It's a comfortable size for my hands.I first thought was also that the spine was a little cluttered, and it certainly looks that way, sitting on the shelf next to my other ASoUE books. My copy has really weird glossy marks on it here and there, like it's been covered in gloss, but most of it is peeled away. It's really annoying.
Edit: Yes, I'm about half way through as well. Already I'm noticing a lot more than I did the first time around- after reading it once you appreciate some of the subtle hints, and I'm thinking a bit more about how the characters could be connected to one another.
I just finished again, and I noticed something else interesting. The illustrations on the cover are in dark blue. So are the digital versions of the interior illustrations in the Educator's Guide. And yet the interior illustrations in the book are a somewhat paler blue. Why is this? Well, I'll tell you for why, as the last illustration in the Egmont edition - unlike in the LB edition - has been mistakenly printed in dark blue: It's because it rubs off on the opposite page. Curious... (Also, the octopus endpapers are also a lighter blue in the Egmont edition.)
Also also also, there are only twenty-one lines per page, where there are twenty-two lines per page in ASoUE. The font must be slightly larger. Therefore, this book must actually be slightly shorter than a book of comparable length in ASoUE. Hmm.
Some brief thoughts: After all the vague allusions to events of his past throughout ASOUE, it's great to finally get the full scoop on at least one of them. All of the both literary references and those back to ASOUE are wonderful, and there seem to be a lot more this time around, possibly because the focus is now directly on the person writing the book. The obvious assumption for the "kidnapping" the next book revolves around would be Ellington's father, but it really could be anyone. As for the eventual murder, my suspicions lean heavily towards either Ellington or Moxie - either to show the consequences of consorting with wickedness, or to show how sinister the world is no matter how you try to act. Hector is definitely our Hector, and seems almost to be Lemony's senior in VFD, if not necessarily by rank. Whatever he's investigating seems perilous - and is another (at least possible) reference to the Great Unknown on top of the one we'd gotten in Chapter 4. It would appear that VFD has some kind of reputation at this point, whether good or bad, based on Lemony pondering revealing his tattoo. (Someone remind me who it was near the end of ASOUE that specifically mentioned not having gotten the tattoo - my memory is failing.) Will we see Beatrice? Have we seen Beatrice? It's certainly meant to be ambiguous up to the end who Lemony left waiting and subsequently corresponded with, but were all of the asides concerning Kit? How old is Theodora? I get the impression of still a young woman though definitely an adult - early to mid 20s? Hector refers to the fake parents as chaperones, but does that mean they were with VFD? Were they really as sinister as they seemed, or were they trying to protect Lemony from his own mistakes? I think some of these may be the wrong questions, but only time will tell.
The obvious assumption for the "kidnapping" the next book revolves around would be Ellington's father, but it really could be anyone.
Ellington's father is a good bet, I agree, and the plot of the next book could be all about solving that mystery, or finding that it's not quite the mystery we thought it was. I have a second guess, though. Ellington's not the only resourceful young lady in town with a father who wrote articles. What if Hangfire grabs Mr. Mallahan to coerce Moxie the same way he's (allegedly) controlling Ellington and (probably) controlling Sally Murphy?
As for the eventual murder, my suspicions lean heavily towards either Ellington or Moxie - either to show the consequences of consorting with wickedness, or to show how sinister the world is no matter how you try to act.
If theft is the first book, and the kidnapping is the second book, I think the murder will be the third book. The fourth book will be something we can't quite anticipate yet but which will ultimately see everything tied together. But as to who dies - my money's on Qwerty. Why? Well... come on, he's got to be V.F.D.'s observer, right? Handler made him awesome and now he's going to kill him to punish us for liking him.
It would appear that VFD has some kind of reputation at this point, whether good or bad, based on Lemony pondering revealing his tattoo. (Someone remind me who it was near the end of ASOUE that specifically mentioned not having gotten the tattoo - my memory is failing.)
Not entirely sure what ASoUE reference you're referring to, I'm afraid, but it's not necessarily because of V.F.D.'s reputation that Sally Murphy was afraid of Snicket alluding to his organisation. What if Hangfire specifically warned her off trying to get help from the organisation he was trying to con? Worse, what if he's in V.F.D.? He has access to a lot of information and is a master of all three phases of the disguise kit...
Will we see Beatrice? Have we seen Beatrice? It's certainly meant to be ambiguous up to the end who Lemony left waiting and subsequently corresponded with, but were all of the asides concerning Kit?
Judging from my second reading, I'd say all of the references were to Kit, which is certainly... mysterious. To an ASoUE reader, surely nobody would ever have doubted the mystery girl to be Beatrice, and even somebody coming to ATWQ as a blank slate would might suspect a romantic connection. I think there's definite misdirection here. I just don't understand why - or indeed why Beatrice isn't involved.
Hector refers to the fake parents as chaperones, but does that mean they were with VFD? Were they really as sinister as they seemed, or were they trying to protect Lemony from his own mistakes?
They must have been with V.F.D., but as to what they were doing - a bit of both of your theories, perhaps? We have to bear in mind that Lemony and Kit's mission seems to be something quite separate from their work with V.F.D.; what if it's something that the organisation itself is opposed to, and that's why they're having to go under the radar? And any inkling of it is getting shut down by the superiors - officially or unofficially?
My money's on Prosper Lost as the VFD observer. As for the murder...it's hard to say. It could well be a character in this book- but then again it may be a character from future volumes. And yes, it was definitely ASoUE's Hector- the balloon references were quite enough.
We also know a fair bit more about VFD, and how they opperate- the lessons, how they educate people and their philosophies. In ASoUE we really only ever saw it from an outsider's perspective, as the Baudelaires learned more about it. To reread ASoUE with the knowledge will hopefully bring a few new things to light, or at least give it a little more depth.
Post by Christmas Chief on Oct 23, 2012 19:26:51 GMT -5
I have just now finished. There's so much to say. I'm definitely interested in the many literary allusions - some of which I got, but most of which I didn't - so I'm looking forward to people's thoughts on those. I'm a little worried I didn't catch onto a lot of the humor, though; reviews seemed to indicate laughter would catch you unaware every five pages, but I only found myself smiling occasionally. I think I'll wait sometime before rereading it, but there's much I'd like to discuss before then. For instance, how is it Hector seemed unaware of Beatrice and Lemony's relationship? TBL would seem to indicate they'd been together for some time, but Hector's advice to not "get interested in that Ellington person" doesn't appear to acknowledge the status.
I have to say Seth's illustrations look better digitally. Something about the paler blue doesn't fit, and the texture feels wrong. It's as though the paper medium isn't suited for his type of work, save for the cover, which is a different type of paper. Anyway. Probably I'll get used to it. Oh, but the full page illustrations are rather ... inconsistent. I can't detect a pattern. Particularly since one of them takes two pages, front and back.
I don't think there's a pattern to the full-page illustrations; Seth just does them whenever he wants. Note that there are enough that there could've been one every odd-numbered chapter, as in the penny dreadful paperbacks of ASoUE, and I wouldn't be surprised if he was hired for that many for that reason but decided to be a bit more selective.
Beatrice is strangely absent. Snicket's been interested in her since childhood, but perhaps we should take it that they have not gotten together, exactly, as anything more than friends at this point. I still think there's a lot of misdirection on the Kit front, though, and that confuses me. Oh, and the play Sally Murphy was in in which she played Leslie Crosbie is real; it's William Somerset Maugham's The Letter.
As for the literary references, we should really start a thread for that at some point. Some are obvious, but I don't understand most of them - although apparently the one about a good writer and a true friend on a bloodthirsty farm is Charlotte's Web, according to a review I'll be posting shortly.
As for the observer, I don't think it's Prosper; while he's in a good position to observe our heroes, he's also not very good at eavesdropping and either misjudged the situation when Hangfire came around or interfered in an almost malicious way. Qwerty, on the other hand, is cagey about how long he's been in town; when prompted for local legends refers to a celebrity rather than a myth everyone knows, which sounds like something he might have read in a book about the town rather than something he'd have known from living there for long; has an apparently roughshod appearance that Lemony suspects he worked very hard on; and seems to be quietly encouraging and facilitating Snicket's exchange of messages with the city. Also, he's a librarian. An observer could bet that any volunteer would drop by the library sooner or later, although if they didn't then that would be a mark against them.
Look closer at the chapter illustration for Chapter Seven. Handler must have told the promotions team a great deal about future developments in the series, as, knowing about Ink Inc. from the paratexts as we do, we can easily see many areas where it'll come in.
Well! What to say? I think I'll do a chapter-by-chapter thing when I reread it, but here are just some random thoughts.
So, I was right to guess the associate was Kit! But clearly he was laying red herrings throughout the book - referring not only to bats but to root beer floats - to make us think it was Beatrice. The curious thing is that new readers would make nothing of these references - they were red herrings purely for he benefit of ASOUE fans, and indeed for those who have read TBL. As for why B isn't mentioned, I think I'd agree that their relationship hasn't begun yet; they met when L was eleven, but we don't know how it progressed after that. (Do volunteers return to school after their apprenticeship? Much remains puzzling.)
So the butler did do it - for some value of 'it', anyway. Actually this was not too hard to guess, as L actually says he should have taken more notice of the butler.
Hector seems to be almost a year younger than Lemony, and yet also to be on an apprenticeship - if we were right in guessing that graduation depends on recruitment, he must have been recruited even younger than L.
Certainly H's appearance here puts his part in TVV in a new, and more sinister, light. He must have known what 'VFD' really meant; it's probable that he also knew Jacques. I suppose he was too skittish to speak up. It probably wouldn't have done any good anyway.
The Great Unknown - yes, it does sound as if H's project is concerned with it, though that may be another red herring, I suppose. But we are also told that sailors saw the Bombinating Beast curled up like a question-mark, which suggests that the original BB, the thing which inspired the legend, was the Great Unknown.
Ellington refers to Theodora as 'the woman with the hair' - and I had already wondered about the significance of her hair. Presumably she has no beard. She doesn't come over as particularly sinister, just incompetent, but she would have had many years to develop her sinisterness.
I agree that Qwerty is probably the observer. (Are there really fifty-two observers as well as fifty-two chaperones? Or can they get by with fewer observers because not every chaperone is on assignment at once?)
Literary references - yes, I guessed that was Charlotte's Web. There's also a fairly clear Lord of the Rings reference. Others are traceable by Google, including Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes, and Danny, the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl (which was published in 1975, totally confounding any attempt to date the works). Others I have yet to find.
Do you think Pip and Squeak would make good volunteers (unlike Ellington)?
And Dante, thanks for tracing Black, Brown and Beige - though that of course was not the book that really answered Ellington's questions.
I got the book yesterday, and here are some thoughts:
Pip and Squeak's real names are an allusion to this. The article says some interesting things about the book's themes:
Bouvard and Pécuchet systematically confuse signs and symbols with reality... The worldview that emerges from the work, one of human beings proceeding relentlessly forward without comprehending the results of their actions or the processes of the world around them, does not seem an optimistic one.
The first of those points is relevant to the map-territory relation; the second does seem applicable to children driving a taxi, apparently unaware of the conspiracies going on around them.
The folded paper on the underside of the Beast: what is it? And could it have become detached from the statue somewhere? I don't think it was mentioned after Snicket initially examines the statue.
Everyone seems to have different ideas about what the bell means (pressure, salt lung, even the Bombinating Beast itself) but all take it as a signal to put the masks on. This seems to be another appearance of the "map is not the territory" theme. It also implies that someone (Hangfire? Ink Inc?) is spreading misinformation and possibly ringing the bell as a false alarm. Also, I suspect that the "Octopus Council" mentioned by Moxie is a front group for Ink Inc.
So the Sallis mansion has a basement well which can unleash fairly large amounts of water. Might it be used to re-flood the entire town someday?
Speaking of which, I think we know where the water went, if Killdeer Fields was flooded.
I liked the line about how Snicket wanted to take off his socks not just because they were soggy, right before he mentions belonging to an organization... only ASoUE readers can see the relevance between these statements!
Last Edit: Oct 24, 2012 10:42:21 GMT -5 by Antenora