Review: The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Event #1)

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Mimi Jazman
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Review: The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Event #1)

Post by Mimi Jazman » 20 Nov 2015, 19:53

My Ratings: 3 out of 5

So yeah, I finished another audio book and I'm feeling so happy about it. Finally, I've picked up on my reading pace. Thank God!

Before I jump right into the review, let me introduce you first to A Series of Unfortunate Events. To be honest, I didn't know anything at all about this series until Catriona from Little Book Owl talked about the series on her video. She did mention that it is a kids series, but she loves it and that's why she reads them. So, due to the encouragement in her videos, I downloaded the whole series in audiobook form.

A Series of Unfortunate Events consists of 13 books, which is a lot and I don't promise myself to finish the whole series, It's such a big commitment, I don't think I can do it. The book is written by Daniel Handler under the name of 'Lemony Snicket'. At the end of the first audiobook, an interview is also included between an interviewer with Daniel Handler. In some ways, it creeps the hell out of me. The interview is just so suspicious if you ask me. I don't even know why they include it in the audiobook. It is super scary!

Well.. The story follows the lives of the Baudelaire siblings, Violet, Klaus and Sunny after the death of their parents. These kids have been indulged with wealth and access to knowledge and now that their parents and home are gone, they are given away to Count Olaf who claimed to be their long lost relative. Count Olaf is such a horrible character that he made it to my "Characters-To-Be-Drowned List". In the list also, are Bellatrix Lestrange and Dolores Umbridge from Harry Potter. That's how bad Count Olaf is. Scary also.

I'm pretty sure this one will not get into my favourite list yet since it's the first book that I tried. The series will surely get better since that's what I heard from some very reliable sources *hehe*. But I can tell you that it consists of a lot of new knowledge that you might want to use in real life. The book mentioned how to tie stuffs and some government rules of different countries which is very good considering that the series is meant for kids. Although I believe it is a bit too dark for kids. It's very dark that I'm worried it might depress some of the kids out there. It's not healthy to be adapting to depression in early ages, you know?

Since it's a 13 book series and I've just listened to the first book, I can't say that the conflict was well-resolved. It was resolved, but it won't stop there. Like Lemony Snicket said, "If you are hoping to read a happy ending book, this book in your hand is not it." I can see that this whole series will get worst and worst in terms of the conflicts, so if you like this kind of stories, you definitely should give this book a try. It will get darker and darker. Or at least, that's what Lemony Snicket warned us about.

The book has very beautiful yet simple quotes everywhere. The story was told in a very melancholic tone that sometimes, even the simplest sentence can hit you straight to the heart. It was surprising that Daniel Handler can combine the element of simplicity and precision in a book, at the same time. This book is super easy to read but, it didn't have any shortage of details. You can basically imagine everything precisely.

The characters, however, seems a bit odd to me. Not that I don't like them. I like them all, but they're odd at some points. I still can't imagine Sunny, a small kid with a habit of biting everything. It just odd. The most un-awkward character would be Count Olaf himself because he is bad, evil and everything mix very well with him. Even Violet and Klaus sounded weird sometimes to me. Like, how sometimes they can be 'dull' than they're supposed to. I don't know whether this is because of the voice that narrates the book or really, Klaus and Violet are meant to be that way.

I listen to this book while I'm doing chores and my reactions can't be helped anymore. Every time something bad happened to the siblings, I can't help but to sigh for them. It is super horrible that I keep on sighing and grunting. It was really unfair for the kids. Although the characters are a bit awkward here and there, I believe I still have the attachment to them. I still feel sorry and concern about these kids, although I am not sure if I gonna like them in real life.

At some points, I do think that the book is relatable to a lot of people. Not because everyone has lost their parents but just merely because it tells pieces of our childhood memories. The Baudelaire kids love reading books and they are so excited every time they can get themselves to a library. They also had a hard time doing house chores and stuffs. The story itself, the way it is told will directly caused you to remember all the boooks we used to read back in our childhood.

Before I forget, this book also emphasizes on gender roles and responsibilities and it also helps in encouraging young kids to read. Violet, the first daughter in the family is feminine and all, yet she has an interest in inventions, which struck me as an oddity because in those years, women are usually not used to be associated with engineering. Klaus, the son of the family on the other hand, has an interest towards studying details like biology and law. This 'thing' actually intrigues me and I just assumed that Handler was trying his best to eliminate the stereotype we had for boys and girls.

This kind of approach will eventually creep into the society and teach the kids to not mind their gender in order to pursue their dreams. To me, personally, this is such a GREAT thing! Being told that girls couldn't be engineers just because they are 'girls' are just so lame, it stressed me out sometimes. This book tells the kids to not be as what society expects you to be. Be odd and awkward, but never ever be other than yourself.

Highly recommended to parents who wants their kids to be smart because obviously, this whole series talk about kids' critical thinking. But yeah, normal young adults are also invited to read this series. It's going to remind you a lot of your early days indulging yourself with story books and playing with your siblings, which is GREAT!

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Post by zaynab_m » 20 Nov 2015, 20:50

Nice review. Personally, I liked the book (and movie) immensely, and I would recomend it to nearly everyone. All the points you mentioned above are completely valid; though I still don't understand the cause for deducting 2 stars. I thought the book was great.
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Post by DarkestbeforeDawn » 29 Dec 2015, 03:45

I agree with your comments about the characters. As a child, I did not have issue with anyone, not Violet, Sunni, or Klaus. But our protagonists seem so cut-and-dry now. I realize that their only personality was their one discerning feature: Violet as the ingenious inventor, Sunni as the vice-jaw infant, and Klaus as the studious fact generator. But beyond that, there is nothing really to distinguish them. They all react in a rather offhandish way to the series of unfortunate events happening to them. They don't express any frustration, confusion, anger, or any flare of emotion an engrossed reader would. They take it like a slap of water. Perhaps they have evolved further in the series, but with such uninteresting and unpassionate protagonists, I can hardly hold an interest in what shenanigans they get in.
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Post by Storygamer88 » 29 Jun 2017, 12:00

I personally find this series a bit overrated, and I dont like the narrator. Its definitely a unique writing approach, as few children's books do this, with the author addressing the reader and speaking as a another semi-omniscient character.

I did enjoy the characters somewhat, and I liked the earlier books more than the later books though. I think inventing things is cool and fast reading is also a fun ability to give the children for talents.
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Post by Londera » 04 Aug 2017, 16:36

I love this series. Lemony Snicket is hilarious and he manages to create a beautiful and sad story with humor and wit weaved in. I love how the books are written and every book is another adventure. Also, watch the Netflix adaptation of the books. It really captures the essence of the series. I have never read a series made for children that was so blunt, depressing and funny as this one.

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Post by MsTri » 23 Sep 2017, 18:19

I haven't read any of the books - yet! - but I very much enjoyed the movie and am enjoying the TV series, which I just recently started, even more, so it's definitely on my Bucket List.

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Post by amsula_2018 » 16 Jun 2018, 20:50

I enjoyed these books when I was younger and I will recommend it to be read to children because it would open their eyes in the reality of life. Life is not a fairy tale and there is always a hardship in everyone's life.

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Post by Sparks90 » 05 Jul 2018, 03:30

I have watched the tv series and am starting the books and I love Lemony's unique narration. It's so different to any other narrator.

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Post by Ksharmilla » 14 Jul 2018, 20:03

This series was just depressing...
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Post by KatSims92 » 22 Jul 2018, 17:39

I agree that the series was really depressing. That said, these were some of the only books I enjoyed as a kid. I felt really attached to the characters and was concerned for their welfare.

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