Captain Tuttle’s #CBR5 Review #40 – The Grim Grotto by Lemony Snicket

Almost there. . . . Book 11 of 13 finds the Baudelaires in peril once again. Of course. They literally bump into a home-made submarine, driven by Captain Widdershins. I had to look that one up, because the term sounded familiar. I was right – it means to go counterclockwise, or against the sun. In olden times it was a bad thing to walk widdershins around a church or in other places. To do so could land one in faerie, or even worse. Foreshadowing, or just goofing around? Good question. The Captain is kind of a jerk, who says “aye” all too often and whose motto is “he (or she) who hesitates is lost.”

Also aboard is a guy the kids knew at the lumbermill they worked at in one of the earlier books. He’s the ship’s cook. The Captain’s stepdaughter Fiona is there too, and she and Klaus take a shine to one another. The sub (the Queequeg – named after the Moby Dick harpoon guy) is looking for a sugar bowl that is an object of much desire and pursuit, by the good and the bad guys. They end up following the currents to an underground cave, to Gorgonion Grotto – named after the Gorgons of Greek mythology. Why? Well, there are some mushrooms growing there that are very Medusa-like in appearance and deadliness.

The kids hit the grotto to try to find the sugar bowl, encounter the ‘shrooms, and bad things happen. As ever. This isn’t the series of fortunate events. Anyway, the usual baddies make their appearance, and some unknown family ties are revealed. The book is exactly the same as all the others, with slight variations on the peril. It’s still an entertaining read, but I need to take a break before I tackle the last two.

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Captain Tuttle’s #CBR5 Review # 35 – The Vile Village by Lemony Snicket

The seventh book in Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events starts with the Baudelaire kids being sent out into the wicked world again by the useless Mr. Poe. He’s a big believer in the “it takes a village to raise a child” concept, so off they go to the village of V.F.D. As you know, the kids received a clue from the Quagmire triplets (both of them) regarding V.F.D. and the death of everyone’s parents.

The village is filled with jerky, selfish idiots who follow a goofy rule book. Oh, and they also worship (sort of) the crows that blanket half of the village every day. The crows roost in the Nevermore tree at night. The tree is in the yard of the only slightly sane person, Hector the handyman. The kids are placed with him so they can do everyone’s chores. The Baudelaires find a clue that could only have come from the Quagmires, so they begin investigating, knowing that if the Quagmires are nearby they could only have been put there by the evil Count Olaf.

Of course Count Olaf is there in disguise, and makes life miserable for the Baudelaires. They end up in jail, falsely accused of the murder of Jacques Snicket (!). Of course Violet invents a way out, Klaus reads a bunch of books that help, and Sunny bites stuff. She also says odd things, and one of the fun bits of the books is trying to figure out where Sunny’s words come from.

Bad things happen, some good things happen, but at the end the Baudelaires end up alone and in trouble, and parentless. Again.