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4.7 out of 5 stars176
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 24 September 2009
I absolutely adored Skulduggery Pleasant; I counted down the days until the sequel was released, bought it the second it came onto the shelves and had read it within hours. (:

`Playing with Fire' lives up to the original book and more as we carry on where we left Valykrie, developing her powers and fighting bad guys, bigger and more horrid than before. With the help of her reflection she spends each day battling with evil, but will she start to miss the home life the `fake' her is living? Or will the mysterious beings, magic powers and constant time off school be enough to keep her happy?!

Each page is bursting with action and thrills and the hilariously quick witted humour of Derek Landy runs perfectly with the mysterious storyline. The characters from the first book stay put and new ones are introduced, from the lovely to the bizarre. Each chapter is described with fantastic detail, and the fight scenes (which I usually find boring in books) are packed with adrenaline, excitement and fear.

I haven't enjoyed a children's fantasy book series this much since Harry Potter. Read all of them. Instantly.
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on 28 July 2009
My daughter is 11yrs old and so I had a peek at a couple or three chapters to make sure they were ok (censored them in other words).
I only meant to read a couple of pages, the books were so enthralling that it took some one else to remind me I'd bought them for my daughter.

When my daughter read them, I had to ask her to mark the page and save some for tommorrow- she would have read all night.
Brilliantly written and VERY enthralling.
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on 1 April 2008
My son and I have been waiting for the second book from Derek Landry since finishing the first Skulduggery Pleasent.

We devoured it as soon as it got into greedy hands. Neither of us were disappointed. It starts at a fast pace and doesn't slow down carrying you away on this exhilirating adventure.

Derek Landy has a brilliant way of creating belivable characters. My son describes Skulduggery as a skeletal Dr Who without the time travel, just the quick wit and whacky humour.

If you haven't read this book yet then please do. It is a book you can share as a family, as it is not age dependant.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 19 September 2009
Stephanie Edgely never could have predicted the death of her beloved Uncle Gordon would lead to her rebirth as Valkyrie Cain, magical apprentice to the world famous skeleton detective Skulduggery Pleasant.

Instead of attending school, doing homework, and spending time with her family like other thirteen-year-old girls, Valkyrie sends her reflection to carry out the mundane duties of everyday life, while she prowls the streets of Dublin with Skulduggery, honing her abilities and hunting down villains by order of The Elders back at Sanctuary.

Skulduggery harbors suspicions about head and (presently) sole council member Thurid Guild, suspicions that only increase when one of the Malevolent's most fanatical, intelligent, and powerful generals, Baron Vengeous, escapes from his secretly located prison. Aided by the vampire Dusk and razor-blade wielding U.S. import Billy-Ray Sanguine, Vengeous plans to complete a mission Lord Vile set in motion years ago.

With the help of China Sorrows and Tanith Low, Skulduggery and Valkyrie must put together the various pieces of the Baron's plot before he resurrects the Grotesquery (a monster assembled from the most fearsome beasts of legend) and brings the Faceless Ones back to life.

PLAYING WITH FIRE is a swiftly paced novel that delivers adventure and suspense without sacrificing character and relationship development. The relationships between Valkyrie and her mentors have deepened in this second novel, yet we also see a distance being created from her family and old life.

Readers will be satisfied with the novel's plot wrap-up, yet still hunger for the next installment thanks to Derek Landy's overarching hints and teases of a much larger conspiracy. To sum up, PLAYING WITH FIRE is a clever, snarky, satisfying read.

Reviewed by: Cat
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on 24 July 2011
This review is based on all the books that Derek Landy has released so far- 1-5. I think his books are fantastic, and take my words as im fifteen and im reading books like these. Derek makes reading easy and enjoyable- for those kids who have to rent a book for school or if a parent wants them to read then chose skulduggery pleasent. I got excited reading his next book, then the next until number 5 (which I am reading now- absolutely fantastic!) I would've liked to have done a separate review for all 5 books, but because they are all the same standard, and brilliance, what is the point? I think that number 4 and 5 are the best ones so far- Derek has included more action, drama and suspense. Now I dont want to write a review this long, but I do want to say an important thing. For those wanting to read a completely different new book,just try and read skulduggery pleasent 1 and then work your way through. Trying and reading this book isn't difficult, rent the book from your local library if your not sure if you will like the book(s) or not. I think that now it is the summer holidays, it will be easier to read and I can still go out with my mates and have a nice time and read in the evening. My final sentence0 enjoy reading it!
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on 19 May 2012
I'm going to avoid discussing plot etc. and just say this book is utter escapism. More fun, excitement and dark humour from Derek Landy. Read this in about two days. To help you with your buying decision these comments are coming from a 29 year old fan of harry potter, hell boy, buffy the vampire slayer and discworld. If you like any of these you'll probably like this.
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on 30 August 2013
I am generally considered a little too old to be reading children's books; however I proceed to do so on a regular basis. After having Skulduggery Pleasant enthusiastically recommended to me by my eleven year old cousin, I decided it might be an enjoyable easy read.

I was correct.

It's not literary genius. It's not an absolute masterpiece of fantasy. What it is is a lot of fun, a lot of fights and a lot of fire. It's highly entertaining stuff, completely bizarre in places but utterly on the mark in others (I sympathised way more than I probably should have with Stephanie and am now thoroughly jealous of Valkyrie!)

So if for an easy read with the kids or you're simply not in the mood for hard-hitting fantasy epics, read this.
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on 29 January 2012
This book is about a girl called Stephanie who starts to get involved in magic. When you start to learn magic you have to choose a new name otherwise people can control you. The name Stephanie chooses is Valkyrie Cain. The main plot is that this evil person: Baron Vengeous is trying to bring back some dark Gods called The Faceless Ones and Valkyrie, Skulduggery and some of their friends have to stop them.

Valkyrie has a very stubbon side to her however there is a joking humorous side as well.

I would recommend this book to people who like slightly violent, action- packed kind of books, although it is so good your nan would probably enjoy it. I would give this book a ten out of ten rating. I just love it!

SamR Age 10
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on 25 October 2013
This book held me from the beggining untill the very end and left me despretly wanting more. But unfortunatly I can`t get it :(. Yet. I have said this before and will say this again, these books are the very definition of awsome. Funny, dark action scenes that will make you want to jump to the rescue of a poor old lady and save the day and strong funny charecters. If I could I would give this a 100000000000000/5 but not suprisingly I cant! My only flaw is that I could of bought book 7 in the series for 20 more pence and it had over 600 pages while this only has 300orso. One of my faveroute books and realy only outmatched by another book in the serIes. Derek, you are AMAZING!!
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on 26 August 2015
Book two of the Awesomely Awesome Skulduggery Pleasant series takes off shortly after after the end of book one. The characters we all fell for from the series’ commencement return, even the reflection of Stephanie, which in my opinion was the intellectual highlight of the series so far. New characters are added, too, mind you they are reinforcements for the book’s set of baddies. Three names, Vengeous, Dusk and Sanguine. They sound like exotic ice cream flavours, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

These guys ain’t sweet fellow book lovers.

The book revolves around the decidedly dastardly plot to raise a hideous sounding being called the Grotesquery - an excellent name for a truly revolting but very clever creation. It is the combination of the body parts of a huge number of human victims, all combined by a set of maniacs into one hideous creation. The idea is to bring it to life with the blood of one of ’The Ancients’ - but if that fails, a fallback is to use the blood of a descendant of an Ancient. And are you thinking what I am thinking? Valkeyrie Cain.

Run, girl, run!

This book is a huge success on most levels. The jokes are back, the sense of fun is back, the overall feelings of joy, contentment, escapism, potential giggliealities (I just made that word up, by the way!) all rise to the surface of your mind, and that of your consciousness every time the reader is lucky enough to jump back into the crazy world of Mr Bones. The only thing lacking - and in my book, it’s a biggie - is the sense of wonder and awe (not unlike the feeling you get when you read a science fiction classic) that makes you stop and realise how brilliant you have to be in order to get a marketable work of fantasy out into the marketplace.

Book one had it. And the highlight then was the creation and use of Stephanie’s Reflection. Both Stephanie and her Reflection return for book two, but apart from some philosophical and metaphysical questions relating to her use late in the book, there is nothing new for us fans of Mr Landy to salivate over.

Don’t get me wrong here - the book is a great way for kids (and adults) of all ages to spend some of their hard earned pocket money and giggle away in a quiet corner of their local library. The plot has plenty of twists and turns, and laughs and more than its fair share of scares. And the ending is a doozie. But whilst book one stood out from a crowded bookshelf for its originality and truly brilliant ideas, some of those ideas, and some of the associated originality failed to make the trip to the sequel.

Which is only slightly unfortunate. I was hoping for a five star classic as a follow on from book one but all I got for my moolah was YET ANOTHER EXCELLENT ADVENTURE OF THE WALKING, TALKING BAG OF BONES AND HIS VERY BRAVE AND EXTREMELY INTELLIGENT ASSISTANT STEPHANIE.

Four stars for this effort. Definitely good enough to persuade me to purchase book three, which is recommendation enough in its own right.

BFN Greggorio!
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