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Last Stand of Dead Men - The Book of the Film?
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. :)