Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Playing With Fire by Derek Landy

Series: Skulduggery Pleasant, Book One
Publisher: HarperCollins
Format: Paperback
Published: 1st September 2008
Number of Pages: 378
Book: Bought
Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, Comedy, Urban Fantasy, Thriller, Suspense, Horror, Action-Adventure, Mystery, Children's, YA, Children's-YA Crossover
Recommended Age: 9+
Contains: Violence (Lots of It - and It's Freaking Awesome), Death, Mild Swearing
No Alcohol, Drug References
Skulduggery Pleasant Site: Skulduggery Pleasant


You know how it is – you think you’ve saved the world, and then ANOTHER evil villain turns up with an unbeatable monster and starts breaking things.

Oh yes, and you’ve got a skull for a head.  A thirteen-year-old girl for a sidekick.  And no clue what to do…

"How about on the Evil Villain Scale?  Ten being Serpine, one being Scapegrace?"
"The Baron, unfortunately, turns it all the way up to eleven."
"Seriously?  Because, you know , that's one more evil."
"It is indeed."
"So we're in trouble then?"
"Oh, yes...”
Stephanie Edgley is now Valkyrie Cain - sorcerer-in-training, detective and partner to Skulduggery Pleasant, a magic, talking, living skeleton.
They saved the world not long ago, you know.  From this crazy guy who wanted to bring back the horrible, human-hating, homicidal gods known as the Faceless Ones.
They like literally just saved the world.
Of course, it didn't stay that way for long.  
Now there's a new crazy guy who wants to bring back the Faceless Ones.  And also this horrid monster-hybrid thing known as the Grotesquery - and yes, as gross as the name and equally killer-crazy and legendary-monster-like.  There's also a whole lot of vampires.  And, like, a lot of dead bodies.  And also a lot of people trying to kill Valkyrie.
You know how it is.  Just another day at the office when your mentor is a skeleton and your best friend is a magic-wielding, high-kicking sorcerer called Tanith.
Well.  Until people slightly closer to home start getting all murdery...
Ohh, how I love this series.  It is honest-to-God one of the bestest series out there ever.  Like, ever ever ever.  I forget how much I love it sometimes.  And I forget to tell everyone in the whole entire world to read it right freaking now.  It's so so so much fun and so so so funny and exciting and awesome and...  Ok, and now I'm rambling...  Um, fangirling over...  Onto the review, please, Megan...
I'll start with the characters.  Why?  Because I love 'em all to death.  Literally.  Kind of is literally, in Skulduggery's case, what with him being a skeleton and all.  But seriously, love 'em.  Skulduggery is, of course, my very favourite.  He's so funny and snarky and witty and just never fails to make me laugh.  I just adore his witty comments during a fight, his way of never shutting up and always managing to make the enemy even angrier.  He always (normally) wins of course, because he is amazing and brilliant and a genius and... well, he knows when to run like hell! 
But I felt that Stephanie really came into her own in this one - really and truly became Valkyrie Cain.  She was usin' magic, fightin' the bad guys, throwin' fireballs, gettin' almost killed and kidnapped and karate chopped... Ok, not that last one.  This book has made my mind go all silly I love it so much.  The point is, ol' Valkyrie is now totally kickbutt, funny, snarky and awesome.  Yay!
And I love Tanith too - she's awesome.  Like, seriously.  Awesome.  Love her.  Especially love her, for lack of a better word, catchphrase: "Come and have a go if you think you're hard enough".  Ha, hilarious!  And Kenspeckle is brilliant as well.  That weird dude who I'm pretty sure was stoned was funny too - Finbar, I believe he was called.  Finbar Wrong.  Did I mention these guys have like the best names ever?  As for the bad guys... Well.   Very very very bad.  And quite scary.  And really crazy.  
But I think that my very favourite bit about the characters is the relationships and interactions - more specifically, the banter between Valkyrie and Skulduggery: it is hilarious.  Like, fall-off-your-chair hilarious.  I can never read this book without grinning.  It is physically impossible.  Even during the exciting, full-of-suspense fight scenes, old Skulduggery never fails to make me grin.   Love it.  
And man are the action scenes awesome!  I love all the fighting, the battles, the twists and turns.  It's just so much fun!  It's like one non-stop adrenaline ride.  Like a roller coaster that's going super super fast, loop-the-looping, corkscrewing, spiralling...  Like being on the Enterprise when it goes into warp.  Um, I am such a nerd.  But still, it's a ride you never want to end, a ride you can't put down, and a ride you instantly wanna jump back on the second you finish.  It is totally addictive, totally exciting and totally awesome.  And, if you haven't guessed, I loved Playing With Fire's plotline.  And I'm picking up The Faceless Ones even as I type this up.
But onto writing: love it!  I cannot even tell you how funny Derek Landy is.  He is a comedy genius.  And he's also an action genius, writing the best fight scenes ever.  But seriously.  Please read one of these books and then you'll get why I gush so much about everything Landy does.  And why I am 100% certain that he is a total freaking genius.  
Actually he is undoubtedly a total genius.  And the Skulduggery Pleasant books are absolute legends.  They are new classics for children.  Each and every one of them has that magic you remember from childhood, no matter how many times you reread them or what your age is.  It just... sparkles.  Every single word, every single page, every single character glitters and just whispers 'read me', like a Siren call.  Irresistible.  Addictive.  Enough to get any reluctant reader hooked.
Now.  Onto The Faceless Ones...

Star Rating:
5 Out of 5

Read this book if you liked:
Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan
Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
Lockwood & Co by Jonathan Stroud

Happy Reading


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