Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Skulduggery Pleasant: Playing with Fire

Skulduggery Pleasant: Playing with Fire

Derek Landy
Fiction  Series
For ages 12 and up
HarperCollins, 2008   ISBN: 978-0061240881

Valkyrie Cain, whom most people call Stephanie Edgley, has come a long way in a very short period of time. Not long ago her uncle died and a very bizarre and often dangerous adventure followed. At the center of this adventure there was Skulduggery Pleasant, a living skeleton who is a talented detective and a skilled magician.

Valkyrie has been training hard since she had that adventure with her strange friend, and she can now throw fire well and is learning how to tap into the elemental powers around her. However, this does not mean that she is ready for what happens next in her life. Apparently one of Skulduggery's old enemies has escaped from prison, and he is just about as bad as a bad person can get. His name is Vengeous and when Skulduggery knew him before his incarceration Vengeous was dedicated to the cause of bringing back the Faceless Ones. Skullduggery is sure that this goal will not have changed over the years, and it turns out that he is right. Vengeous intends to resurrect a monster called the Grotesquery which he will then use to open a doorway so that the Faceless Ones can return from exile. If he succeeds the world as we know it will be destroyed.

In the numerous fights and encounters that follow, Valkyrie meets many colorful and decidedly dangerous characters, characters whom readers will find intriguing, appalling, and even frightening – in a deliciously shivery way. The action is fast paced, the characters reveal interesting facts about themselves as the story unfolds, and readers will be hard pressed to find a more unique and surprising book.