So this one begins the final push in the series. Actually, the previous two books did that, where we are no longer looking for guardians so much as following the orphans on the trail of their pursuits. One thing I really like about this book is that the orphans are pursuing Olaf and not the other way around. It flips the power a little. They are not as powerful and cannot do to him what he would do to them, but it’s a start.
This one also raises a lot of good questions about the connection-points among all the books. This is why the books are sooooooooooooo much better than the show, because the slow reveal of the mystery is so great. Also, this one finds ways to reintroduce old characters back into the story and give us more one character whose actual identity we don’t know through narrative tricks. It’s good for that.
Also, in ways that already started but are definitely paying off, the orphans are starting to follow more and more in their parents’ footsteps and create their own band of followers. The pacing of this one is really good too. We’re at the full length now, meaning that although the books get a little longer before the end, we now more or less have the full length of the novels at play. In addition, this one definitely allows all the children to use their full powers/skills to help them in their adventures. Also the narrator intrusion in this book full comes around almost full circle.
Crushes for every one! Although I think Sunny getting a crush would be a little disturbing.
Also, I have theories. So basically, I didn’t read these when the first came out, and in fact the very first ones came out when I was a senior in high school and I avoided them. I begrudgingly read Harry Potter, and just barely actually, and so these definitely escaped me, even though all my older siblings read them. So I think I am wrong to think that Kit Snicket is in fact their mom. I had that theory in the previous book, but yeah I think that shall be quickly proven wrong by very soon into the 12th book. Also, I was thinking that the nameless figures “the man with a beard and no hair and the woman with no beard” might be their parents, but who knows. I mean I will likely tomorrow, but still, who knows.
I like a good submarine story, especially goofy-ass submarines that don’t really work. Also, I feel super smart already knowing what a mycologist is. Also Phil….poor Phil. Anyway, this book is also satisfying and makes me think of a whole bunch of other things like it that take place of kinds of submarines. For example, oddly this book made me think of Final Fantasy VII….that might make sense to you or definitely will not. It also made me think of the spores in The Last of Us. Huh. Anyway, I like a good Herman Melville reference and I will likely read one of his novels (maybe again) soon.
Also I really like that they stuck it to Mr. Poe at the end.
The penultimate peril in this sense is the the big meeting of the VFD secret organization. There some stuff I am not yet ready to mention, but like all good novels and movies that take place in hotels, there’s a sense of multiple things going on at the same time. The way the novel deals with this is by telling you ahead of time that you can read various chapters in whatever order you want to. And so when you do that, the effect is the same of the aphorism about the three blind wise men who come across an elephant but given their own singular limitations come up with a falsely complete understanding of the whole. In this way, the novels begin to move toward the end, and speak heavily to the post-modern idea of the inability of narrative to tackle the whole of a thing. The novels and the author, who have been warning us for novels and novels to turn away from this narrative lest we will certainly be let down are warned yet again.
This novel deals in general with the coming together of all the previous part into a central location of the Denouement Hotel, a hotel overlooking a reflective pond that casts a mirror image reflection directly back up at it. We are simply getting closer and closer to the end of the novels, but are we in fact getting closer and closer to the conclusion of the story?
Something about the mid-2000s that does not love an end. Whether it was the Sopranos ending literally mid-song without a definitive conclusion (resist….resist the explaining of the creator!) or this series of novels that simply denies the end to be the end. Or rather denies that stories can end. We were warned in the previous novel that the denouement of a story is not the same thing as the end. This novel feel like it takes place in a purgatory like place. The island which is connected to all other points in the story geographically is also connected narratively, but rather than giving a sense of completion, it begins to shed doubt on our ability to feel completeness. But the island, which contains multiple characters named from famous sea-faring stories, begins to suggest that we will not get a resolution much like we’re seeking. This ending pre-dates Harry Potter, but is already undercutting what is way too tidy about that ending. Instead, we get heroes who are not entirely heroic. We get a story that does not have a neat ending. We get an origin story that suggests a muddiness to our other understandings about the world we’ve been inhabiting, and we’re starting to see that while things will go on (much as they always have before the story began) they won’t conclude. It’s a strange worry to have about the end of the book. And the book effs with us when it cuts from a non-ending to the editor’s note….to a 14th (for the first chapter) but one that also refuses to give a true conclusion. It’s brilliant and frustrating at the end of every thing.