Review of “Mortal Coil” by Derek Landy

Title: Mortal Coil
Author: Derek Landy
Series: Skulduggery Pleasant #45
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 604
Published: 2010, HarperCollins
My Grade: 4 out of 5 remnants

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Following the shocking revelations of DARK DAYS, get ready for the fifth instalment of the bestselling Skulduggery Pleasant series — guaranteed to contain at least 40% humour, 50% action, and 100% thrills!

The blonde girl with the black lips turned to Valkyrie. ‘We know,’ she said. ‘We’ve seen the future. We know you’re going to kill the world!’

Skulduggery Pleasant and Valkyrie Cain are back — just in time to see their whole world get turned upside down! While they struggle to protect a known killer from an unstoppable assassin, Valkyrie is on a secret mission of her own. This quest, to prevent her dark and murderous destiny, threatens to take her to the brink of death and beyond. And then the body-snatching Remnants get loose, thousands of twisted souls who possess the living like puppets, and they begin their search for a being powerful enough to lead them. Facing such insurmountable odds, Skulduggery, Valkyrie, Ghastly and Tanith can trust no one. Not even each other!

MY REVIEW

Not even halfway through this series and it is already going very very badly for everyone. How will it end?

It took me almost a month and a half to finish this. Perhaps I wasn’t in a reading mode this summer, or I actually might have gotten a little tired of it. I enjoyed it and I smiled widely at some remarks but I found it hard to concentrate. Was it too much action? Too much going on all the time? I generally feel that fighting scenes in books are hard for me to follow. And there were a lot of them in this fifth book in Skulduggery Pleasant series. I will take a break now from it because another book was just released and other books that I’ve been meaning to read for a while. But, Landy is so good at writing cliffhangers. It’s insane. The last one, in the fourth book, was intense and very surprising. And so was this, not as strong though.

Many people died and one thing that bothered me was that it was so casual. As a reader, I barely even noticed that they died. Some books have made me cry out in the open while reading about someone who almost died. But this, with characters I liked, nada. Neither did the characters left alive feel anything. It felt unreal.

Something Landy is really good at, is connecting everything. I didn’t really look for plot holes, but it is very obvious that he has put in a lot of thought into everything. Everything written has a meaning and that is very enjoyable. There most likely are some plot holes, but they are hidden and not very noticable.

I will take a short break in this series and read a couple or three other books. I hope I will have something more constructive to write about #6 when I haven’t almost straight-read all previous ones.

It gets a four out of five.

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Review of “Dark Days” by Derek Landy

Title: Dark Days
Author: Derek Landy
Series: Skulduggery Pleasant #4
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 419
Published: 2010, HarperCollins
My Grade: 3.5 out of 5 villains

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Skulduggery Pleasant is lost on the other side of a portal, with only some evil gods for company. Can he possibly survive? (Yes, all right, he’s already dead. But still.)

Meet Skulduggery Pleasant: detective, sorcerer, warrior.

Oh yes. And dead.

Skulduggery Pleasant is gone, sucked into a parallel dimension overrun by the Faceless Ones. If his bones haven’t already been turned to dust, chances are he’s insane, driven out of his mind by the horror of the ancient gods. There is no official, Sanctuary-approved rescue mission. There is no official plan to save him.

But Valkyrie’s never had much time for plans.

The problem is, even if she can get Skulduggery back, there might not be much left for him to return to. There’s a gang of villains bent on destroying the Sanctuary, there are some very powerful people who want Valkyrie dead, and as if all that wasn’t enough it looks very likely that a sorcerer named Darquesse is going to kill the world and everyone on it.

Skulduggery is gone. All our hopes rest with Valkyrie. The world’s weight is on her shoulders, and its fate is in her hands.

These are dark days indeed.

MY REVIEW

My general feeling about Dark Days is that this is mostly an in-between-book. That this book is only taking you from the previous and transporting you to the next. Som big reveals, recurring characters, but nothing really new.

I did really enjoy the first part, where Valkyrie tries to save Skulduggery in the dimension of The Faceless Ones. That was new and interesting and fun, after that it basically only felt lika a transportation from book 3 to book 5.

Still very entertaining and I smiled several times while reading. As usual.

Review of “The Faceless Ones” by Derek Landy

Title: The Faceless Ones
Author: Derek Landy
Series: Skulduggery Pleasant #3
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 395
Published: 2009, HarperCollins
My Grade: 4.5 out of 5 ecplises

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

The third bone-breaking, belly-busting adventure in the series that puts the “funny” back in, um, funny series. That didn’t really work, did it?

If you’ve read the previous Skulduggery books then you know what the Faceless Ones are — and if you know what the Faceless Ones are, then you can probably take a wild guess that things in this book are going to get AWFULLY sticky for our skeletal hero and his young sidekick. If you haven’t read the previous Skulduggery books then what are you doing reading this? Go and read them right now, so that you know what all that stuff in the previous paragraph was about. Done? Good. So now you’re on tenterhooks too, desperately awaiting the answers to all your questions, and instead you’re going to have to wait to read the book. Sorry about that.

MY REVIEW

I think this description from Goodreads is very good. And is totally what I feel. Writing reviews on books in a series is harder than writing a review on a stand-alone novel. I think I am fairly good at not writing any spoilers, at least I try really hard not to do it.

The only thing I can really say about it, is that it feels like Landy is getting more into this world he has built and his writing style. It feels like he has landed and found something that works. I also see kind of a pattern now after three books. The endings are true cliffhangers with something going terribly in the wrong direction right after a small victory. At first I thought that they always saved the day at the end, but not really. And I like that. The books float together and is just spiraling downwards. How will it end? I get more and more hooked after each book. I wouldn’t be surprised if I finished them all before 2019.

It was slightly sharper than the first two, therefore it gets a 4.5.

Review of “Playing with Fire” by Derek Landy

Title: Playing with Fire
Author: Derek Landy
Series: Skulduggery Pleasant #2
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 389
Published: 2008, HarperCollins
My Grade: 4 out of 5 ecplises

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Skulduggery and Valkyrie are facing a new enemy: Baron Vengeous, who is determined to bring back the terrifying Faceless Ones and is crafting an army of evil to help him. Added to that, Vengeous is about to enlist a new ally (if he can raise it from the dead): the horrible Grotesquery, a very unlikable monster of legend.

Once Vengeous is on the loose, dead bodies and vampires start showing up all over Ireland. Now pretty much everybody is out to kill Valkyrie, and the daring detective duo faces its biggest challenge yet.

But what if the greatest threat to Valkyrie is just a little closer to home?

MY REVIEW

The second book in the Skulduggery Pleasant series was very similar to the first one except that it didn’t need the whole introduction to the world. The action came right away because the characters were already known.

I think the level of sarcasm was a little bit lower than the first? It felt more serious. Not necessarily a bad thing, but the thing that sold me to this story, was the sarcasm and witty dialogue. So that was a small bummer.

On the upside though, the story is very much alive and I was extra surprised in the second half when I actually realized that Landy doesn’t write about details. Like for instance, Valkyrie wears a dress, but there is not a single descriptive word about it. Yet, he totally makes it realistic and visible somehow. Very good job, Landy!

This sums up to a grade of 4.

There was also this short story Gold, Babies and the Brothers Muldoon. Refreshing short story of 26 pages with lots of funny dialogue. I guess it is easier to make a short story incredible with 85% sarcasm. In a whole novel, it shoulnd’t take over. What good would a book be if it was only great because it was funny? There has to be a great story to be told as well. But in a short story, it wors perfectly.

Review of “Skulduggery Pleasant” by Derek Landy

Title: Skulduggery Pleasant
Author: Derek Landy
Series: Skulduggery Pleasant #1
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 392
Published: 2007, HarperCollins
My Grade: 4 out of 5 scepters

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Meet Skulduggery Pleasant

Ace Detective
Snappy Dresser
Razor–tongued Wit
Crackerjack Sorcerer
and
Walking, Talking,
Fire-throwing Skeleton

—as well as ally, protector, and mentor of Stephanie Edgley, a very unusual and darkly talented twelve-year-old.

These two alone must defeat an all-consuming ancient evil.

The end of the world?

Over his dead body.

MY REVIEW

A friend of mine told me about this book series probably four years ago when we started working at Liseberg together. It has been on my to-read list since then. I am stubborn and very selective when it comes to books. Four years is a long time to read something that someone told me I had to read because she/he loved it. I can give three clear examples of book recommendations that I eventually picked up. First we have Throne of Glass, it probably took me two years, but it turned out to be my absolute favorite series (well, one of the many, but it is truly amazing). So that was a good recommendation. The second one was Illuminae and it might have taken me a little less than a year to pick it up? She who told me about it appraised it so much. It was good, but not that good. And now this. Skulduggery Pleasant, the skeleton detective. So weird. And perhaps a bit childish? Four years was definitely too long to wait, but I did read it when I really felt like it, instead of forcing myself to read it when I had tons of other books I felt that I really had to read. I am not disappointed, it was really great!

First of all, I did not get the childish impression of it as it had first given me from the description on Goodreads. Sure, the main character is 12, but that seems to be a good start for characters in a long series. Compare it to Harry Potter.

It is also comparable to Percy Jackson in the way it is written. The whole book is basically 83% sarcasm and witty dialogue and I love it! It makes it fun to read. It makes it easy to read and the pages just flew by. That’s how I like it, easy to read without unnecessary poetic descriptions and metaphors in every other sentece to describe something as simple as breathing in spring air for example. A book should be entertaining yet relaxing to read. If I wanted to learn stuff, I would have read something else than fiction.

At the end of the book was #1.5 in this series, The Lost Art of World Domination. Only a couple dozen or so pages of just one scene where Skulduggery had been captured by a sorcerer who wanted to take over the world. And the way Skulduggery completely defeat that man psychologically was hilarious all the way through! Don’t skip out on it!!

A very enjoyable book, and I honestly can’t really say why I only give it a 4. It just doesn’t feel like it belongs on the shelves where all my fives are. Maybe it should be a 4.5? Eh, doesn’t really matter. A reall good book and I suggest you read it if you agree with what I wrote in the review.