"When you're dealing with magic, you can never trust your enemies to stay beaten, or to stay dead…" So I'm going to try to give the spoiler free versio"When you're dealing with magic, you can never trust your enemies to stay beaten, or to stay dead…" So I'm going to try to give the spoiler free version of this plot... Alright, so Valkyrie Cain just found something out – something huge, so huge she doesn't know what to do. So huge and so horrible that she can't even tell her friends... Something... life shattering... Meanwhile, the Irish Sanctuary is reeling from... well, the bomb that killed most of them. It needs to be rebuilt from the bottom up – preferably safely and securely. Yeah, right. And on top of all of this, some mysterious people are plotting to take Skulduggery, Valkyrie and the Sanctuary down. You know. Again. Oh, and the Remnants – evil soulless things that killed thousands last time they were free – are walking among the living once again. And this time, they have a purpose – which is “bloody terrifying”, to quote Tanith Low… All in all, it really isn't going too well. But then, when does anything ever go right for this group? Once again, I'm going to state how much I love the Skulduggery Pleasant series. And each book is even better than the last. Take Mortal Coil, for example. It still had all the action, all the humour, all the fun, all the magic – but it was darker too, more... grown up. More YA than children's – but still appealing to a pre-teen audience, as well as an older one. What can I say: the magic that is SP appeals to everyone, everywhere. It's just so freaking good that it's untrue! So good, in fact, that I finished this 570-odd paged book in an afternoon – on the edge of my seat and laughing my head off the whole time, of course. For that is the magic of Skulduggery Pleasant: more addictive than drugs and funnier than Live At The Apollo crossed with hilarious animal videos. Valkyrie... I really felt for the girl in this one. Poor Val. Still, she's so strong, even when dealing with all these really tough things. And funny all the way through, of course! As for Skulduggery: I love him so much. I don't care about all the kinds, all his dangerous and borderline-sociopathic tendencies – he's so funny, so good, such a good friend to Val... I really hope he stays this way… Tanith: she rocks. Like totally. Ghastly is amazing too. China, whilst being quite cold at times, is awesome. But Fletcher Renn really stole the show for me. He kills me – he’s so funny, but if his ego was any bigger, planets would revolve around him. Seriously. Also, I've gotta say, I kind of liked Billy-Ray in this one. He was good... ish and so freaking funny. And Clarabelle, Grouse's assistant, absolutely killed me – she always does! She's so ditzy! It's brilliant and so, so funny! Val's dad is brilliant too – he, too, is freaking hilarious! Um, have you gathered that I adore the characters in this book, flaws and all? You have? Awesome: moving on. Once again, Landy's writing is stunning. Like I've said multiple times, his writing is pure magic. The dialogue is hilarious and so witty: Landy really knows how to ramp up the suspense and make you laugh all at the same time. His fight scenes are beyond compare: so vivid and bloody that you can see it all in your mind... And as for the plot of Mortal Coil: holy hell, Batman! This plot was nonstop thrills, spills and violence! Seriously, there were so many freaking twists it was untrue. I never knew where I would go next. I also didn't know who would survive til the next chapter: Derek really has a passion for killing off his characters... Seriously, though, Mortal Coil was dark and exciting and suspenseful and I loved every single moment of this twisting rollercoaster. I can't believe it took me this long to point it out, but I'm really pleased that Skulduggery Pleasant isn't set in America or even the UK – there are sooo many paranormals set in the USA so one set in Ireland is a really nice change. The notion of Ireland being "a cradle of magic" is cool too – much, I guess, like the theory behind Sunnydale in Buffy or the house and nexus in Charmed; natural sources of magic and supernatural activity. This is really turning into a nerdsfest, which wasn't my original point at all (I think) so I'll move on now... Anyway, what I'm trying to say in this long and rambly fangirly review (well, might as well continue the trend: I have a whole series of fangirly SP reviews – why stop now?!) is that Mortal Coil is the best book in a brilliant series. I could be stuck on a desert island with any of the SP books and I'd be happy for eternity because they just never get old. SP is the perfect escape and I will love it forever and ever. I will also never stop recommending it to everyone, no matter their age, gender, etc – not even when I'm old and grey and meant to pretend I like 'intellectual' books, like War and Peace. So yes. Mortal Coil is amazing. And you all need to read SP. Right now. I mean it: I can't recommend it enough. Derek, I love you and you are my god. I worship you the way the Remnants worship Darquesse. Maybe that's wrong, but I don't care. And on that (mildly disturbing) note: Megan out....more
"On Sunday the world changes." "On Sunday the world is saved." "Yes," Skulduggery said, "well, we’ll see about that..." The Death Bringer has been chosen"On Sunday the world changes." "On Sunday the world is saved." "Yes," Skulduggery said, "well, we’ll see about that..." The Death Bringer has been chosen – but it's not Valkyrie Cain (for once)... The Death Bringer, who is meant to bring about the mysterious 'Passage', which is meant to make the world better and solve death. Too good to be true? Almost certainly... Lord Vile, the previous candidate for Death Bringer, has also returned. He's also a notorious war criminal. Not good. And meanwhile the Sanctuary is going through massive changes, the Faceless Ones fanatics are stirring again, Tanith is missing, China's being blackmailed and Val is having some serious boyfriend troubles...
I'd forgotten about Death Bringer – forgotten, repressed, same difference... All the Skulduggery Pleasant books get progressively darker as the series goes on. But this one... it just breaks my heart every time. So very many things go so very wrong and... uh! I can't read Death Bringer without getting this horrid spasm in my heart. And yet even as these painful little twinges were happening, I was laughing my head off. Because Derek Landy has a serious gift. Hell, he has gifts plural; mad gifts. He's so gifted that his freaking gifts have gifts, and they too have gifts, and then they... You get the picture, right? My point is I adore Skulduggery Pleasant. Skulduggery... you understand so much more about him in this book – why he is who he is, why he's like he is. And... to begin with it's a little disturbing but then... then your heart breaks in two. Oh, Skulduggery! I just want to give him a hug, even if it would be a little bit of a painful hug – you know, all the bones. He is a skeleton, after all. Ok, sorry: these jokes suck... Moving on: he's so amazing, he's so funny and he's so damaged. I love him. As for Valkyrie: she annoyed me in this one. She was just... selfish. And also a little mean – poor Fletch! However, she was also badass and funny and real and good at heart. Come on: what teenager isn't a little self-involved? And also the poor girl's had a hell of a lot to deal with, especially for a sixteen-year-old. You just have to see her with Skulduggery or her uncle or her parents or her baby sister to see what a good person Val really is. I really love this girl – flaws and all. Speaking of Fletcher Renn – break my heart! Poor poor Fletch... I really felt for China in this one too: she's done some bad stuff but she's trying to make amends. She has friends for the first time ever and she doesn't want to be alone anymore. I want to give her a hug too. And then there's Caelan... Um, he creeped me out. He was also unintentionally hilarious – with his cliché gothic proclamations of "eternal" and "burning passion". Ha! Seriously: so funny! But my fave supporting character? Val's dad: that man seriously kills me!
Once again, and as always, Landy's writing is second to none. It's not the most elegant, but it's adrenaline-fuelled, action-packed, hilarious and surprisingly emotional and deep for a MG fantasy book featuring a skeleton detective. I love Landy's writing – so, so much. And as for the plot for this one: Unpredictable. Awesome. A roller coaster. Non-stop. These are just a few of the words that pop to mind. Awesome in particular, since Derek Landy is undeniably awesome. Oh, totally twisty is another phrase – because damn! Death Bringer is just full of twists! Seriously: this book is as unpredictable as a rabid dingo on drugs! Does it get any more unpredictable than that? To sum it up, Death Bringer was the most awesome book out of the most awesome series. I know I say that with each new book, but it's true. Death Bringer was emotional, hilarious, addictive and a perfect escape. I wish I could live in this world, with these people – even if I died or was just in the background. Because I love them all that much. Love Derek Landy and SP that much. And I really, really want you all to read this series if you haven't yet. I mean, you've been listening to me gush about this series for six books: when are you going to take my advice and read this amazing, amazing series?! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go and reread Kingdom of the Wicked. Ciao!
Oh: P.S. This should be Derek Landy's catchphrase: "Be off with you. I have a book to write, characters to kill, and a party to plan." That is literally the most Derek Landy thing ever, even if it came out of Gordon’s mouth....more
4 Out of 5 "I was filled with all this pent-up rage and frustration. Where was Syd? What had happened to her? Why did she leave? Why the hell couldn't4½ Out of 5 "I was filled with all this pent-up rage and frustration. Where was Syd? What had happened to her? Why did she leave? Why the hell couldn't I find her?" Tim Blake's daughter Sydney is staying with him over the summer, working in a hotel an hanging out with her best friend Patty. One day, she comes down for breakfast wearing a pair of Versace sunglasses. Tim knows there's no way she could afford them on her salary. So he confronts her about them. She storms out, furious at him. She doesn't come back. To begin with, Tim thinks she's just mad. But then one days goes into two and then three... He knows something is wrong. But when he goes to the hotel she's meant to work out to ask after her, he finds out that no one has heard of Syd, no one has even seen her. He searches the street. Nothing. Then her car turns up in a parking lot. There is blood on the door. Caught up in every parent's worst nightmare, Tim strikes up his own desperate search for his daughter. And before long, he finds out something so so much worse - he isn't the only one looking for Syd. And the others? Safe to say they don't want to bring her home safe and sound. Can Tim find her first? And what made her run in the first place...? And should he find her, will he recognise the daughter who returns...? I read No Time For Goodbye by Barclay a few years ago, back when it came out in 2008, I think, after my aunt lent it to my mum – yes, yes, I snatched it before mum could read it. It just looked too good! And it really was too good – mindblowingly so. I still remember feeling so freakishly hoked to this book and zooming through it in no time at all. So when I saw a set of three of Barclay's books on Book People for like five quid, I snatched them up. One was my dear No Time For Goodbye, a book I can't wait to reread. Another was this, Fear The Worst, which I read the blurb of and instantly started reading. It was just as hooking and suspenseful land mystery-filled and amazing. Barclay has honest-to-God gotta be one of my favourite suspense authors. Like, ever. One of the reasons has to be the fact that the books of his I've read never have the main character as a cop or a PI or something like that. No, these are all just normal people who are in these horrid situations, trying to get to the bottom of their own private mysteries or losses. Like in No Time For Goodbye, the lead was a woman whose entire family disappeared when she was a child, and she's spent the rest of her life blaming herself and looking for them. And in this, in Fear the Worst, the main character is a guy named Tim Blake whose daughter just suddenly disappeared, and when he goes to look for her at her supposed place of work, they say they've never even heard of her. So this is a story about a father desperately trying to find his daughter. Seeing a theme here? Speaking of Tim Blake, I really liked him as a character. He was very real and you could really feel for the poor guy – I felt so sorry for him. He had some brilliant quirks – his habit of calling cars their proper names and of constantly getting himself into trouble! I also thought Patty was just brilliant - so blunt and matter of fact. And Sydney, she was a real teenager – she felt very, very normal and real. She was a good kid, very caring and smart, but she wasn't perfect, which just made her more believable and likeable. I really enjoyed getting to know a young Syd through Tim's flashbacks. The writing was amazing - suspenseful and mystifying and addictive. It was written in first person from Tim's POV – I do love crime novels written in first person and there are so few of them. They make me really feel involved in solving the case, giving me real insight into these crime solvers, be they cops, PIs or desperate fathers of a lost girl. And the plot was mindblowingly addictive. It's freaking ridiculous how addictive it was really! And I loved how twisty the plot was – I never knew what to expect, what would come next, when the next twist would come. I loved that constant suspense and numerous big time shocks. Like oh-my-god-where-is-my-jaw kinda shocks. And the end... It just left me reeling! Evil ending! This was one hell of a book – such an amazing book to start 2013 with. All future thrillers will be measured to this book. To the way this book left me shocked and an emotional wreck and just with my mind 100% blown. It was stunning. Seriously. Just absolutely freaking amazing. I can't recommend it enough. Honestly. I've already passed it onto my cousin, the second I finished, literally. So, again. Whoa. ...more
4 Out of 5 "Lux E Tenebris: Light Out Of Darkness" One night Jamie Carpenter's dad Julian came home early. That night there was something outside - tha4½ Out of 5 "Lux E Tenebris: Light Out Of Darkness" One night Jamie Carpenter's dad Julian came home early. That night there was something outside - that Jamie knew. What... he had no clue… That same night Julian was shot dead by the police, after pulling a gun on them... He told Jamie nothing, only to take care of his mother. The next day, they were informed Julian was a terrorist, a traitor, and their life hasn't been the same since. Two years later, Jamie's mum is taken; by the same things Julian was so scared of all those years ago... Jamie is desperate to find his mum, but he has no idea how. Until Department 19 break through his door. Department 19, the reason the world is still living, the ones who battle the vast army of undead. But something even they cannot deal with is threatening to rise. Can Jamie save his mother in time, or will the whole world die first...? I love a good action novel, especially if it includes butt-kicking lead characters! Department 19? Ah-maz-ing! With non-stop action, the most amazing mythology and a gadget-packed, super-secret agency whose job was killing vampires, this was a book I fell in love with from the word go. I raced through it, eating it all up. And y'know what? I wanna be a Department 19 agent! Failing that, give me lots, lots, lots more books in this series please, Mr Hill! I loved all the characters, our hero Jamie in particular. He was curious and sweet and brave and determined, and just felt so much like a real teen boy. A teen boy I loved absolutely to pieces! Another one I loved was Larissa, who was a vampire and a character who caught my interest from the moment we first met her. I loved learning more about her past and how funny she was, teasing Jamie! She was really strong and sweet and brave, and not at all a monster! But I think my favourite may just be Colonel Victor Frankenstein, AKA Frankenstein’s Monster. He was a little scary at first, but when you got to see how sweet and cheerful and caring he was, when you got to see into his past and how he became who he is you just can’t help loving him! And man our villain was terrifying! Alexandru Rusmanov, a vampire – a scary vampire. Animalistic, violent and pure evil, he really gave the super-scary-heebie-jeebies. He was, literally, an "immortal psychopath"! And Larissa and Jamie's relationship was brilliant. Admittedly, it didn’t start of great, what with Larissa trying to kill Jamie and all, but slowly trust – and more – developed. It was really sweet and really real. I just loved the writing, how I got to see into the past and into Department 19 – especially how it was created. Seeing it all from Jamie's POV let us see this world in a new and amazing light - we were discovering it all right along with him. And all the other action we got to see, all the other characters, were so well thought out, so real. This was amazing and unprecedented for me - I've never met such amazing in-it-for-one-chapter characters! And the plot was just incredible! Full of twists and turns and just non-stop action, Department 19 had me constantly on the edge of my seat. Full of twists and one heckuva conspiracy, it was just so darn addictive! Although I had suspicions about where everything was going, I was still hooked and was constantly surprised. As for the ending? Oh. My. God. I, quite frankly, had to read Book Two the second I finished!! I loved the vampire mythology! It was brilliant! And I loved how the Dracula story tied in, the legend. It was awesome and new, yet traditional. And it wasn't just vamps either, something that made me super excited! Overall? Awesome and so rich! And it was all so believable in a totally supernatural way. Or maybe that's 'cause I'm weird and just want it to be real 'cause I WANNA BE IN DEPARTMENT 19!! Or maybe it's just the rich backstory and history, the utterly believable characters, the oh-so convincing spy-ish-ness of the Department. Oh well. Whatever it was, I loved EVERY SINGLE SECOND! With a top secret government agency, vampires everywhere and one boy caught in it all, Department 19 was action-packed, addictive and just all round amazing. 007 and MI5 are no longer cool: give me Department 19 and Colonel Frankenstein any day! I simply cannot wait to read The Rising. ...more