Monday, 4 October 2010

How Cool is that Skeleton?

My hero.
During our lovely, lovely holiday where the sun nearly always shined and the beaches were secluded, deserted and beautiful, Lauren and myself read a whole bunch of children's books to review. "Why did we do this?" you shout like loutish objectors against adults that read books for kids. Well for two reasons:


  1. Lauren is writing a children's book and it was a chance to look at other new/popular books.
  2. Skulduggery Pleasant looks like the coolest character to have ever graced a book cover. 
I've been secretly wanting to read a Skulduggery Pleasant book for ages now. I mean look at him, over there, looking all cool with his skull and pimps hat on. I want to be him. I want to be a skeleton detective that shoots fire balls and stuff.

So before I got on with my review, which will be completely objective, I promise, here are the books we'll be reviewing over the next couple of weeks. We took a mix of established and new authors as well as picking books in the middle of series to see if you could jump straight into them.

So all those will be reviewed by one or both of us in the next week. Unfortunately one won't be. Which book has missed out? Which one will you have to wait a bit longer for the review for? Find out...SOON!

So Skulduggery Pleasant: Playing with Fire. Cover, amazing. Really like it. The front with him and Valkyrie on, the stitched together monster on the back, the little S.P. insignia at the top of the spine. It should be studied at university as the near pinnacle of book cover art. But I shall not judge a book by its cover (apart from Lyrics Alley back in July but you should forget about that).

So cool. So, so cool.
So, the actual story, Playing with Fire is the second Skulduggery Pleasant book in the series and kicks off straight in to the action. You don't really feel like you have missed anything by not reading the first book, background information is imparted during the story in a natural, unforced way.

It is pretty much none stop until the end, dragging you in with a roof top tussle and finishing with a big old scrap. Skulduggery is as effortlessly cool as you'd want him, his sidekick Valkyrie nearly as much so. And for all the witty word play and fights that inevitably follow Derek Landy manages to provide enough human vulnerability in Valkyrie and her family, and some glimpses in Skulduggery's past.

The supporting characters are as unusual  as you'd expect where the main character is a Skeleton. unfortunately the more interesting of these characters are on the sidelines for most of the book and it is left for two 2-dimensional characters to play the Nemeses bad guys. Pretty much everything else is perfect for me. Just the bad guys seem to be fillers. Only other draw back is if you don't want your kids reading books with exploding vampires and things best not get this one.

So pretty much brilliant and possibly summed up by this quote:

"Skulduggery, your entire plan consisted of, and I quote, 'let's get up close and see what happens',"

I wish I was him. I'm off to raid my piggy bank to buy the rest of them.

You can see all the Skulduggery Pleasant books for sale here.

He has a very good website here as well.

Cheers,

Skulduggery Pleasant
Mark