The Snicket-ian dark comedy continues in Volume 2 of this series about a brother and sister trapped in the awful Witherwood Reform School.
Tobias and Charlotte begin the book still under the mind control to which they succumbed in the first installment. However, Tobias learns that sudden intense pain can clear his head, leading him again to hope for escape. He finds the map he’s made of the school and puts together clues that he planted to help him through the mazelike passages behind the walls of such buildings as Weary Hall. He meets other clearheaded inmates, and the group begins plotting a breakout. Unfortunately, Charlotte has been removed to another dormitory and is still under control. In his investigations, Tobias discovers the nefarious fate that the owners of the school have in mind for the kids and must pretend to be brain-addled to keep his cover. When they get out into the grounds, will the children be able to escape the dragonlike predatory birds that capture escapees? Skye keeps the misadventures coming as Tobias deals with the odd personalities of his fellow students and captors, especially Fiddle, a boy who seems continually lost in some sort of mental fog. Will Fiddle actually be able to help, or will he give everything away? Worse, what’s really in that delicious chocolate pudding?
Another suspenseful romp for kids who like dark humor. (Adventure. 9-14)