpent, a long knife, a large brass reading lamp, and the reappearance of a person they’d hoped never to see again.

I am bound to record these tragic events, but you are free to put this book back on the shelf and seek something lighter.

With all due respect,
Lemony Snicket

I found this to be a big improvement over the first book. I didn’t get my wish for a villain with more depth, but he did come across as more menacing this time, at least. This book was also more amusing, eliciting grins, a giggle, and a few snerks. My favorite snerkworthy moment was when Sunny’s cry of “Ackroid!” was translated as meaning “Roger!”

So, more menace, more humor, and also.. more sorrow. The ending here is truly sad, and all the kids are very endearing in their response, but I’m developing a soft spot for emotional Klaus. Of course, I appreciate Violet’s level-headed resourcefulness, and I have to praise writing that can make a super-chomping infant character not incredibly annoying, but Klaus is the one who really needs a hug.

Really, the only negative is that I seriously want to throttle Mr. Poe a large amount of the time. Which I guess is the point.

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