The Austere Academy (A Series of Unfortunate Events #5)

The Austere Academy (A Series of Unfortunate Events #5)The Austere Academy by Lemony Snicket

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Mr. Poe is having difficulty finding guardians for the Baudelaire siblings. After all, each of their guardians have been killed or have fired them, and Count Olaf is still coming after them in an attempt to get their fortune. So, Mr. Poe enrolls them in a boarding school.

At first, Violet, Klaus and Sunny think that attending Prufrock Preparatory School might be the best thing ever. They’re ready to get back to school and they need some stability in their life. Then, they get to the school.

They find that the Vice-Principal is horrendous, their classes are drudgery and their living quarters are dilapidated and infested with pinchy crabs. They also soon find that a new Coach–Coach Genghis– has started to teach at the school, and he looks awfully familiar. Is he Count Olaf in disguise? Does he have an evil plot or is S.O.R.E. just a plan to torture the Baudelaire siblings since he can’t get their money?

This book is the most deliciously wicked book in the series so far. There are so many disappointments for the Baudelaires and so many touches of dry humor that this book is a fun read. I love the crazy rules Nero has and the way he wants adulation for his name. I love the twisted plot that Count Olaf has in this book. I didn’t figure out his full plot far ahead of the siblings, and in reading this aloud to the children, I realized that my eleven year old spotted Olaf’s henchmen far ahead off me in the book!

I also love the introduction of the Quagmire triplets (even though there are only two of the triplets in the book). It’s wonderful to see the Baudelaires have some allies and I enjoyed seeing the relationship play out and grow. Given the way that Olaf kidnaps the Quagmires at the end of the book, I’m looking and hoping to see that relationship develop further.

This is also the first book to mention the V.F.D., and the dark secrets about Olaf. This is also the first book where Lemony Snicket discusses Olaf in relation to his Beatrice. I’m desperate to find out more!

I’ve been enjoying reading these to the children, but this was the first almost perfect book in the series. The only thing that distracted me from the book was a major continuity issue. In book 4, Klaus is almost blind without his glasses and has to immediately see the eye doctor. In book 5, Klaus loans his glasses to Duncan Quagmire and manages to spend an entire night reading from the Quagmire notebooks without glasses. This was one irritation in what was an excellent book.

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