Monday, 30 August 2010

Skullduggery Pleasant: Playing with Fire by Derek Landy

Playing with Fire (Skulduggery Pleasant, Book 2)
Valkyrie Cain has taken a liking to her dead uncle’s friend Skullduggery Pleasant and is now something of an apprentice in his detective agency. Only it’s a bit special this agency. For one, Skullduggery is a skeleton, for another his clients and cases are seldom normal. They mostly belong to the parallel world where vampires and demons really do exist and are usually trying to escape or find something that isn’t really walking on the right side of the law. Valkyrie vastly prefers this life to the dull, boring one she grew up in and cleverly ditches school on a daily basis to learn much more interesting and useful things like how to kill a vampire and use elemental magic.

When Baron Vengeous escapes from his jail cell somewhere deep in the heart of Russia, Skullduggery knows that problems are bound to appear soon. Vengeous wants to continue his quest to return the Faceless Ones to power (anyone called Faceless has just got to be evil, haven’t they?). With the help of Dusk the Vampire, the assassin Billy-Ray Sanguine and various other unsavoury characters, he intends to reanimate his grotesquery as a first step. Skullduggery knows he must stop this before it goes to far to stop it and so he and Valkyrie set out to save the world, again.

I love Skullduggery. Yes, it’s a children’s book, yes, it’s a bit silly, but it’s fun. I especially love the really dry humour that keeps it from taking itself too seriously. Right up my ally. It’s also not always easy to discern where the plot will take you, so it’s a bit of a roller coaster ride and never gets boring. Again, it’s an easy, enjoyable read, perfect for Sunday afternoons when you don’t want to think too much. It’s not going to win a Nobel prize any time soon, but I don’t care. I loved it. 5/5 for sheer fun.

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