Title: Playing with Fire
Author: Derek Landy
Genre: Fantasy/ Children Literature/ Adventure
Publication date: 2008
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?
Playing with Fire is the second book of the famous series Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy. Much like the first one it is full of mad adventures, remarkable humor and another villain, Baron Vengeous, who is out to destroy the world and bring back the Faceless ones. I had read the first book some time ago and when I sat to write its review recently I remembered how much I actually enjoyed it so I decided ‘Heck, high time to finish the series!‘ and one day later I am writing this…. 😀 😀
Anyway, for those who enjoyed book one you surely won’t be disappointed. The snarky humor, witty remarks and the constant action are off the charts.
“Vengeous scowled. ‘As you can see,’ he said, ‘you are vastly outnumbered.’
‘I usually am.’
‘Your situation has become quite untenable.’
‘It usually does.’
‘You are within moments of being swarmed by these filthy creatures of undead and torn apart in a maelstrom of pain and fury.’
Skulduggery paused. ‘Okay, that’s a new one on me.”
And don’t be alarmed that the main character is a fourteen year old – you’ll soon realize it is not that hard to like and enjoy reading the book from her point of view. And besides, her age rarely shows.
This story revolves around a new set of villains – Baron Vengeous, Billy-Ray Sanguine and Dusk (a crazy bloodthirsty vampire). They team up to resurrect a horrendous being (a.k.a Frankenstein’s monster of Landy’s world) which is part-god, and summon the Faceless ones back through it. As usual our heroes have their assess handed to them on multiple occasions but that never stops them.
Especially when the Grotesquery overpowers all of their gang without breaking a sweat. Yeah, teleportation abilities and insane healing powers will do that to you…
The odds seem more than unfair considering that the Grotesquery is basically unbeatable in full power and Baron Vangeous is now wearing the armor of Lord Vile which makes him almost indestructible. Emphasizing on ‘almost’ 😉 Talking about all those characters you must by now realized that the name of each character play a grand role. We know the reason Steph chose Valkyrie Cain and it is kind of obvious why Skulduggery Pleasant has chosen his. But how about Lord Vile or Baron Vengeous? I mean, c’mon man, how can you expect anybody to take you seriously when your own name betrays you and gets people to chuckle 😀 I love this about Landy – his humor is in everything, not just the witty jabbering and jokes between the characters but in subtle things like names, places, whatnot.
Another thing I noticed once I stopped devouring the book and forcing myself to slow down and read carefully(so that my review is not completely shit) is the format of the book. Now, you may laugh but this is an actual marketing trick. If you open any of the Skulduggery books you’ll notice that they are all have a lot of spacing, smaller margins (meaning a lot more free space around the text) and considerable font size.
This seems to be a trend with books for children and teenagers both because it makes you feel like things are moving faster and because they don’t have the patient and the desire to take their time to enjoy a book. I think it is brilliant and it works perfectly in his case.
So in conclusion I would say that Playing with Fire is totally worth your time and I can guarantee you, you’ll enjoy yourself immensely. I would easily give it a 5/5 rating and I plan to finish another of my favorite quotes:
“‘Are you going to shoot me?’ Vengeous sneered. ‘I wouldn’t be surprised. What would a thing like you know about honor? Only a heathen would bring a gun to a sword fight.’
‘And only a moron would bring a sword to a gunfight.’ ”
So what about you? What rating would you give? What are your thoughts and takes on Skulduggery Pleasant: Playing with Fire?