Monday, 5 November 2012
Review: Who Could That Be At This Hour?
Author: Lemony Snicket
Publisher: Little Brown
Publication Date: October 23rd, 2012
Genre: Junior Fiction, Fantasy
Lemony Snicket is a clever thirteen year old who just graduated from a school where he received a very extraordinary education. Now he is apprentice to his new mentor, S. Theodora Markson. Theodora and Lemony are hired to solve a mystery of a missing statue in the town of Stain’d-by-the-Sea, which is no longer located anywhere near the sea. In this town, Lemony, accompanied by the worst mentor he could have possibly chosen, meets a variety of people, from a sub-librarian to a girl reporter. As he tries to solve the case, he asks all the wrong questions and even trusts the wrong people. But why would someone report something missing that wasn’t there’s in the first place, especially when it is of no value? Where are Lemony’s parents and who were the people with him at the train station? Where did he go to school and who has he been corresponding with? Before the Baudelaire orphans and before the VFD, Lemony Snicket was just a boy with his own story to tell.
Lemony Snicket (or, Daniel Handler) is back with his new series, All The Wrong Questions, which will be told in four parts. In the first book we are introduced to a young Lemony Snicket, who is a resourceful detective who makes many mistakes throughout the book. This book shows hints of the beginning of the writing style Snicket uses in A Series of Unfortunate Events, while still being told in a different manner altogether. Just like the illustrations are completely different, so is the entire mood and tone of the novel. While the Baudelaire’s story lead from one misery to another, Lemony’s is the same way with mysteries. Who Could That Be At This Hour was intriguing and even a bit confusing, in the best way. It reminded me a bit of The Mysterious Benedict Society, which I love. This book was different from A Series of Unfortunate Events, making it feel fresh and unique. At the same time, it also had similarities that will appeal to fans of the series, such as being a clever book full of big words and literary references, with perspective children and foolish adults. While fans of Snicket’s original series will enjoy the exploits of the young Snicket, you don’t have to even know who Olaf and the Baudelaires are to enjoy this book. The illustrations, by Seth, are very well done and tie in well with this mystery, and are more fitting to the style than Brett Helquist’s drawings, which I adore. Being left with so many questions was frustrating, and this book didn’t have the humour that A Series of Unfortunate Events had. Overall, Lemony Snicket wrote a great book that both lived up to the series that brought his name to fame, while creating something original and fun to read.
“They say in every library there is a single book that can answer the question that burns like a fire in the mind.”