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A Series of Unfortunate Events Box: The Complete Wreck (Books 1-13)

by Lemony Snicket

Other authors: Brett Helquist (Illustrator)

Series: A Series of Unfortunate Events (1-13)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,681288,558 (4.16)18
NOW A NETFLIX ORIGINAL SERIES If you have not read anything about the Baudelaire orphans, then before you read even one more sentence, you should know this: Violet, Klaus, and Sunny are kindhearted and quick-witted, but their lives are filled with bad luck and misery. All of the stories about these three children are unhappy and wretched and will most likely fill you with deep despair. From The Bad Beginning to The End, this comprehensive collection with unfortunate bonus material that may or may not include trivia questions, character profiles, and several very sad sentences is the only choice for people who simply cannot get enough of a bad thing!… (more)
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» See also 18 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
The idea for this series was truly original. It presents itself as a spoof on series for young children. Aren't there many series where the same children get into some kind of trouble over and over again; every time engaging in some kind of battle between good and evil?
Also the authors repeated warnings not to read any further, because there is more mayhem to come is a parody on the way children's writers foreshadow a crisis in their stories. Snicket (aka Daniel Handler) makes himself a character in the books, which is considered a big no no in any creative writing class. If you also consider the funny explanations of difficult words, and the research both Klaus and Lemony Snicket himself do throughout the narrative, this series is making fun of the process of writing and reading information.

All in all a good idea, but it goes too far. Especially the constant admonitions to stop reading become repetitive and annoying within the first two chapters of "A Bad Beginning". The subplot of Lemony Snicket, the loss of his beloved Beatrice, his research in everything connected with the Baudelaire children, and his siblings Jacques and Kit is at times distracting. It may also confuse children. The explanations of difficult words are sometimes so full of jokes, that a child might loose the thread of the story. In my experience as a school librarian, children are very direct and want to get on with the story. All the long and windy explanations can cause them to get bored, and put the book down. I have seen a number of children get so discouraged that they stopped reading the book, just as Snicket recommends.

I thought the characters were very stereotyped, and their actions repetitive and one sided. Sunny always bites, Violet always puts a ribbon in her hair when she thinks up an invention, Klaus is alwayss the Mr. Know- it- all, Esme always wants to be "in" and so on. The author also doesn't let his characters contemplate the psychological consequences of the disasters that befall them. What about children losing their parents in a fire (Baudelaires and Quagmires)? The whole thing starts feeling like a cruel joke!

One of the strengths of the series is the variety of settings, and the description that go along with it. I don't know of any other series where the protagonists end up in a boarding school as well as a submarine, a lumber mill as well as a secret mountain resort, at the home of a collector of reptiles as well as that of a second rate carnival. The settings become characters themselves.

I also like that the Baudelaire children are not saints. In their quest to stop Count Olaf and his cronies, the trio end up doing their own share of damage by setting fire to certain places, just like Count Olaf himself. That poses a philosophical question: where does good end and evil begin?



I wondered for a long time what the end of "The End" would be like. Would everybody die like in a Shakespeare tragedy, or would Count Olaf and his gang finally enter the Underworld? It was a great solution to say that the story began way before the first book began and that it will go on after the end of the last book. For the people who were disappointed by this ending, I recommend that you read Lemony Snicket: the unauthorized autobiography. Some of your unanswered question may get answered there, and of course it also evkes new questions.

I gave this series three stars because of its strengths balancing with its obvious shortcomings.
( )
  Marietje.Halbertsma | Jan 9, 2022 |
Read aloud
This is by far my favorite book series ever. The series follows the Baudelaire children. Their parents are suspected to have been killed in a fire that destroyed their home and all of their possessions; they are then placed into the care of their apparent/assumed and distant cousin Count Olaf. Count Olaf hatches a plan to steal the Baudelaire children's very large inheritance. The kids uncover Count Olaf's plan and constantly outsmart him. Count Olaf continues to disguise himself and change his plan throughout each book, and the kids eventually win out. These books are great for a read aloud because they are all chapter books, and the vocabulary within each book could be a bit challenging for some students. There are some difficult themes and plot lines, as well, so a teacher could certainly help explain those during a read aloud.
  AmandaCheney | Nov 13, 2020 |
Have all volumes but no 7 is a paperback.
  TheNelsonLibrary | Jul 27, 2020 |
This conundrum of Woeful tales kept me in books for all of one month, then I had to wait for the next ones to come out. ( )
  thebacklistbook | Apr 24, 2019 |
It couldn't be more perfect. This is the ultimate box of a beautiful series. It contains all 13 books in a box with beautiful drawings from Brett Helquist. It really is a collectable item. ( )
  Glaucialm | Feb 18, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Snicket, Lemonyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Helquist, BrettIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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The Complete Wreck contains all thirteen books of this unfortunate series. Please do no add/combine with single titles or other boxed sets.
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NOW A NETFLIX ORIGINAL SERIES If you have not read anything about the Baudelaire orphans, then before you read even one more sentence, you should know this: Violet, Klaus, and Sunny are kindhearted and quick-witted, but their lives are filled with bad luck and misery. All of the stories about these three children are unhappy and wretched and will most likely fill you with deep despair. From The Bad Beginning to The End, this comprehensive collection with unfortunate bonus material that may or may not include trivia questions, character profiles, and several very sad sentences is the only choice for people who simply cannot get enough of a bad thing!

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