"You will kill her?" the Torment asked. Skulduggery sagged. "Yes." He hesitated, then took his gun from his jacket. "I'm sorry, Valkyrie," he said softly. "Don't talk to me," Valkyrie said. "Just do what you have to do." Valkyrie parted her tunic, and Skulduggery pointed the gun at the vest beneath. "Please forgive me," Skulduggery said, then aimed the gun at the girl and pulled the trigger. With Serpine dead, the world is safe once more. At least, that’s what Valkyrie and Skulduggery think, until the notorious Baron Vengeous makes a bloody escape from prison, and dead bodies and vampires start showing up all over Ireland.
With Baron Vengeous after the deadly armour of Lord Vile, and pretty much everyone out to kill Valkyrie, the daring detective duo face their biggest challenge yet. But what if the greatest threat to Valkyrie is just a little closer to home…?
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Comments about Playing With Fire:
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.
Comments about Playing With Fire:
Praise for Skulduggery Pleasant Hugely enjoyable - a thrill-a-minute adventure.' - Jonathan Stroud
'It's exciting, pacy, nicely handled and fun. I sincerely hope Landy revisits these characters.' - Philip Ardagh, Guardian
'A gripping debut.' - Phil Hogan, Observer
'Skulduggery Pleasant serves up a thoroughly satisfying blend of humour, magic and adventure. Once you've met Stephanie and Skullduggery, you'll be clamouring for a sequel.' - Rick Riordan
"A remarkably accomplished debut with wonderful dialogue." - Robert Dunbar, Irish Times
"[Landy's] fight scenes are perfectly pitched. His characters are exceptionally well drawn and delightfully colourful... Reading [this book] is like riding a rollercoaster." - Irish Independent
"Landy's witty style will win him fans of all ages... With writing of this standard, a rattling plot and definite potential for cross-over appeal, it's a good job Harry's [Potter] resigning before he's forcibly retired." - Irish Mail on Sunday
"Humour and magic combine in this thrilling adventure." Waterstone's Books Quarterly "... people in the book world are raving about this book." - Glasgow Herald
"It's pacy, it's funny, it's irreverent. The relationship between Skulduggery and Stephanie is tremendously strong. Stephanie is a splendid character - blunt, logical and outspoken... We enjoyed Skkulduggery Pleasant. Muchly. Roll on volume two!" - The Book Bag
"A rip-roaring adventure." - Irish Sunday Independent
"Full of black humour, super powers, mysteries, murder and mayhem." - Carousel
Series: Skulduggery Pleasant
For Ages: 9 - 12 years old
Number Of Pages: 350
Published: 1st January 2009
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 19.8 x 12.9 x 2.3
Weight (kg): 0.25