Review: The Miserable Mill

The Miserable Mill: Book the Fourth (A Series of Unfortunate Events)The Miserable Mill 
by Lemony Snicket

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Series of Unfortunate Events 4: The Miserable Mill / 9780061757167

I came to this series after already watching the tie-in movie "Lemony Snicket's a Series of Unfortunate Events". I loved the first three books in the series, but "The Miserable Mill" was something of a mystery to me going in, since it represented the first book in the series that the movie did not cover. I shouldn't have been worried, however, for this novel is in many ways one of the best in the series so far.

Like the rest of the novels in this series, this book is very slender and can be whipped through in a few short hours - if it has any drawbacks at all, it would perhaps be the price-to-page ratio. However, the story is engaging and well-told and it's impossible to not be drawn into the drama of the Baudelaire orphans as they struggle to survive in their new "home" as workers in the Lucky Strikes Lumber Mill. Having been handed over to their new guardian "Sir", he immediately puts them to work as child slaves in his lumber mill in exchange for keeping Count Olaf away from them. The work is hard and not suitable for young children, but the Baudelaire orphans try to look on the bright side in their new job.

A note about the audiobook edition of this book: like the previous book ("The Wide Window"), this installment in the series is narrated by "Lemony Snicket" (who in this case I assume is the author, Handler). Handler is a superb writer, but his narration is a little jarring after the smooth tones of Tim Curry's previous narration (of "The Bad Beginning" and "The Reptile Room"). In particular, the narration here stutters and jolts over Sir's dialogue and the overall result is extremely distracting and sometimes difficult for the listener to stay immersed. The overall narration is still worth a listen, but if you're working your way through all the audiobooks, be prepared for some halting moments.

~ Ana Mardoll

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