Dan Handler, writing as Lemony Snicket, wrote the A Series of Unfortunate Events books. I LOVED those books. They were brilliant—funny, smart, and not afraid to dig into hard topics like grief and death. So when I saw this new series, All the Wrong Questions: Question 1 (aka “Who Could that be at this Hour?”), I hopped right on it.
The story features Snicket as a 13 year old boy who is roped into a mysterious mission to recover a stolen artifact. He is whisked away by a strange woman with wild hair and no aptitude for the mission, despite her belief she is a superior in every way. Snicket is soon caught up in an adventure that involves mystery and mayhem, as well as two girls his own age who assist him along the way.
I confess the book didn’t grab me like the Series of Unfortunate Events books. The mystery is rather sedate and the action quite slow. The humor is much more muted, which is a shame because I think Handler is hilarious. It reminded me of the Encyclopedia Brown books, except slower.
Thinking of Encyclopedia Brown, I tried to read the book through the eyes of someone much younger. I really enjoy books for kids and young adults, but sometimes I have expectations that can’t be met. I expected a wilder adventure with a darker more intricate plot, but sometimes reading a book through a younger person’s eyes reminds you that not all books are written for you. This is a perfectly serviceable mystery escapade for a younger audience (I’d say 8 to 10). Which is not to say young people aren’t up for reading something more thrilling, but Encyclopedia Brown didn’t exactly whip up the excitement, and this book is more along those lines. All this to say, I liked the book fine, but it didn’t capture my imagination. And that’s okay.
One thing it DID do though was abruptly end with absolutely no resolution until the next book. A lot of questions were unresolved too; in fact, most of them. It did make me want to read the second book in the series, which I suppose is the point, but I wish there had been *some* proper ending.