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The Austere Academy  - Lemony Snicket, Brett Helquist The Austere Academy is probably my favourite in the series so far, as it's the first one where there is a clear change (not just the rather subtle change of The Miserable Mill) from the series formula so far - and, after one tiny bit in the third book, also the first clear hints of a there possibly being a bigger plot afoot.

I appreciated the word explanations being less frequent - they're more enjoyable and fun to me when they don't occur on every other page - and it was nice to see the Baudelaires' continuing (if still small) character growth. Sunny in particular got to grow up quite a bit in this one, I felt. Also, it made a nice change for the kids to have friends for a change, even if it - obviously - couldn't end well. (Is that a spoiler? In this series? Nah.)

Still hesitant to give four stars, largely because I trust there'll be even better books ahead. But my interest has definitely been piqued more than ever as to Count Olaf's shady past.