The Baudelaire orphans shipwreck on an island full of secrets. Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire just fled their burning hotel. The pros: they won't die a fiery death. The cons: they're stuck in a small boat with a wicked man who has done nothing but ruin their lives--Count Olaf. The orphans and Olaf get caught in a storm at sea, and Olaf gets flung into the seething waves. The Baudelaires cling to the wreckage of their ship for dear life, and by morning they come ashore on a coastal shelf near a mysterious island. A young girl finds them on the shelf and takes them to meet the facilitator of the island, a man named Ishmael. Ishmael invites the orphans to join him and the rest of the islanders in their life of simplicity. It's not much of a choice, their only other options are returning to the coastal shelf, or waiting a month for Decision Day, the day when the shelf floods and any discontented islanders can choose to leave. The Baudelaires agree to stay, but soon start to notice that Ishmael doesn't have the best interests of the islanders at heart. The islanders always scavenge really useful wreckage from the coastal shelf each night, but Ishmael insists that although he'd never force them to, the islanders should really throw all of their findings away. After all, they have everything they need right here. One day, Count Olaf turns back up, pretending to be a pregnant woman named Kit Snicket, but what alarms the Baudelaires most is that his "pregnant belly" is really a diver's helmet full of a deadly fungus. Ishmael sees through Olaf's disguise and he is shoved into a birdcage and left there. Despite the fact that Ishmael removed Olaf from their lives, the orphans still don't completely trust him. One night, the Baudelaires are roaming the island, and they find that Ishmael has a secret store of food, books, and a periscope disguised as a tree that helps him predict the weather. There used to be a V.F.D (an organization that both Olaf and the Baudelaire's parents belonged to) base on the island, and none of the islanders besides Ishmael know of its existence. Some of the other islanders find out, and seek to mutiny against Ishmael, but in the scuffle, Olaf manages to escape his cage. Ishmael pulls a harpoon gun on him, shoots him in his "belly", and shatters the diver's helmet. The deadly fungus is released, and all the islanders begin to suffocate. Desperate for a cure, the Baudelaires race to the V.F.D. base for an antidote. During their search, they learn that their parents were once on the island, and that they had devised a cure for the very fungus that was now threatening their children's lives. Thanks to Klaus' vocabulary, he is able to determine that there is an apple tree on the island that is infused with the antidote. The orphans get to some apples just in time, and round up a bucketful to take to the other islanders. However, when the Baudelaires arrive back on the beach, they find that Ishmael has herded the islanders into a boat under the guise of finding them another island that has the antidote. Ishmael pushes the boat away, and the Baudelaires are left on the island with Count Olaf, who is still dying from the fungus. The orphans are still left with a bucket of apples, so they do the right thing and offer him one. He accepts, but the apple doesn't save his life; he's bleeding from the shattering glass of the helmet. The children sit with him on the beach as his breathing clears, slows, and then stops altogether. The coastal shelf won't flood for another year, so the Baudelaires elect to stay on the island, using the resources of the V.F.D. base to build a life for themselves.
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Best part of story, including ending:
What I liked about the story was the irony that is intrinsic with a Lemony Snicket book. As the last book in the series, there are some subtle ironic allusions to the earlier books in the series.
Best scene in story:
My favorite scene was when the Baudelaires figured out that the cordial that the islanders drink was an opiate to keep them drowsy and calm. It showed that cleverness is sometimes a lifesaver.
Opinion about the main character:
I like that Violet is clever enough to get herself and her siblings out of a jam, but that she relies on them just as much as she relies on herself.