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The Bad Beginning: Or, Orphans! (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 1)


If there's one failure in this particular book, it's in their guardian, Vice Principle Nero. He's a braying, terrible violinist who constantly mocks and insults the orphans while reminding them that he's a musical genius. While most adults in the Series of Unfortunate Event books are caricatures, Nero comes off a bit more shrill than I found tolerable. Since he's an antagonist, it was forgivable, but I find pompous characters in childrens' fiction are often off-target when portraying this character flaw. Harry Potter consistently fell into the same pitfall.

The plots of the first seven books follow the same basic pattern: the Baudelaires go to a new guardian in a new location, where Count Olaf appears and attempts to steal their fortune. The books following pick up where the previous book ended. There are thirteen books in the series and each book has thirteen chapters, with the exception of "Book the Fourteenth": a single chapter found at the end of . The location of each book's critical events is usually identified in the book's title; the first twelve book titles are . In most books, the children's skills are used to help them defeat Count Olaf's plots; for instance, Violet invents a lockpick in . Occasionally, the children's roles switch or other characters use their skills to assist the Baudelaires (e.g. Quigley's cartography skills help Violet and Klaus in 'The Slippery Slope').


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The Series of Unfortunate Events books are as they say, usually pretty unfortunate. They include the three main characters, Violet, Claude, and Sunny, three children whose parents sadly died in a fire. They are forced to live with their awful Uncle, who is heartless, and is just after their family fortune. His name is Count Olaf. The Baudelaire’s desperately tried to get out of their dreadful new home