It’s funny I found Ali Sparkes when searching for Lemony Snicket books, and I’m so glad I did. Ali Sparkes is an extraordinary (if lesser known) author, who is responsible for bringing the greatest series I have ever read in my life (not an exaggeration), The Shapeshifter, into existence, and for the spin-off series Unleashed, and many interlinked one off stories. In August 2018 I was lucky enough to meet her in person, and it was a pleasure. This March (which I think is perfect timing, since The Umbrella Academy just came out) I’m going to review every one of her books I have read (and it’s a lot, so it’ll go into April), so don’t be surprised if Ginger Jumble is taken over by a sea of positivity. Enjoy!
The End by Lemony Snicket
Though not entirely satisfying, this book is a very clever way to end the series. I love how Snicket repeatedly reinforces the fact that none of these stories can truly be finished, which just leaves us wanting more than what we started with. I was really surprised that Count Olaf took a backseat in this book, which slightly downplayed his death for me. It is so unfair that he got to die happy after getting to kiss Kit Snicket, after all he has done to everyone. It is very frustrating that we didn’t get to see the the Quagmires again, making it feel like we were cheated out of a plotline as they only act as a mcguffin. The final section of chapter thirteen is such a perfectly peaceful way to end, and really I would much prefer to think the Baudelaires grew up with Beatrice on the island. It is interesting that the whole series avoids saying Lemony’s name until the end of this book. I have come to realise that the entire series didn’t answer any questions, which is the entire point. Snicket didn’t want me to start it, so I cannot complain now that I’ve finished it.
Rating – 4/5
The Penultimate Peril by Lemony Snicket
This book is too good for this world. Since book ten, not many secrets have been revealed, which is why I’m so grateful for their brunch with Kit. At first I thought Snicket was a kind of hero for documenting the Baudelaire case, but in this book I realised how much Jacques and Kit Snicket cared for the Baudelaires. Now, in their brunch it is very frustrating that the children don’t ask the questions that they have been trying to find the answer to since book ten! There are a lot of things in this series that are built up so much (J.S in this case) and end up as an anti-climax. Klaus is particularly intelligent in this book, but I really think Sunny’s choice at the end was unnecessary. It shows that she is really being morphed by her experience over these books, and not for the better, The number of deaths that are possibly on her hands are unproportional for a two-year-old. Still absolutely brilliant and action-packed, and suspense-inducing. I could hardly put it down.
Rating – 5/5
The Grim Grotto by Lemony Snicket
Who knew a whole book could be underwater yet still be interesting? The first thing I love is the development all the characters go through. Sunny is now really smart and her cooking skills are unnaturally good for someone who only started cooking a week ago, though her skills are very useful. Also, her vocabulary is improving quickly. Oddly, even Lemony shows character development, as it seems he is moving on from Beatrice, and he only mentions her once, not even by name at that. Another one is violet, who has finally acknowledged Mr Poe’s uselessness and musters the courage to ignore him. Fiona and Widdershins were also very unique characters, with Fiona reminding me of Ellington Feint from Snicket’s All The Wrong Questions. One thing was that the reveal about the hook-handed man was very tacked on and clear that it was only planned this book. Snicket’s plan to stop us from reading on using the water cycle as comical yet repetitive, and actually worked on me. I completely missed Violet’s birthday in this book and was very much confused by the constant references to it. This book was funny and action-packed from the very beginning.
Rating – 5/5
The Slippery Slope by Lemony Snicket
I think this is my favourite so far. It was very wise of Snicket to take Mr Poe out of the equation to have the Baudelaires be independent, and it has worked wonders. But in this book it feels like Quigley takes the position of being their guardian since he knows so much about everything! I think how Snicket gives them their privacy by not telling us what goes on on the mountain just pulls at our curiosity strings more. Now when the white-faced women stormed off it was very odd as to why Olaf didn’t kill them right there, but perhaps it was to spare us the grief since they were so nice to Sunny the whole book. In the book it feels the Baudelaires have been building up to something horrible and it was so close in this book I’m glad violet came to her senses. When Quigley’s intentions were clear about what he wanted to do it was reminiscent to the Catching Fire scene where Gale wanted to wipe out the D2 mountain. The secret letter to Kit had me burst out laughing because I was actually tempted to skip the chapter as it suggested. I’m clearly weak hearted. It’s satisfying to learn all the answers, but still. What is the Sugar Bowl? Who really is Beatrice? And who is J.S.?
Rating – 5/5
The Carnivorous Carnival by Lemony Snicket
The Carnivorous Carnival starts off in maybe the coolest way of any of the Series of Unfortunate Events books (maybe only second to the Penultimate Peril), with our main siblings bundled up in the trunk of Olaf’s car, and Olaf’s crew without a clue. In the Carnival they end up in, this book introduces maybe some of my favourite characters, the hunchback, an ambidextrous dude, and a contortionist (someone who can stretch their body all over). I found it hilarious each time they were referred to as freaks since they so clearly aren’t. Especially the ambidextrous dude, who is probably the most dramatic of them all. The scene that has stuck out to me the most is definitely two of the characters being ripped to shreds by vicious lions, and one of them being Madan Lulu, who is goodbye the end of the book! Snicket doesn’t censor, and this book doesn’t disappoint.
Rating – 4/5
In the latest hour-long special of Steven Universe called Change Your Mind (email me if you want some links to watch it), we were treated with new outfits for EVERY SINGLE CRYSTAL GEM! So I took it upon myself to rank them. Enjoy!
Though technically it isn’t Bismuth’s new outfit, her war armour is pretty cool. It’s reflective nature works well against the pink auror of homeworld to the green background of the Diamond’s attack, and she’s given plenty of colour with her rainbow hair.
The Crewniverse has definitely been the most fruitful with character designs with Amethyst, but many of them have just been colour swaps. This design gives Amethyst some rad ripped jeans and a triangle hole showing her gem proudly, and it does feel perfect for amethyst.
Pearls old look was really classy, and suited her very well. In ‘Last One out of Beach City’ we got a look at how awesome a cooler Pearl was, and I’m so glad that Pearl’s new outfit is one of pure showoffiness and style. Nice one Pearl.
3. Lapis Lazuli
Ok, so maybe gem pain works different than human pain, but like, imagine how much it must have hurt to not wear shoes for 6 years! Which is why more than anyone else Lapis deserves her subtle golden sandals and matching bow on her cool ninja pants. And of all the designs I think this one is the most clever incorporating the classic crystal gem Star, with the two bottom points being made up of her trouser legs. I love it!
2. The Great and Lovable Peridot
Its been 3 years since Peridot mutilated Yellow Diamond with her killer cusses, and we’ve been waiting for her to get her stars ever since. Now we have it. The symbol of her slavery has been wiped from her chest and in its place is a glimmering message of the place she calls home. Her nasty old white visor is gone, replaced by huge golden sunglasses that poke from the sides of her face, exposing her gem that we all know she is so proud of. And flying on a trash can lid. It may not be classy, but it sure feels like something straight out of Spider-Man! We love you peridot! Keep being Great and Loveable!
1. The Garnet
The Garnet is the perfect example of a gem who’s design just keeps getting better and better. Similar to Peridot, her visor now pokes out like the fiery star she is, and her entire colour palette now radiates with power and energy. You can say you don’t like Ruby’s design. That’s fine. You can say you don’t like Sapphire’s design. That’s totally fine too. But if you don’t adore Garnet’s new design, meet me at the park round the corner at 2pm GMT next Tuesday, because we have some business to settle.
– Ginger Jumble