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4.8 out of 5 stars168
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Valkyrie Cain and company are back for another daring, supernatural adventure in Derek Landy's THE FACELESS ONES. This is the best SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT novel I've read so far, with much more development of the characters, their relationships, and higher stakes than we've ever seen before. If you thought life was dangerous for this crowd in the first two books, hold on to you hats - 'cause things only get worse from here.

Teleporters across the world are being murdered. Despite the suspension of his official title as Sanctuary's lead investigator, skeleton detective Skulduggery Pleasant and his young protégé, Valkyrie Cain, are on the case. It's small wonder then, when they're contacted by the world's last trained teleporter, Emmett Peregrine, for protection. But when Peregrine is murdered by members of The Diablerie on ace swordswoman Tanith Low's watch, the savvy duo knows the stakes have risen to an all-time high. For this time our heroes aren't just facing a skilled dark sorcerer intent on revenge, but a crazed madman determined to bring back a nearly indestructible force: The Faceless Ones.

What I enjoyed so much this time around was how Mr. Landy maintained the plot's forward-charging momentum, while simultaneously deepening the relationships between the main characters. The affection between Valkyrie and her new group of friends grows more apparent with each book, especially the almost parent/child attachment between her and Skulduggery, despite his best efforts to remain aloof. These familial stirrings are further evidenced when both mad scientist Kenspeckle Grouse and ex-boxer-turned-fine-tailor Ghastly Bespoke express deep concern over the increasing risks Valkyrie's new job poses to her life.

There are also wonderful scenes demonstrating how much "life" Valkyrie is missing out on by allowing her mirror self to take over her everyday activities, whether it's her first kiss, the growing distance in the relationship with her parents, or Tanith's tacit agreement with Kenspeckle's belief that Val needs friends her own age. As she sustains one injury after another and multiple near-death encounters, it becomes clear to the reader (if not Valkyrie herself) that this wickedly cool existence comes at a high price.

I applaud Derek Landy for not being afraid of taking the SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT novels in an even darker direction and showing the effects such events have on his young heroine's psyche. I'm eagerly anticipating book #4.

Reviewed by: Cat
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on 1 April 2009
Skuduggery Pleasant is Back! A brilliant book, with a fab plot, this new one is the best without question. I read this in 2 days. You just can't put it down. And the cliffhanger is un expected...
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Six months after the events in SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT: PLAYING WITH FIRE Skulduggery and Valkyrie remain fired from the Sanctuary, but are conducting their own private investigation into why Teleporters are being systematically murdered and who is responsible. With the help of Tanith Low, China Sorrows and the newly reanimated Ghastly Bespoke, they work to protect the last Teleporter alive, the arrogant 17-year-old Fletcher Renn from a dreadful conspiracy to bring the Faceless Ones into our world, a conspiracy that has placed traitors at the heart of the Sanctuary and which sees Skulduggery and Valkyrie face new enemies and even betrayal from trusted friends.

The third in Derek Landy's brilliant Skulduggery Pleasant series is a wonderful mix of dark fantasy and laugh out loud humour. Once again, Skulduggery and Valkyrie are pitted against a plot to bring back the Faceless Ones, but here the stakes have never been more set against them, with the Grand Mage, Thurid Guild determined to prevent their return to the Sanctuary and their foe having resources and cunning that matches even their resourcefulness.

Exciting and fast paced though the central mystery is, what sets this series apart is the strength of characterisation and the way Landy builds small elements into the over-riding story arc. My particular favourite is the on-going mystery surrounding Valkyrie's reflection, who is leading her `normal' life and enjoying the experiences that should rightfully be hers, while all the time keeping secrets of her own. Indeed, one of the main themes of this book is how Valkyrie's adventures are preventing her from having a normal life and doubts are raised even by Skulduggery's allies as to whether he is doing the right thing by including her in his battles.

Ghastly Bespoke is a welcome return to the series and both he and Tanith get a fair amount of page time. There are also some great new characters - Fletcher Renn is a cocky addition who has more faith in his abilities than he should, while the creepy Necromancer Solomon Wreath has an interest in Valkyrie that could lead her to take a different path to that of Skulduggery.

Although the book is aimed at 9 - 12 year olds, there is a lot of violence, which might not be suitable for more sensitive readers. It ends with a nail-biting cliff hanger that certainly has me desperate to get the next book.
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on 14 May 2009
yet another brilliant offering from derek landy. after waiting for my mum to finish reading this book, i finally curled up to read this 3rd book of the series and wow. humour, drama,trauma,suspense, all in one book. my cousin, another avid fan kept asking if i'd read it yet and after just 2 evenings i could answer yes! counldn't put it down and now can't wait for next one. (i have met mr landy and he has promised loads more). someone should take these stories and make films, i love them better than harry potter which is very high praise.
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on 1 May 2009
This is easily as good as the the previous 2 in the series, so if you liked those you'll like this. As with those the story can be enjoyed individually. It follows the relationship between a (now)young teenage girl (with a dual identity), an ancient skeleton detective and a plot to save the world from the evil Faceless Ones! Its funny and brilliantly read with spoofy, spooky sound effects. The humour is quite droll and sarcastic with 'over the top fight scenes' and speedy action great for long car journeys.
Im keen for another installment!
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on 27 April 2009
I really enjoyed the first two Skulduggery books, and wasn't in the least disappointed with the newest one. This book continues the tradition of twisty plot turns, well-drawn characters with huge-yet-developing personalities, magic, super-evil enemies, fast-paced and suitable action . . . perfect? Nah; but it's a whole lot of fun to read. Would definitely recommend.
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on 27 April 2009
We love this book the third in the son 13 and I have been reading them together and just love the whole idea......when will someone take on the movie rights???
Easy enough reading and plenty of things happening to satisfy today's teenagers and great fun for us parents to read to keep up with what's in at the moment
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on 27 March 2009
I bought this for my son as an alternative Easter present and he has read it in three days! In his 12 year old words 'its brilliant, so good mum, full of surprises and left open for another book'. From what I can gather it has a great mixture of action and adventure with well known characters from the previous books.
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on 20 February 2010
Darker than the first two, "The Faceless Ones" is the best book, so far, in the nine book, three trilogy, Skulduggery Pleasant series.

It's dark from beginning to end in this one, as Skulduggery and Valkyrie try to track down the murderer of four Teleporters. Now fourteen, Valkyrie is having some difficulty with her reflection and a normal teenage life.
Accompanied by some new allies(one in particular than Valkyrie would like to strangle right now) and new villains, this book is exciting,trilling,funny and has one hell of a cliff-hanger.

Recommended for teenagers between 12-15. Ten out of Ten. Brilliant book.
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on 19 January 2016
Skulduggery and his sidekick Valkyrie have got their work cut out this time. The baddies are trying to open up a portal to bring the über baddies into the real world and wallop everything to pieces. Naturally Skulduggery and Valkyrie and co. are the only people on the planet anywhere near capable of putting a stop to it all, and so ensues an enormous battle and lots of tension and double-crossingness.

As with the previous books, this latest adventure is great fun and, refreshingly, the nucleus of the goodies is now represented by a large group of characters - Tanith, Ghastly, Fletcher etc. - rather than just the two leads. The mysterious China also finally comes to somewhere near prominence - arguably the best character of the story so-far.

There is lots of intrigue and a constant threat, and the story is bulleted with some fantastic set-pieces: most notably one on the Liffey Bridge. The first seeds of the back-story are also planted in readiness for further tales (what is this mysterious link between China and Skulduggery?!?).

The Faceless Ones is definitely better than Playing with Fire (book 2), and wraps up the first trilogy in the Pleasant story nicely. Full of twists and turns and some clever plot devices (Skulduggery’s head(s)?), and a fantastic read throughout. I also think that this book would make a fantastic film.

There is however one word of warning which has to be brought to light: While the series so-far has always been filled with great battles and lots of evil goings-on, there are one or two points in this book that are quite nasty; borderline extremely violent. The adventure in general is great fun, but for a target audience of 9-12 year olds, you may want to be careful with a couple of scenes (not least the last battle).

That said, the Skulduggery series is back to its best, and I’m looking forward to book 4 - Dark Days.
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