This was one of the books I bought with the Barnes & Noble gift card I got for my birthday last month. I hadn’t really thought of looking in the children’s section, but a copy of this was on display, and I remembered we have the sequel at my library and I’d wanted to read the first. I’m glad I picked it up. It was a quirky, fun ride that reminded me a bit of Lemony Snicket. The author is very adept at portraying children, particularly the feelings kids have when they’re thrust into unfamiliar, possibly dangerous situations. Plus, the puzzles are genuinely clever.
I did think the author copped out a bit when it came to danger. It seemed that every chance the children had to be found out, or placed at risk, they lucked out – someone misunderstood, forgot, or blundered in such a way as to protect the kids entirely. It just felt as though they were a little too lucky. I know when I was a kid I liked to feel that the characters in books really were in danger, and that there would be consequences if they were found out.
I was proud of myself for picking out one twist at the end (yes, I get proud for picking up twists in kids’ books. Shut up), and the book kept me interested and reading throughout. I moved on immediately to its sequel, but I’m thinking I might take a break from that. Just like Lemony Snicket, the style of writing can be difficult to barge through all at once.