Derek Landy – Skulduggery Pleasant: Playing with Fire (Skulduggery Pleasant #2)

Skulduggery Pleasant 2

publisher: Harper Collins
published: 2009
Pages: 416


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? (Amazon)

In (Very) Short:

+ the second book in the series
+ witty and hilarious dialogues
+ likeable and relateable female protagonist

My Opinion:

Since this is the second book in a series, the following review might and probably will contain spoilers.
Stephanie is learning to control her magic, she is Skulduggery trusty colleague and she enjoys her life surrounded by magic, weird creatures and sleuthing skeletons. After defeating Serpine, another super villain seems to be on the rise, Baron Vengeous and he wants to bring the Grotesquery back to life, a creature that can call back the Faceless Ones. Skullduggery and his team now have to do everything to stop that or the world will end – once again.

I am not necessarily sure in how far this really is a detective story since the main protagonist – the skeleton – calls himself a detective. There are some elements there and he uses deduction, yet the book reads more like a magical adventure story than a crime story.

It is great to meet old and witty friends such as Skulduggery, Stephanie, Tanith, China Sorrows and her brother. But I also really like the villains. They are such a divers group driven by different motives, some adhering to their own code, others having no code at all.

Stephanie is a likeable and relateable character. Though she is getting the hang of the whole magic thing, she does fail, she needs to be saved and she is hurt multiple times. I like that she is not a hero overnight and that she learns slowly. I also enjoyed the scenes where she reflects on her family and all the things she misses out on. I don’t think she will change anything because she loves what she does so much, but she does acknowledge it at least.

The writing is wonderful, the dialogues extremely witty. “We’re not retreating, we’re advancing in reverse.” – is just one wonderful example. The narrative pace was thrilling and captivating, the characters are loveable, rounded and still mysterious, the story is concluded but we still don’t know who the one responsible behind it all is. Thus, leaving ample material for new adventures.

Bottom Line:

A wonderful exiting adventure story with great character, witty dialogue and interesting villains.


rating 4


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