Series: A Series of Unfortunate Events #5
Published by HarperCollins on August 8th 2000
Genres: Young Adult, Family, Orphans & Foster Homes, Siblings, Humorous Stories
Buy on: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks
As the three Baudelaire orphans warily approach their new home Prufrock Preparatory School : they can′t help but notice the enormous stone arch bearing the school′s motto Memento Mori or "Remember you will die." This is not a cheerful greeting and certainly marks an inauspicious beginning to a very bleak story just as we have come to expect from Lemony Snickett′s Series of Unfortunate Events, the deliciously morbid set of books that began with The Bad Beginning and only got worse.
“As I’m sure you know, a good night’s sleep helps you perform well in school, and so if you are a student you should always get a good night’s sleep unless you have come to the good part of your book, and then you should stay up all night and let your schoolwork fall by the wayside, a phrase which here means ‘flunk.”
Ever since Netflix premiered A Series of Unfortunate Events, I’ve been interested in continuing with the books to find out what happens next. So I decided to pick up and read the book series right where the show ended. That’s with the fifth book, The Austere Academy. In this novel, The Baudelaire siblings find themselves enrolled at the dreary Prufrock Preparatory Academy boarding school. Aside from having to sleep in a shack, the siblings are forced to endure horrible teachers, the school bully, and for Sunny, child labor. There is one bright side in this tale, though, and that are the new friends they meet at the school. These friends have similar backgrounds to the Baudelaire children, and so the siblings finally start to feel like they have someone who understands their plight.
I really enjoyed this book. It wasn’t as scary as the other novels in terms of the children’s neglect and danger, but I still found the tale to be interesting. What I enjoyed the most was the introduction of the Quagmire triplets. These children were so similar to the Baudelaires, and have a history that seems to be connected. I can’t wait to discover more about them, and what they discovered about Count Olaf.
One aspect I didn’t like about the story was the characters of Carmelita Spats and Vice Principal Nero. Carmelita was an annoying character that seemed very unnecessary to the plot. She swanned in saying and doing mean things, but never really had as big as a role in the book as I expected from her introduction. As for Vice Principal Nero, he was an annoying bully who I found to be quite stupid. The entire book I kept asking, “Where is the Principal?” I couldn’t fathom how this tyrant was given carte blanche to run this school the way he did. Then again I’m an educator, so anything that takes place in a school gets scrutinized majorly.
While I enjoyed this novel, I didn’t like it as much as I expected to. However, I liked it enough to continue on with the series. I think part of my enjoyment wasn’t what I expected, for the same reason I find this to be true when I read other Middle Grade books. I’ve just aged out of the genre. As I plan to read the next two books in the series, I guess I’ll see if this theory is true or not.