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The End: A Series of Unfortunate Events    by Lemony Snicket order for
by Lemony Snicket
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2006 (2006)
Hardcover, Audio, CD

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* *   Reviewed by Anise Hollingshead

The End is of course, the last book in Lemony Snicket's enormously popular Series of Unfortunate Events. Mr. Snicket has promised woe and disappointment to anyone reading this episode, and I'm sad to say, this time his promise was fulfilled. Not that the book isn't well-written, but it doesn't answer many questions, nor does it wrap up many loose ends. The tale continues where the 12th book left off, with the Baudelaire children and Count Olaf adrift in a boat in the middle of the ocean. They eventually come aground on a strip of land, and then meet up with the inhabitants of a nearby island. That's all I'll say about the people and island, as it will spoil the story to know more.

As in the last several books, the story moralizes on the issue of the supposed subjectivity of right and wrong. It also touches on people's natural human failings, and how it is impossible to escape the problems that we all face, no matter where we go or how we try to isolate ourselves. While these are important issues, the whole matter of situational ethics is, in my opinion, too broad and deep a subject for the age group mainly targeted by this series. Most who read these books will either ignore these questions because they won't understand them, or will be confused and believe that there is no such thing as right or wrong. And, this moralizing is just not entertaining reading. The first five or six books were much more fun than the later ones.

Other changes in the later books are the lack of engaging dear reader asides that peppered the first ones - telling readers about dire happenings that were ahead, and giving educational definitions of words in the story. These gradually became phased out over the series, and hardly make an appearance at all in this last book. So, read number thirteen because it does answer questions and finishes (supposedly) the tale of the Baudelaire children. But - as the author warned - expect some disappointment.

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