I only have one more book to go and yet I really see no end in sight. It seems Book 12 has left off just as all the others. Okay maybe with a slight difference. First let's summarize what happens in this book.
The Baudelaires have landed the submarine, "Queequeg" and hopped into a taxi. We learn that the taxi is driven by a volunteer named Kit Snicket...hmmm author's sister? Kit begins by telling the orphans that they have been watched throughout all their misadventures. At first the Baudelaires were left with guardians that either turned out to be villains or the guardians were killed. Then the orphans took matters into their own hands and were on their own through the other unfortunate events. Now they arrive with Kit at the Hotel Deneumont, where they are trying to find out if they, themselves are Volunteers or Villains. Looking back on their "careers" as orphans, they have helped to set fire to a carnival, lied to a record keeper in a hospital, worn disguises and tried to set a trap to catch someone as bait to lure Count Olaf to them. So with all these misdeeds have they become Villians? That answer, sad to say, is not revealed. However, a trial will be held at the hotel to determine whether they or Count Olaf are the villains...but, like I said, it is not revealed.
The interesting thing about the Hotel Deneumont is that it is set up like a library, using the Dewey Decimal System. The arts are on the 7th floor in the 700 section, Geography & History are on the 9th floor in the 900 section and so on. Another interesting thing about this hotel is that all it's rooms are filled with all the characters from the previous books, both Villains and Volunteers.
In this hotel the Baudelaires pose as concierges in order to do double duty as flaneurs. As flaneurs they are to discover the secret of V.F.D. and whether it is safe for the Volunteers to come back to the last known safehouse.
This book didn't seem to possess as much quick wit and elaborate story telling as in previous books. I felt as though this book were simply a summary of all the previous books. It didn't seem to hold my attention as much but there were many twists in the plot to keep me wanting to know what happened next. The unexpected end where the Baudelaires escape with....wait...I'll let you read that yourself. Or at least let your kids read it and let you know.