The To-Read Pile

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A Week of Reviews – Wednesday: “Who Could That Be at This Hour?” by Lemony Snicket

A Week of Reviews – Wednesday

The major (and I mean major) perk of my job is getting free books. Not all the time – I do actually buy some of them – but sometimes if I let a publisher know that I’m interested and promise to talk about it on social media and review it on my blog and talk to customers about it, they’ll send me a book for free. That’s what happened with “Who Could That Be at This Hour?” by Lemony Snicket. I’m really grateful to Egmont for my reading copy, which is actually a proper copy of the book and not a proof.

"Who Could That Be at This Hour?" by Lemony Snicket

“Who Could That Be at This Hour?” by Lemony Snicket

I’ve had a mixed history with books by Lemony Snicket (and Daniel Handler, the writer he is when he’s not being Lemony Snicket) so I wasn’t sure whether I’d enjoy this one. It’s the start of a new series called ‘All The Wrong Questions’ and deals with a much younger Lemony Snicket, during his apprenticeship to become what he ultimately becomes, well before the events of ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’.

There were a lot of things about this book to enjoy.

The presentation was great. It’s a little hardback, just like my editions of Unfortunate Events and will sit nicely with them on the shelf, but is also distinctively unlike them too – brighter colours and a different art style make it clearly look like something different. I really liked the illustrations, too. They were somehow very in keeping with this particular story. It also had enjoyable endpapers with octopuses. Octopodes? Octopi? Or possibly squid.

The story itself was also good, with a mystery – or really several – to be untangled. There were red herrings and strange happenings and, in keeping with a Lemony Snicket tale, amusingly named characters with questionable motives. I definitely enjoyed trying to untangle what was happening.

It was also clever stylistically, especially for readers of the Unfortunate Events series. Some of Lemony Snicket’s writing “quirks” can be seen developing in this story. His mentor, for example, uses the phrase “a word which here means” – much to the irritation of younger Snicket, who already knows.

There was a lot to enjoy and a lot that I did enjoy. I’d like to tell you about it but that would definitely spoil the book for you.

There were a few things that I enjoyed slightly less – it didn’t go into as much depth in some places as I would have liked and the ending left me frustrated with the sense that, as with the first book of most series’, this was merely the set-up for some much larger plot. All that really means, though, is that I will definitely be picking up book two.

3.5/5

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This entry was posted on March 6, 2013 by in Reviews and tagged , , , , .
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