17 February, 2014

Book Review: The Hostile Hospital

From Goodreads: As you might expect, nothing but woe befalls the unlucky Baudelaire orphans in the eighth grim tale in Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events that began with The Bad Beginning. Ever since the orphans' photographs were plastered across the front page of The Daily Punctilio in an article falsely accusing them of murder, they have been on the run. Only when they disguise themselves as cheerful hospital volunteers (Volunteers Fighting Disease, to be exact), do they see a possible refuge. Of course, this backfires hideously. Where is their ineffectual guardian, Mr. Poe, when they need him most? Will the evil, greedy Count Olaf be successful in giving poor Violet a cranioectomy at the Heimlich Hospital? Is a heart-shaped balloon really better than water for a thirsty patient? Is no news really good news? As ever, Snicket refuses to comfort young readers with cozy answers and satisfying escapes. And, as ever, there are plenty of rusty blades and horrible plot twists to make us shudder and shameless-but-hilarious wordplay to make us grimace happily. Bring on the next one! 

Thoughts: Tim Curry (as in Frankenfurter from the Rocky Horror Picture Show) narrates this audio book version - and brilliantly!

Yep, that's your narrator!    
I've been listening to this series in the car with my kids and another couple of boys who car pool with us. while not only being a highly entertaining story, it has the added bonus of keeping the kids quiet!
The premise of the series is the Baudelaires - Violet, Klaus and Sunny - have been left orphaned after a house fire killed their parents. In the first book they are placed in the care of their uncle, Count Olaf who the proceeds to try and get his hands on their sizeable fortune. They escape and subsequent books continue to chronicle their unfortunate events as Olaf continues to try and capture them.
One of the best thinks about this series is how well it is written. The situations the orphans find themselves in are so ridiculous you can quite happily suspend all disbelief and just enjoy the ride. However, along the way many themes are explored and discussed. In this, the eighth book in the series, the children suddenly realise the thin line between victim and villain and question which side they are on. Is doing something bad (like lying to someone you don't want to lie to) justifiable if it ultimately leads to a good outcome - even if it's only good for you?
A Series of Unfortunate Events is a funny, intelligent and exciting series, perfect for 8-12 year olds.