The Vile Village is the seventh book in A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. It was published in 2001 by HarperCollins.
Genre: Children’s, Mystery
You have undoubtedly picked up this book by mistake, so please put it down. Nobody in their right mind would read this particular book about the lives of Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire on purpose, because each dismal moment of their stay in the village of V.F.D. has been faithfully and dreadfully recorded in these pages.
I can think of no single reason why anyone would want to open a book contain such unpleasant matters as migrating crows, an angry mob, a newspaper headline, the arrest of innocent people, the Deluxe Cell, and some very strange hats.
It is my solemn and sacred occupation to research each detail of the Baudelaire children’s lives and write them all down, but you may prefer to do some other solemn and sacred thing, such as reading another book instead.
With all due respect,
No matter who you are, no matter where you live, and no matter how many people are chasing you, what you don’t read is often as important as what you do read. For instance, if you are walking in the mountains, and you don’t read the sign that says “Beware of Cliff” because you are busy reading a joke book instead, you may suddenly find yourself walking on air rather than on a sturdy bed of rocks. If you are baking a pie for your friends, and you read an article entitled “How to Build a Chair” instead of a cookbook, your pie will probably end up tasting like wood and nails instead of like crust and fruity filling. And if you insist on reading this book instead of something more cheerful, you will most certainly find yourself moaning in despair instead of wriggling in delight, so if you have any sense at all you will put this book down and pick up another one. I know of a book, for instance, called The Littlest Elf, which tells the story of a teensy-weensy little man who scurries around Fairyland having all sorts of adorable adventures, and you can see at once that you should probably read The Littlest Elf and wriggle over the lovely things that happened to this imaginary creature in a made-up place, instead of reading this book and moaning over the terrible things that happened to the three Baudelaire orphans in the village where I am now typing these very words. The misery, woe, and treachery contained in the pages of the book are so dreadful that it is important that you don’t read any more of it than you already have.
“The message is this,” said the third member of the Council of Elders, and she leaned her head in close so that the children could see every felt feather of her crow hat. “Count Olaf has been captured,” she said, and the Baudelaires felt as if a bolt of lightning had struck them once more.”
“Well, first I discovered that books about V.F.D. rules are actually quite fascinating,” Klaus said. “Rule #19, for instance, clearly states that the only pens that are acceptable within the city limits are ones made from the feathers of crows. And yet Rule #39 clearly states that it is illegal to make anything out of crow feathers.”
“For Beatrice—When we were together, I felt breathless. Now, you are.”
Recommended Age Range: 10+
What I Liked:
References! Nevermore Tree, the call Mr. Poe gets from a Mr. Fagin, Detective Dupin (this could also be a play on the word “dupe” as well as a literary reference), Mr. Lesko, “Scylla” (Sunny saying!), “Curiouser and curiouser,” the town of Ophelia and its bank and Mr. Poe’s response to the bank.
This book represents a turning point in the series. In this book and the ones previous, the Baudelaires have always been placed with some sort of guardian by Mr. Poe. In all the rest, the Baudelaires are on their own. There’s another aspect of this, but it relates more to the ninth book, so I’ll hold off on that. Also, V.F.D. starts taking a more central role and becomes more and more of a driving force for the Baudelaires actions.
Spoilery. Don’t read if you don’t want to know some things that happened in The Ersatz Elevator and some details from The Vile Village. Esmé now appears as part of Olaf’s crew, so that means…yep, disguise! And yes, the Baudelaires are just as bad at seeing through it as they are good at seeing through Olaf’s. Also, I laughed hysterically at “Jacques is dead and I have the only key to the jail, so his death is quite a mystery.” End spoilers.
Jacques! You mysterious man with the cut-off sentences that obviously signal something important! I had forgotten that Jacques said some very important things here, including something about the meaning of V.F.D. Poor guy…
What I Didn’t Like:
Can you guess? Enter Hector, useless adult #8, along with the other annoying adults of The Village of Fowl Devotees. Although Hector does redeem himself at the end.
People/Places/Things to Keep in Mind (SPOILERS):
–Hector, Duncan, and Isadora
–Hector’s self-sustaining hot-air mobile home
–the harpoon gun
–the eye tattooed on Jacques’s ankle
–Jacques’s last name (Snicket) and his initials (JS)
–everything Jacques said, including that the eye tattoo is related to his job, the cut-off sentence about the Baudelaires parents, and the cut-off sentence about “the volunteer—”
–Duncan and Isadora’s cut-off “volunteer”
–Mrs. Morrow and Mr. Lesko
—The Daily Punctilio
There is a newspaper with the words “Last Chance,” referencing The Hostile Hospital.
The Vile Village is not one of my favorite ASOUE books, but it is unique in that it stands as a turning point for the series. It also gives more insight into V.F.D. and wraps up a few minor plotlines. It also has some great Sunny sayings, and lots of tantalizing information.
Coming Up Next: The Hostile Hospital