Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Vile Village (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 7) by Lemony Snicket

Here we are again reliving the lives of the Baudelaires in yet another unfortunate circumstance, or rather a series of them. First of all the orphans have a new guardian. Actually, this time they have several of them. In this book we learn of the aphorism "It takes a village to raise a child." (I think Hilary would be proud.) So the orphans get to choose from several villages that have taken up the government's plea for villages to raise orphans. As the Baudelaires browse through the brochure to pick their village they find one with the name of "V.F.D." In past books it was learned that V.F.D. were the initials that stood for some secret about the death of the Baudelaires' parents and Count Olaf. Thinking this may lead to the answer to that clue the orphans pick V.F.D. as their new home.

The village, as it turns out, isn't so much interested in "raising" the children but having them do the village's chores. Also none of the villagers want to feed or house the orphans. So the town's handyman, Hector takes them in. VFD has many crows that roost at night in Nevermore Tree. The village also has many rules that are almost impossible to keep from breaking. Such as rule #67, which clearly states that, " no citizen is allowed to build or use any mechanical devices." or Rule #108 clearly states that "the V.F.D. library cannot contain any books that break any of the other rules. If someone in a book uses a mechanical device, for instance, that book is not allowed in the library." So even the rulebooks are not allowed in the library because they describe someone using tools. Hector, who was in charge of ridding the town of mechanical devices and tools has a great inventing studio and library now secretly kept in his barn. This helps the children to find some answers and to help the Quagmire triplets escape. Yes you heard right, the Quagmires escape...sorry about the spoiler.

One of the things I have found in this series of books is that you can judge the content and outcomes by the key phrases that are repeated throughout each book. In this volume the following phrase are used: "a bolt from the blue," "Entertaining a notion," and "Deus ex machina." So judging from those phrases you can see that the orphans have a very entertaining time. My favorite are the many Deus ex Machinas that appear.

By the way we are also introduced to another mysterious character, Jacques Snicket,(yes the author's brother). But he is murdered before he can reveal the secret of the orphan's parents. But he does have a tattoo of an eye on his ankle just like Count Olaf. Speaking of Count Olaf, his disguse as Detective Dupin is simply hilarious, especially the description of the clothes he wears. He's "Cool."

Once again, I highly recommend this book for all readers age 9 and up (yes even the adults will get a kick out of them. The books are all part of many education systems Accelerated Reader programs, so here's a fun way to get those kids reading.

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