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The Austere Academy (2000)

by Lemony Snicket

Other authors: Brett Helquist (Illustrator), Michael Kupperman (Illustrator)

Series: A Series of Unfortunate Events (5)

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11,414110577 (3.79)45
As their outrageous misfortune continues, the Baudelaire orphans are shipped off to a miserable boarding school, where they befriend the two Quagmire triplets and find that they have been followed by the dreaded Count Olaf.
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» See also 45 mentions

English (105)  Italian (1)  Spanish (1)  French (1)  All languages (108)
Showing 1-5 of 105 (next | show all)
My favorite in the series so far... ( )
  DKnight0918 | Dec 23, 2023 |
The three Baudelaire orphans have been sent to boarding school. Except Sunny isn't old enough for school, so instead she works as an administrative assistant. Yeah. But Count Olaf is there, along with some of his henchmen, and even though the kids have been proven right each time they've made that claim in the past, Mr. Poe doesn't believe them.

The author continues to be redundant, I suppose in an attempt at humor, but it's done so often it's just started to bother me along the way. But then again, this is not my kind of humor anyway—far too much injustice and even child abuse, none of which gets addressed or remotely amended, for my taste.

The formula that's been so frustratingly followed for this series so far is broken slightly, in that the kids actually get to make some friends. But if you think that will work out well, you don't know this series at all. It didn't go the way I feared it would, and actually, I didn't mind the way the story was left in the end, regarding the two friends. What I didn't like is that the author nearly ruined the mild suspense provided by that ending, what made me feel, for a moment, at least, that I actually have an interest in the next story. Ah, well. I'll continue on either way, because Tim Curry comes back with the next installment, and his narration is the only reason I got into any of this. I wouldn't be continuing with this series if I wasn't being read to by Tim Curry while I go about my day (except for the last 3 books, which I endured for the sake of...well, you get it). ( )
  Kristi_D | Sep 22, 2023 |
In The Austere Academy, once again, the Baudelaire children are miserable. Mr Poe has apparently run out of potential family members, instead sending the children to Prufrock Preparatory - a boarding school. Considering Mr Poe explains how he's super jealous - I'm getting the feeling this was more about Mr Poe's childhood dreams than looking after the children. The children are concerned but Mr Poe assures them not to worry, Prufrock Prep has a super advanced computer that will stop Count Olaf from every getting in. How can a computer stop a person you ask? It's super advanced. Well then.

Apparently they should've invested in the super, super advanced model. Because who should appear?

Seriously you'll never guess. Count Olaf!

This time, he's in disguise as a world class gym teacher, complete with a turban (and seriously, has he been consorting, a word here that means plotting evil with other evildoers, with Quirrelmort?) and some high top running shoes.


But the school is supposed to be safe even if it looks like a graveyard and comes with a real uplifting motto - "Remember You Will Die". It only has punishments for tardiness to class (which will see your hands tied behind your back during meals), tardiness to mealtimes (which will leave you drinking without a cup) and entering the administrative building (which will leave you eating without utensils). Sunny is dismayed to find that she'll never have silverware - Vice Principal Nero, who believes himself to be a world class violinist (and is so very wrong), has hired her to be his secretary and she'll be required to enter the administrative building every day.

Then they're all dismayed when they find out where they get to stay. Their new home is the designated, Orphan Shack, complete with pinching crabs, bales of hay, some weird type of fungus that lives on the roof and drips and bright green walls with pink hearts.

But it's okay. It's not all bad because this time - they make friends! Friends with a history just as sad and terrible as their own. The Quagmire triplets - are also sad lonely orphans whose parents died in a fire and left them a large fortune. They have the Baudelaire's beat though - they lost their parents and their triplet, Quigley - leaving only Isadora and Duncan to carry on alone, forever being mistaken as twins. Duncan and Isadora, like the Baudelaire's have their own hobbies. Duncan wants to be a journalist and Isadora a poet. Both carry around reporter style notepads in order to record everything that is of importance for them.

Their new friends would never dream of letting them face Count Olaf on their own, so the whole gang pitches in to find out what his new plan is and how they can foil it. As you can probably guess, they don't succeed.

The plan this time is to make the children run endless laps at night for weeks until they're too tired to pay attention in this classes/job. When they start to fail and become the worst students in the school, Vice Principal Nero informs them that they'll be taking a test to see if they have learnt anything and will expel/fire them if they fail.

The Quagmire triplets believe one should know thy enemy and while the Baudelaire's have been occupied running laps, they spend time in the library scouring old newspapers for any information on Count Olaf and his gang. They mention that they find something out but with the clock ticking they brush it aside so as to come up with a plan to pass the tests.

They end up coming up with a plan for the Quagmire triplets to take their place running laps and for the Baudelaire's to study everything they need to know from the Quagmire triplet's reporter notepads.

But the Quagmire Triplets get caught up with helping and fall into Count Olaf's clutches themselves. I mean, it's not a terrible idea to abduct them. They also have a huge fortune. But they don't have the background with him yet so Count Olaf has a way better chance of getting his plan to succeed.

And so the Baudelaire's last see the Quagmire triplets being forced into a car before Count Olaf spirits them away. But they manage to tell the Baudelaire's one last thing - VFD.

Which means absolutely nothing to them and they have no idea where to start looking.


So the children are expelled, miserable and left with a mystery - what do the letters VFD stand for and why are they so important?

3 stars. ( )
  funstm | Dec 18, 2022 |
The best book until now ( )
  Tratiezone | Nov 8, 2022 |
Book 5 of 13 of the phenomenal series: Series of Unfortunate Events! This one was another of my favorites in the series. The plot really thickens here and introduces a few new recurring characters.

Please Read my review of the series here, as my review applies to every book in the series. https://www.librarything.com/work/1748/reviews/227861550 ( )
  am08279 | Oct 23, 2022 |
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» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Snicket, Lemonyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Helquist, BrettIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kupperman, MichaelIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
For Beatrice -- You will always be in my heart, in my mind, and in your grave.
First words
If you were going to give a gold medal to the least delightful person on Earth, you would have to give that medal to a person named Carmelita Spats, and if you didn't give it to her, Carmelita Spats was the sort of person who would snatch it from your hands anyway.
Quotations
If you have walked into a museum recently --- whether you did so to attend an art exhibition or to escape from the police --- you may have noticed a type of painting known as a triptych.
Assumptions are dangerous things to make, and like all dangerous things to make -- bombs, for instance, or strawberry shortcake -- if you make even the tiniest mistake you can find yourself in terrible trouble. Making assumptions simply means believing things are a certain way with little or no evidence that shows you are correct, and you can see at once how this can lead to terrible trouble.
There is no worse sound in the world than someone who cannot play the violin but insists on doing so anyway.
Mr. Poe meant well, but a jar of mustard probably also means well and would do a better job of keeping the Baudelaires out of danger.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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As their outrageous misfortune continues, the Baudelaire orphans are shipped off to a miserable boarding school, where they befriend the two Quagmire triplets and find that they have been followed by the dreaded Count Olaf.

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