Friday, March 22, 2013

What I've Listened to Recently

What I've Listened to Recently . . .

Who Could That Be At This Hour? (All the Wrong Questions) by Lemony Snicket, Read by Liam Aiken -- Middle Grades Fiction

This story is a prequel to The Series of Unfortunate Events. It explains in more detail who Lemony Snicket is and how he came to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. It fills in more details than the Unauthorized Autobiography. At 13, young Lemony Snicket has just completed his schooling. He's about to catch a train to meet his new chaperone and embark on his first assignment when a note drops into his lap in the Hemlock Tea Room urging him to sneak out the bathroom window. Lemony's chaperone, S. Theodora Markson, has other plans in mind for Lemony. They've been called to the mysterious ghost town, Stained By the Sea to steal back a statue that was stolen from one of the town's oldest residents. When they begin to investigate, Lemony learns that all may not be what it seems. His investigation is hindered by his chaperone, who is ranked dead last. He's desperately trying to help an associate back in the city and avoid being arrested by the town's two bumbling cops. I enjoyed this story nearly as much as the original A Series of Unfortunate Events. It's told with the same trademark dry humor and wit as ASUE and contains a lot of high vocabulary that even I didn't know, and as you know, I'm a librarian! It also contains a lot of literary allusions which I enjoyed, and as with the vocabulary, I couldn't identify them all. This story is more of a mystery than the previous series and ends in a cliffhanger. As with ASUE, the adults are portrayed as idiots who betray the kids at every turn. There's a moral here somewhere about growing up and adults not having all the answers. There are probably more morals.  I did not like the reader. Liam Aiken played Klaus in the movie, but I don't see him as Lemony Snicket. His voice is soporific, a word which here means, boring. He didn't vary his tone much or attempt different voices. He engaged me enough to follow the story without falling asleep but he's not Tim Curry. This audio production is disappointing because it lacks the morose music of Snicket's later ASUE audio books. This book is a must-read for fans of the original series and new readers alike. Being a huge fan of ASUE, I really enjoyed this book. I can't wait to read the rest of the series.

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