Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Playing with Fire by Derek Landy

Skulduggery Pleasant, living skeleton, elemental mage, and private detective, is back!  With the help of his new apprentice, Stephanie Edgley aka Valkyrie Cain, the good guys will save the world, and the bad guys will be destroyed, making highly inferior jokes on the way down. This story is so perfect, I'm not sure where to start. It's non-stop action from beginning to end, peppered with Skulduggery's signature wit and Valkyrie's exuberant spirit. Once again, the world is saved....for the moment. There are delicious little hints for the next sequel. Who is Billy-Ray Sanguine? Will the Faceless Ones return? What is Valkyrie's reflection self hiding from her? Valkyrie is developing her own style as she discovers fascinating new aspects of the magical world she has discovered. Tanith, China Sorrows, Mr. Bliss, all our old friends are back.....
  • How to train an apprentice:
“Was it a test?” she asked. “I mean, I know I’m still new at this, I’m still the rookie. Did you hang back to test me, to see if I’d be able to handle it alone?”
“Well, kind of,” he said. “Actually, no, nothing like that. My shoelace was untied. That’s why I was late. That’s why you were alone.”
“I could have been killed because you were tying your shoelace?”
“An untied shoelace can be dangerous,” he said. “I could have tripped.”
She stared at him. A moment dragged by.
“I’m joking,” he said at last.
She relaxed. “Really?”
“Absolutely. I would never have tripped. I’m far too graceful.”
  • Checking out the villain's lair:
“Anything suspicious?” Skulduggery asked.
“That depends. Are we treating ordinary walls as suspicious?”
“Not particularly.”
“Then I got nothing.”
  • Battle strategy:
“So that plan worked out well,” he said.
“Skulduggery, your entire plan consisted of, and I quote, ‘Let’s get up close and then see what happens.’”
“All the same,” he said, “I think the whole thing worked out rather beautifully.”

Verdict: A must have for every library. Skulduggery Pleasant is my go-to book for 6th graders, reluctant or voracious readers, doesn't matter. I recommend paying a little extra and purchasing the later volumes from Book Depository as it's confusing and difficult to get the US editions.

ISBN: 978-0061240881; Published May 2008 by HarperCollins; Borrowed from the library; Purchased for the library and for my personal collection

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