Review: The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events #1) – Lemony Snicket

The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events #1) – Lemony Snicket


Title: The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events #1)

Author: Lemony Snicket

Release Date: September 30, 1999

Publisher: Harper Collins

Format: Hardcover

Page Number: 176

In this first book, readers are introduced to the unfortunate Baudelaire children — 14-year-old Violet, 12-year-old Klaus, and their infant sister, Sunny — when they learn they’ve just been orphaned by a terrible house fire.

The executor of the Baudelaire estate — a phlegm-plagued banker named Mr. Poe – sends the children to live with a distant relative: a conniving and dastardly villain named Count Olaf, who has designs on the Baudelaire fortune. Count Olaf uses the children as slave labor, provides horrid accommodations for them, and makes them cook huge meals for him and his acting troupe, a bunch of odd-looking, renegade good-for-nothings. When the children are commandeered to appear in Count Olaf’s new play, they grow suspicious and soon learn that the play is not the innocent performance it seems but rather a scheme cooked up by Olaf to help him gain control of the children’s millions.

All this bad luck does provide for both great fun and great learning opportunities, however. Violet is a budding McGyver whose inventions help the children in their quest, Klaus possesses a great deal of book smarts, and Sunny — whose only real ability is an incredibly strong bite — provides moral support and frequent comedy relief. Then there are the many amusing word definitions, colloquialisms, clichés, hackneyed phrases, and other snippets of language provided by the narrator (a character in his own right) that can’t help but expand readers’ vocabularies. Though the Baudelaire children suffer myriad hardships and setbacks, in the end they do manage to outsmart and expose Olaf’s devious ways. But of course, with luck like theirs, it’s a given that Olaf will escape and return to torment them again some day. If only misery was always this much fun.

3 out of 5 stars


Three siblings lose their home and parents to a huge fire. A neighbor brings the kids to their closest living family member, Count Olaf. The kids have never met Count Olaf and have no idea how they are related to him. Olaf doesn’t really care about the kids, he just wants the fortune that has been left to Violet. He treats the children like pests and he doesn’t actually want them as children. The three siblings, Violet, Klaus, and Sunny, meet the nice neighbor of Count Olaf, Justice Strauss. She has a big library filled with thousands of books ranging from huge law books to books about animals, which interest Klaus. The three have to participate in a play and Count Olaf has other plans for making the play very special. I liked this book, but it wasn’t my favorite. I definitely wish I would have read this when I was much younger. I still liked it, but it is for a much younger audience.


Violet, Klause, and Sunny are the three siblings and they have very unfortune things happen to them. Violet is the oldest and loves anything with engineering and building things. Klaus is the middle child and he likes books of any kind in general, and Sunny is the infant who likes biting everything. These three peculiar children have very bad luck and have to live with Count Olaf. Count Olaf is a rude and odd-looking man. He doesn’t treat any of the three children right, but he takes an odd liking to Violet. I liked these characters but Violet and Klaus were my favorite.

Who Would I Be?:

I would choose to be Klaus because he loves books and he likes learning things. I already love reading, so that wouldn’t even be a big change. Klaus is just a loveable character in general and I would love to have two sisters. I’ve always wished I had a sister, ad if I was Klaus I would have two.


The Reptile Room (A Series of Unfortunate Events #2)

The Wide Window (A Series of Unfortunate Events #3)

The Miserable Mill (A Series of Unfortunate Events #4)

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4 thoughts on “Review: The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events #1) – Lemony Snicket

  1. Pingback: April Wrapup + May TBR | YA Book Reviews

  2. Pingback: Review: The Reptile Room (A Series of Unfortunate Events #2) – Lemony Snicket | ♡ Pointe Taken ♡

  3. Pingback: Review: The Wide Window (A Series of Unfortunate Events #3) – Lemony Snicket | Pointe Taken

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