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Lemony Snicket´s series of books about unfortunate events - called, in fact, "A Series of Unfortunate Events" - provide just the kind of zest the author´s name suggests. He says, "If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book."
The books feature a trio of orphaned siblings. "The Bad Beginning" introduces Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire and their plight: orphaned and homeless, and as children they can´t control their own fates, a theme repeated in subsequent novels such as "The Reptile Room," "The Wide Window," "The Miserable Mill," and "The Austere Academy." Snicket extracts both humor and horror from their situation.
These fast-paced books are not for the squeamish: the Baudelaire children are truly sympathetic characters in distressing situations. However, anyone who enjoys Edward Gorey, Roald Dahl or Charles Dickens will find them lively fun.