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The Carnivorous Carnival (2002)

by Lemony Snicket

Other authors: Brett Helquist (Illustrator)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: A Series of Unfortunate Events (9)

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9,98179725 (3.8)49
On the run as suspected murderers, the unlucky Baudelaire orphans find themselves trapped in the Caligari Carnival, where they must masquerade as freaks in order to hide from the evil Count Olaf.

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Showing 1-5 of 77 (next | show all)
  BooksInMirror | Feb 19, 2024 |
(2.5 / 5)

There were some decent moments in this book, for example a humorous play on the phrase "deja vu." It was interesting that Olaf and his acting troupe were out in the open this time, while the Baudelaires were the ones spying. It was also nice to finally get at least one answer to a series-long mystery. And there were some decent moments in this book, for example a humorous play on the phrase "deja vu."

On the other hand, this book had whole new, over-the-top annoyances for me. The "freaks" whined constantly about their "deformities" which would have made more sense if one of them wasn't simply ambidextrous. I'm sure it was some kind of humor that I just do not get, but the fact that both of Kevin's legs are equally strong is something I really could have done without being reminded about all through the story. And the guests to the carnival were ridiculously blood-thirsty. But at least there's Tim Curry. Slim consolation prize at this point. ( )
  Kristi_D | Sep 22, 2023 |
The previous book in the series, The Hostile Hospital, last saw the Baudelaire's fleeing the mob at Heimlich Hospital and making a split second decision to escape via the trunk in Count Olaf's car. The ninth book, The Carnivorous Carnival opens with the Baudelaire's still hidden in the trunk and on their way through the hinterlands to the Caligari Carnival.

Caligari Carnival is home to fortune teller, Madame Lulu and her House of Freaks. Madame Lulu has been predicting the whereabouts of the Baudelaire's every time they're moved and Count Olaf is confident she will be able to tell him the location of them and their possibly alive parent. So the Baudelaire's once again utilise Count Olaf's bag of tricks and disguise themselves as two headed Beverly (Violet) and Elliot (Klaus) who eat corn clumsily and Chabo (Sunny), the wolf baby - half baby, half wolf. Following Madame Lulu's directive, the Baudelaire's are set to "give the people what they want" - which in this case is violence and sloppy eating - and are introduced to their fellow freaks - Hugo the hunchback, Kevin the ambidextrous man and Colette the contortionist.

Then there's some very hungry lions. A brief stint of inventing that never goes anywhere. Philosophical discussions about whether using what they've learnt from Olaf makes them bad (frankly no - it makes them survivors but whatevs) and the reveal that Madame Lulu is not all she seems. Or exactly what she seems - a complete and utter fraud - a member of the V.F.D. named Olivia who has taken the motto give them what they want to a ridiculous extreme. Actually I take some of that back - I mean yeah, she's not a fortune teller but she does manage to predict (cough*research*cough ahem cough*read a newspaper*cough) an awful lot of locations. So it's just the name, the clothes, the crystal ball and the fortune telling scene she creates that's completely fake. You know, everything else. But she does come through with a location for the possibly alive Baudelaire parent - an old V.F.D. headquarters. I mean it's a complete guess but good on her for giving it a shot. Then there's some double crossing from a jealous Esme who wants to get rid of her competition for Olaf's affections (Madame Lulu) - (and who has a surprisingly decent plan to manipulate the freaks into thinking they can be real boys and girls as well as a job offer to join their evil troupe) but also a triple crossing from Madame Lulu who is a friend to no one , some extra hungry lions and an inevitable end of a lynch mob, a fire and a desperate escape. You know, par for the course, with this series.

The Baudelaire's are left broken with Sunny in Olaf's evil clutches and the older two siblings careening along in a caravan that has limited food, no steering or brakes and a likely dangerous end.

At 312 pages, this book tacks on an extra 30 or so pages on the last three installments and it's a slog. For all it's the longest book, it has the least amount of action and fails to answer any of the numerous questions posed. To be fair, it also didn't seem to bring up any further ones but there's only so long I can go without deciding I just don't care enough. I'm hanging on but it's a Slippery Slope. 2 stars. ( )
  funstm | Dec 18, 2022 |
Gosh I love this series ( )
  Tratiezone | Nov 8, 2022 |
Love this series! Out of the 13 books, this was one of my favorites in the complete series, alongside the 2nd one.

Please Read my review of the series here, as my review applies to every book. https://www.librarything.com/work/1748/reviews/227861550 ( )
  am08279 | Oct 23, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 77 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Snicket, Lemonyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Helquist, BrettIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Curry, TimNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kupperman, MichaelIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Beatrice — Our love broke my heart, and stopped yours.
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When my workday is over, and I have closed my notebook, hidden my pen, and sawed holes in my rented canoe so that it cannot be found, I often like to spend the evening in conversation with my few surviving friends.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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On the run as suspected murderers, the unlucky Baudelaire orphans find themselves trapped in the Caligari Carnival, where they must masquerade as freaks in order to hide from the evil Count Olaf.

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