Skulduggery Pleasant: Playing With Fire by Derek Landy
Let me start off by saying that this review may be a bit biased because I love Skulduggery Pleasant. Seriously, right now, he and Sherlock Holmes are mud-wrestling in my head for the number 1 spot on my literary crush list.
Yeah. It’s hot.
Anyway, if you haven’t read the first one, none of this one will make any sense, but let me say that Skulduggery and Valkyrie (nee Stephanie) are back in fine form here. There is world-threatening danger, lots of action, lots of creatures (vampires and spiders and a Grotesquery, oh my!), and lots and lots of the trademark Skulduggery wit. I’m not sure I would recommend this to the younger set very readily because the aforementioned creatures (especially the vampires – the sparkly Cullen clan, they are not) are fairly scary and Landy doesn’t hold back in the fight scenes – people are hurt and people die.
Valkyrie really comes into her own in this book – last time I complained that when the action shifts its focus from Skulduggery Pleasant, I found myself skimming ahead to the next time he appeared. But now, not only are Skulduggery’s lessons in elemental magic and Tanith’s lessons in fighting rubbing off on Valkyrie, she’s also picking up Skulduggery’s brand of wit. She’s still not quite as cool as he is, but she’s getting there.
And fortunately for us, it looks as though Skulduggery and co. haven’t completely averted the end of the world, only postponed it for a bit, so I’m expecting there to be a sequel – yay! Although, I must say, for a book that got a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly last time, there was not a lot of press for this one – I only thought to check when my eye caught on my copy of the first one and I thought ‘Shouldn’t it be about time for the second one?’ Turns out it was released in May, but I didn’t hear anything about it and when I went to B&N to pick it up, they didn’t have any copies of it and Borders only had one! I’m hoping for Skulduggery’s sake that there was a run on them moments before I entered the shop because otherwise, that’s disgraceful behavior on the part of the bookshops!
Also. I’m not crazy about the more cartoonish cover of this one. The UK version is much better:
Much more stylish and cool, which I think suits the book better.
My rating: A