A Series of Unfortunate Events #12: The Penultimate Peril

by Lemony Snicket

Other authorsBrett Helquist (Illustrator)
Hardcover, 2005



Local notes

Fic Sni





HarperCollins (2005), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 368 pages


Fantasy. Juvenile Fiction. HTML: Lemony Snicket returns with the last book before the last book of his bestselling Series of Unfortunate Events. Scream and run away before the secrets of the series are revealed! Very little is known about Lemony Snicket and A Series of Unfortunate Events. What we do know is contained in the following brief list: o The books have inexplicably sold millions and millions of copies worldwide o People in more than 40 countries are consumed by consuming Snicket o The movie was as sad as the books, if not more so o Like unrefrigerated butter and fungus, the popularity of these books keeps spreading Even less is known about book the twelfth in this alarming phenomenon. What we do know is contained in the following brief list: o In this book, things only get worse o Count Olaf is still evil o The Baudelaire orphans do not win a contest o The title begins with the word, ?The? Sometimes, ignorance is bliss. Ages 10… (more)


Audie Award (Finalist — 2006)
Buckeye Children's & Teen Book Award (Nominee — Grades 3-5 — 2007)
Quill Award (Winner — 2006)
Colorado Blue Spruce Award (Nominee — 2007)
Golden Archer Award (Nominee — Intermediate — 2007)


Original publication date


Physical description

368 p.; 7.26 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member aethercowboy
If you're anything like me, you're terrified of elevators. You never know if somebody may have snipped the line, or replaced the counterweight with a large block of ice, or forgot to renew the certificate. A world of things could go wrong once you enter an elevator.

In case of fire, most elevators
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say, use stairs. Well, elevator's don't actually say this, as I would imagine it would require the elevator to open and closes its doors as if it were talking. Instead, such a sign is placed by the elevator call button, and below that text is a series of bumps, both used to communicate to the blind, and also to pass messages to other members of certain organizations.

There was an elevator, once, in the Hotel Denouement. I never used it. But the poor Baudelaire orphans did, as at one time, they were disguised as concierges for this hotel, and had to travel up and down in the elevator to meet the beck and calls of the hotel patrons.

The hotel was run by the Denouement brothers, Frank and Ernest, and if I may be frank and earnest, there was na noitidda erugif dedulla ot in the text. The hotel itself was designed to mimic a very large library, and, as such, used the Dewey Decimal system.

For example, if a guest were to know about secret MI-6 technology, he would be put in room 007. If he was a famous person with triscadecaphobia, he would go to 013. If he were Jean-Paul Satre, he may be put into room 104. For guests having statistics on Pangea, they'd be put in room 311. A guest being a performer of post-modern music would be put in room 789.

Something like that, in which it helps to know the Dewey Decimal system, and at times, it might even save your life, or at least give you a quick laugh

Things were not all fine and dandy in the hotel, however, as the Baudelaires encountered two thirds of their least favorite tribe. Namely, Esme and Carmelita. This lead them to realize that the hotel itself was filled with both volunteers and villains, and it would be hard to distinguish the two (as some villains would be posing as volunteers, and quite possibly vice versa), unless you paid good enough attention (villains tend not to use coasters, something I've discovered in my own travels as well).

The Baudelaires also discovered, at long last, who J.S. was, and J.S. intended fully well to help them escape the injustice of Olaf.

But it's a series of unfortunate events, and it's the penultimate book, so I leave the rest to your imagination, or, if your imagination isn't what it used to be, there's always the book, but it doesn't end well.

But what does, these days?
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LibraryThing member kylekatz
The twelfth book in the Series of Unfortunate Events. Only one more to go which is good because they're not getting any better. I was pretty bored by this one, although a highlight was a quote from Richard Wright's Native Son.

"Who knows when some slight shock, disturbing the delicate balance
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between social order and thirsty aspiration, shall send the skyscrapers in our cities toppling?"

How eerie after 9/11.
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LibraryThing member Amzzz
The Baudelaire's unfortunate situation leads them out of the water and into a hotel, where their attempts at spying on the guests make them more confused, rather than shedding any light on their predicament. Not up to Lemony's usual standard, I fear.
LibraryThing member slvq
As the Baudelaire orphans grow up, the books devoted to their miserable lives get better and better. Book the Twelfth is definitely the best of the series. Excellent. And fabulous.
LibraryThing member jennyo
My kids and I love this series, but this is not the best of the lot. It's much more a filler book that's trying to set up the final book of the series. Our favorites in the series are The Reptile Room, The Carnivorous Carnival, and The Grim Grotto.
LibraryThing member alcrivello
The second to last installment detailing the grim lives of the Bauldelaires. They may be getting closer to the truth.
LibraryThing member sarathena1
Thus far, my favorite of this Snicket series. The writing is always good and the plot in this book is much thicker and deals with "deep" issues (such as the nature of right and wrong) with more care and thoroughness than earlier works.
LibraryThing member WittyreaderLI
This is the 11th installment in the Lemony Snicket Series of Unfortunate Events. In this book, we find the orphans working at bellhops at the Hotel Denouemont. We are treated to having almost every major character reappear at this hotel. The plot of this book is slightly confusing, but it moves the
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tale along and will make the reader eager to read the final installment. Was this a great book? No, not really. I listened to it in audio format. And I frankly cant' decide if it was Tim Curry who made it great (he was the narrator)..but overall, it was a pleasant read (listen)
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LibraryThing member QueenAlyss
Another great in the series. This is one of my favorites of the series, it is much for suspenseful and sweet, hehe
LibraryThing member catz
This book took me to the concierge desk in this fancy hotel where something is lurking behind every corner. Except it just didn't catch as much of my attention like other books can.
LibraryThing member delaney.h4
Summary: The orphans are under disguise at a hotel. Facing the "penultimate peril" but will everything go up un flames?
Review: Oh my god!!! I hate this series it's getting soooooo boring! But if I don't find out how this friggen series ends I'm goanna die!
LibraryThing member thc_luver6
Very good like most of the books in this series. It had some interesting morals and some very interesting new characters. Loved it.
LibraryThing member hjjugovic
I'm going to review all four of the last books in this series in one review, since I read them all at one go due to the quick plot pacing, and now they've mushed together in my brain. These are wonderful! When I first started, this series, I was underwhelmed, but Snickett grows up his books like he
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grows up the Baudelaires. Unlike many coming-of-age stories, this one manages to avoid the trite and the untrue. Despite Snickett's fantastical style and plot twists, there is deep reality at the core of these books, which manage to show the world in all its nastiness and how difficult it is to be a "volunteer instead of a villain," and yet it conveys the desperate need for each of us to try. It also teaches voculary, is subtley hilarious if you already have a big one, and imparts a love of science, literature, poetry, and even good cooking. Highly recommended for all the young, and old, people in your life!
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LibraryThing member Othemts
"Deciding whether or not to trust a person is like deciding whether or not to clime a tree, because you might get a wonderful view from the highest branch, or you might simply get covered in sap, and for this reason many people choose to spend their time alone and indoors, where it is harder to get
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a splinter." p. 15

"The burning of a book is a sad, sad sight, for even though a book is nothing by ink and paper, it feels as if the ideas contained in the book are disappearing as the pages turn to ashes and cover and binding … blacken and curl as the flames do their wicked work." p. 324
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LibraryThing member BoundTogetherForGood
Again, I enjoyed this book, the twelfth in the thirteen book series. I rated it half a star higher than all the rest except the first in the series, as I think it was enjoyable to see the author continuing to pull together all the loose story lines. I actually am very excited to see what happens in
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the twelfth book. Of course I have some of my own excpectations having read this far. I hope I am right in part and yet I also hope the author continues to surprise!
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LibraryThing member EmScape
More mysteries are solved and the most unfortunate of all the events so far occurs. The nobility of the Beaudelaires is called into question. I know this story won’t have a happy ending…but it’s very well told.
LibraryThing member riverwillow
Delightfully dark. Some of the questions raised in the series are answered and new questions posed. Something terrible happens and the Baudelaires end the story in the company of Count Olaf.
LibraryThing member miyurose
I don't think I've properly expressed how great I think these books are. They are books meant for 9 year old and up, and they use words like penultimate! Correctly! They are interesting, exciting, deliciously dark, and so so so intelligent. I'm a bit sad that there's only one book left in the
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series, but I'm enjoying how everything is starting to wrap up.
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LibraryThing member readafew
The Penultimate Peril lireP etamitluneP ehT
This is the next to last book chronicling the misadventures of the Baudelaire children. This time they spend their time hiding out in the tnemecnuoneD letoH as concierge. They are given the opportunity to spy on all manor of guests to try to piece
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together the clues to many mysteries.

This book I found to be a little irritating in really slamming the reader over the head with "No one is all good, nor is anyone all bad". It was pushing, pushing, pushing and I started to find it getting in the way of the rest of the story. For all that in wasn't bad and I still enjoyed the book and I can't wait to read the last installment, to see if any of the troubling questions are finally answered, such as "Why are Sunny's teeth so sharp?" or "Do the Quagmire Triplets ever eat peppermints?" and ?derorrim txet siht fo emos si yhW.
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LibraryThing member whitepine
The most boring of all of them but the other ones are good.
LibraryThing member drebbles
In this, the next to last book in Lemony Snicket's "Series of Unfortunate Events" books, Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire are taken by Kit Snicket to the Hotel Denouement where they are to work as concierges and spy on the guests to find out who is a volunteer for the mysterious VFD and who is a
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villain. While there, they run into many friends and enemies they have encountered in the previous 11 books in the series. They are all there in anticipation of a meeting of all VFD volunteers which is to take place in the next few days. But, as always, things do not go smoothly for the Baudelaire orphans and they end up accidentally murdering someone, purposely setting the hotel on fire, and in the crutches of the evil Count Olaf.

Lemony Snicket fills this book with his trademark sense of humor, there are always 13 chapters, plenty of alliterative names, explanations of meanings of words, warnings that the reader shouldn't finish the book, and absurd situations (the roof top tanning scene is hilarious). The young Baudelaires are still far more intelligent than the adults are who never seem to recognize the children in their various disguises. Snicket gives a sly nod to critics who hated Olaf's laugh in "The Grim Grotto". While it's inevitable that the children grow up during the course of the books, the fact that Sunny speaks coherent sentences is a bit disappointing and takes away the fun of trying to decipher what she is saying.

I appreciate the humor of having 13 books in the series, but I can't help wonder if that was ultimately too ambitious for Snicket. "The Penultimate Peril" feels like filler at times, with two many questions left unanswered. Why is the sugar bowl so important? Where are the Quagmire triplets? What do the initials "VFD" stand for? Are the Baudelaire's truly orphans or is one of their parents still alive? Where the Baudelaire parents involved in wrongdoing? Can Snicket answer all these questions in the last book?

Finally, parents should be aware that there is a rather violent death toward the end of the book that is accidentally caused by the Baudelaire children. While this may open up an interesting discussion of what makes a person good or evil and can a person be both, the death may frighten young children.
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LibraryThing member rivkat
I admit, as this series has gone on, I’ve gotten increasingly nervous. I was burned badly by the XF, and I’ve wondered how on Earth Snicket plans to resolve all his conspiracy plots. I still don’t know, but I’m hopeful. In this volume – possibly the next to last, though it’s never smart
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to rely on what series writers tell you midseries; it’s the writerly equivalent of “I’ll pull out, I promise€? – some mysteries are cleared up, while others merely accumulate more clues. The setting is a hotel whose rooms are labeled and organized according to the Dewey Decimal System (there is really a hotel like this, though it got sued for trademark infringement), which is both quirky and disconcerting. Sunny continues to develop, though her speech remains limited. All three Baudelaires confront the trouble with conspiracy – how do you know you’re on the right side? – and struggle with their complicity in evil deeds, even if only by accident. There’s a surprising amount of power lurking in the storytelling here, from the ways in which the Baudelaires are brought to question their own goodness to the ominous mention of fire early on in the volume. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
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LibraryThing member KeRo0306
This book was absolutely amazing! How amazing is it? There are so many twist and turns, unexpected information, and tragedy that end up making the book simply unbelievable.
LibraryThing member martensgirl
This book is probably my favourite of the series; it is dark and very eerie. It would make a fantastic Tim Burton film. The ending is a bit disappointing and the good/bad moral question is rammed home a bit too vehemently, but on the whole, it is a very good book.
LibraryThing member Marse
The next-to-last book in the series: A Series of Unfortunate Events!! Almost there... In this book the Baudelaires are taken to the Hotel Denouement in which many characters, both good and evil, from the previous 11 books make an appearance. Something is going to happen at this hotel, which is
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actually a kind of library (based on the Dewey Decimal system) of everything and everyone involved with the VFD and the Baudelaires. The children ponder whether or not they have acted for good or for evil. Whether their parents have been entirely good? What makes an action good or bad? Could Count Olaf actually be related to them? What is going on?! Just one more book left. Please let it be resolved!!!
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