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A Series of Unfortunate Events - the Reptile Room - Book Two (original 1999; edition 2000)

by Lemony Snicket

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8,075116397 (3.71)119
Member:meadert
Title:A Series of Unfortunate Events - the Reptile Room - Book Two
Authors:Lemony Snicket
Info:Harper Collins Publishers (2000), Hardcover
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
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The Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket (1999)

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English (114)  French (1)  All languages (115)
Showing 1-5 of 114 (next | show all)
The series hits its stride in its second entry, as the children move in with a relative and learn that their problems with Count Olaf are far from over. The first book introduced the characters and the unique style of the series, and its plot was a grim entrapment story that revealed a great evilness in Olaf. Certainly enjoyable, but a bit narrow in scope, which happens when a story has to focus so much on set up. With the pieces in place, the story in The Reptile Room establishes a pattern that will be elaborated and then upended in future books.

Violet, Klaus, and Sunny move in with their Uncle Monty, and he is amazing. He loves his nieces and nephew, and lets them explore his herpetological collection in the Reptile Room and takes them to fun movies. He feeds them coconut cake. He introduces them to the Incredibly Deadly Viper, a sweet and harmless snake that Uncle Monty discovered and named with a misnomer. Unfortunately, while the man is kind and intelligent, he is too naive. His assistant disappeared recently, and when Count Olaf arrives in a laughable disguise as the replacement, Stephano, Uncle Monty falls for his trick. The children try to tell him, but Olaf stops them with threats and distractions. When Monty finally begins to suspect him, he thinks that Olaf is a herpetological spy trying to mooch off his expertise. They make plans to leave Stephano and head off on a journey alone, but before they leave, Olaf murders Uncle Monty.

He forces the Baudelaires to come with him, to complete the journey they were going to take with Monty, where he plans on killing them and securing their fortune. However, Mr. Poe accidentally runs into their car as they are leaving, and they tell him about Monty. They try to show Mr. Poe that Stephano is actually Count Olaf, but he refuses to see past the disguise. However, he does force Olaf to take everyone back to the house, to call a doctor for Monty Montgomery. This gives the children a small window of opportunity, in which they must prove to Mr. Poe that Stephano is a fraud, the doctor that arrives is not what he seems, and that Monty was not killed by a snake but was murdered in a way that blamed snakes.

Using their wits and special skills, the children reveal Stephano to be a fraud, with evidence compelling enough to even convince Mr. Poe. Snicket ensures the story doesn't end a happy note, in spite of their victory, because Count Olaf escapes and the children have to say quick farewells to their snake friends.

Summarizing these events briefly, the book sounds a touch horrible, but the writing style is so absurdly funny, with a playful use of language, an emphasis on doom and destruction that becomes ridiculous in its extremity, and the over the top villainy and incompetent adults. Violet, Klaus, and Sunny shine in their ingenuity, and Olaf's plot is cleverly diabolical, even if his disguise is not. The book is a fast read, entertaining, and quite different from most of the choices in the children's book department. The pattern of the first half of the series begins here: the Baudelaires go to a new guardian, Olaf finds them, the guardian falls for his disguise but the children do not, Olaf puts someone in mortal peril, and the children must rely on themselves to thwart him. It's a funny sequence, and it begins here. ( )
  nmhale | May 11, 2015 |
Again, I really enjoy this series because of the descriptive language, round construction of characters and the vocabulary introduced and used in context for the reader. The author's writing is engaging and interesting making the reader want to continue reading to find out what happens next with some subtle foreshadowing.
  mtrail3 | Apr 25, 2015 |
Listened to book with my daughter on a road trip. She was less interested until the end but then wanted to keep listening even when we arrived. I thought it was a good book and I enjoyed it. I also liked how it infused vocabulary into the book and seamlessly explained difficult words. ( )
  marty76 | Mar 28, 2015 |
This is perhaps the saddest book in the Series of Unfortunate Events. Even though all the books are tragic, this one gets to me the most because for just a few moments, the orphans had it so good. Uncle Monty is one of my favorite characters, and he's one of the few people who treat the Baudelaires well. The ending with the snakes gets me every time. ( )
  BrynDahlquis | Dec 20, 2014 |
This book is brilliant!

I really enjoy this series so far. I still really like how the author incorporates new words into the story as well as the dialogue ... an excellent series for an advanced reader or someone reading at the age level this series is written for (which is information I'm not privy to).

I actually found this book far sadder than the 1st, which makes me wonder how the next book is going to turn out!!

Adrianne ( )
  Adrianne_p | Nov 18, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 114 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lemony Snicketprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Helquist, BrettIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Curry, TimNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Beatrice -- My love for you shall live forever. You, however, did not.
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The stretch of road that leads out of the city, past Hazy Harbor and into the town of Tedia, is perhaps the most unpleasant in the world.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Dear Reader,

If you have picked up this book with the hope of finding a simple and cheery tale, I'm afraid you have picked up the wrong book altogether. The story may seem cheery at first, when the Baudelaire children spend time in the company of some interesting reptiles and a giddy uncle, but don't be fooled. If you know anything at all about the unlucky Baudelaire children, you already know that pleasant events lead down the same road to misery.

In fact, within the pages you now hold in your hands, the three siblings endure a car accident, a terrible odor, a deadly serpent, a long knife, a long brass reading lamp, and a reappearance of a person they'd hoped never to see again.

I am bound to record these tragic events, but you are free to put this book back on the shelf and seek something lighter.

With all due respect,



Lemony Snicket
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0064407675, Hardcover)

The Reptile Room begins where Lemony Snicket's The Bad Beginning ends... on the road with the three orphaned Baudelaire children as they are whisked away from the evil Count Olaf to face "an unknown fate with some unknown relative." But who is this Dr. Montgomery, their late father's cousin's wife's brother? "Would Dr. Montgomery be a kind person? they wondered. Would he at least be better than Count Olaf? Could he possibly be worse?" He certainly is not worse, and in fact when the Baudelaire children discover that he makes coconut cream cakes, circles the globe looking for snakes to study, and even plans to take them with him on his scientific expedition to Peru, the kids can't believe their luck. And, if you have read the first book in this Series of Unfortunate Events, you won't believe their luck either. Despite the misadventures that befall these interesting, intelligent, resourceful orphans, you can trust that the engaging narrator will make their story--suspenseful and alarming as it is--a true delight. The Wide Window is next, and more are on their way. (Ages 9 and older) --Karin Snelson

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:59:03 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

After narrowly escaping the menacing clutches of the dastardly Count Olaf, the three Baudelaire orphans are taken in by a kindly herpetologist with whom they live happily for an all-too-brief time.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 10 descriptions

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