It’s several weeks after SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT - KINGDOM OF THE WICKED. The international Sanctuaries, convinced that the Irish Sanctuary murdered Grand Mage Strom are moving it. They want a power sharing arrangement, power-sharing in this case meaning that they take more control over the Irish Sanctuary’s affairs. The Irish Elders are standing firm, but with no allies and their own control weakened after recent events, it’s clear that war is coming and there’s no guarantee that they will win.
But Skulduggery and Valkyrie don’t have time to worry about that. They’re investigating why Charivari is leading the Warlocks against sorcerers and the answers they’re finding are very disturbing – so disturbing that they point to treachery in the deepest levels of the Sanctuary and a conspiracy that’s been a century in the making. Even worse than that, Valkyrie can feel the influence of the Darquesse rising in her mind – she wants to come out, she wants to help her, she wants to see the world burn …
The eighth in Derek Landy’s best-selling middle grade fantasy series is another action-packed corker that had me gripped from beginning to end. I really can’t speak highly enough about these books. Landy is a master of plot – there is so much going on here, so many plot strands but Landy weaves them together like an expert so that events you think have dropped to the wayside suddenly become very important. At the same time it’s the relationships that matter in this book. There are a lot of ties here, some of family and friendship and others more complicated (e.g. between Skulduggery and China Sorrows). Particularly good here is the fractured relationship between Valkyrie and Stephanie, her reflection who has become sentient in her own right and increasingly wants to take control of what has become her life but the relationship between the Dead Men – the seven sorcerers (including Skulduggery, Erskine Revel and Ghastly Bespoke) is central to this and Landy uses it to put more meat on the complicated history of his world. There are some significant character deaths in the book, some of which hit me worse than others and there are a lot of shifting allegiances. Landy’s action scenes are as excellent and violent as ever and the pace is completely unrelenting. I honestly had a blast from beginning to end and am planning to dive straight into the final book.
on 5 September 2013
I feel really bad to be the first person to give a 3-star review. I honestly do. I bought the first SP book a few months after it came out back in 2007 to experiment with a new book. I loved it, and ever since I haven't been able to get enough of SP. The reason I loved that first book so much wasn't because of the story (which was brilliant, don't get me wrong there), but it was the characters I adored. The chemistry between Skulduggery and Valkyrie, the witty banter and humour, the emotion displayed in the later books, the complex and suprising storylines, the mindblowingly brilliant characters - this was all utterly brilliant. However I feel LSODM lacks some of those vital elements that us SP fans have grown to love.
With LSODM, while there was some great scenes, let's just say that the scales tip from pretty equal between "banter" and action to being pretty action dominant. The thing that depresses me most about this isn't that the action is bad - it's that all of the action in this book feels like it's been inspired by films; there are constant gun fights, a scene that feels extremely similar to one in a recent Marvel film, and just sequence after sequence that would be too perfect on the big screen.
Another thing that put me off was how long the book takes to reach its climax...and then how long it takes that climax to finish. Things started getting a but exciting by about page 450, and everything died down around page 580. It all felt like too much.
Also, the amount of gun use really shocked me. In practically every fight up building up to the end of the book (in fact, a sniper rifle has an important role in the final battle), there would be some sort of gun use. Whether it be a silenced pistol or a rifle, there would be something. I'm not one of those people who hates guns and thinks they're ghastly things (no pun intended), but this is a series based around magic. The ratio of gun to magic use was pretty much 1:1. It really disappointed me, and it's part of what made the early parts of the book just feel like an action movie.
Some of the characters are just a bit bland. The Monster Hunters particularly - they are predictable, and I'm not sure whether or not Landy deliberately made the interactions between them awkward. To be honest, I wouldn't be suprised if he did, but it just didn't work this time round. Some of it is funny and some of it made me laugh, but other parts just felt like a belated attempt at humorous conversation. Skulduggery's attitude to pretty much everything just felt different - he wasn't smart or snarky, he was just dark.
In terms of the storyline, I didn't feel too let down. It was classic Skulduggery Pleasant, with twists and turns and lots of. However there is a vital, important thing that happens near the end of the book. I'm not going to spoil it, but let's just say that it's what happens at the Temple of the Brides (you'll understand what I mean if you've read the book) - what happened here really impressed me and shocked me, but the way it was dealt with afterwards disappointed me a lot. It was almost as if it never happened.
Please, don't be put off buying the book after what I've said - there are probably far more people that adore the action and guns than people who might share my views. This isn't a bad book by any means, I think I just expected too much light-heartedness and originality from a series that is getting darker and darker and nearing its end. If you've loved all of the other SP books, you'll love this. Thank you for reading. :)
on 29 August 2013
The first thing you've got to know about this book is that everything comes together in it. All those teeny tinny clues that you've read about and forgotten come together. It is a satisfying read and I recommend it to readers of Percy Jackson, by Rick Riordan, or any other person who enjoys reading about secret society's, magic kept hidden and any other thing that leaves me tingling in suspense. I am going to presume that if you are reading this you have read the rest of Derek Landy's Skulduggery Pleasant series. If you have't yet then search up, Playing with Fire, by Derek Landy. this series is amazing, give the books a go.
In this eighth tale of Valkyrie Cain, tension between the Irish Sanctuary and the Supreme Council have exploded, and suddenly, Valkyrie finds herself splat bang, in the middle of war. Trouble is, this war is not the worst of their problems. Valkyrie has been trying to lead two lives, both with paths leading down separate roads. Her reflection no longer seems to reflect her. In the beginning, it seems as if they might stand a chance of winning the war, then everything comes crashing down and Valkyrie has no one there. Just her and Skulduggery against a warring world. Who is killing of the Warlocks? When will Darquesse escape? With the Dead Men back together, hope rises. But this is their last stand, and will the dead men return as seven after war is fought, or will they finally be, dead me.
If you are not yet convinced about buying this book then think about this: Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it, Buy it....
ARE YOU CONVINCED YET?? This book is, awesome a thousand times over.