Title: The Faceless Ones
Author: Derek Landy
Genre: Fantasy/ Children Literature/ Adventure
Publication date: 2009
The third bone-breaking, belly-busting adventure in the series that puts the “funny” back in, um, funny series. That didn’t really work, did it?
If you’ve read the previous Skulduggery books then you know what the Faceless Ones are — and if you know what the Faceless Ones are, then you can probably take a wild guess that things in this book are going to get AWFULLY sticky for our skeletal hero and his young sidekick. If you haven’t read the previous Skulduggery books then what are you doing reading this? Go and read them right now, so that you know what all that stuff in the previous paragraph was about. Done? Good. So now you’re on tenterhooks too, desperately awaiting the answers to all your questions, and instead you’re going to have to wait to read the book. Sorry about that.
The Faceless Ones is the third book of the famous series Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy and the beginning of the darker, more serious themes of the stories. It still retains its humor and witty conversations(in less quantities, unfortunately) but it is painfully obvious that Stephanie has grown and with that, the point of view changes.
Valkyrie is already fourteen(I think? I am on the next book so the age is kind of fuzzy already) and she is training in Elemental magic with Skulduggery while following him around murder scenes and trying to investigate murders. That is how the story starts, actually, with the murders of a few teleporters. Now, you’ll say, ‘so what?’ but and the ‘what’ is the fact that teleporters are extremely hard to kill – they can vanish the moment they smell trouble so you have to be the Flash or extremely sneaky and crafty.
Anyway, Skulduggery and Valkyrie are trying to find the killer on their own (the Grand Mage fired Skulduggery as Prime Detective in the last book, not that will stop him) meanwhile the Grand Mage appoints the joke of a detective Remus Crux on the case.
Skulduggery and Valkyrie’s investigation takes them to a lake that is the home of a creature called ‘Sea Hag’. That is one of the funniest and most awesome moments in the books so far if you ask me. The description, the humor and the action were my favorite thing.
While the rest of the book is filled with mystery and even more action that was my favorite moment. That being said, after they meet the Sea Hag and get another peace of information they move onto their next plan, which as usual, is no plan at all.
Main point is that an organization called Diablerie is trying to bring back the Faceless ones. ‘But the Grotesquery is dead!’ you’ll say. Yeah, but it served its purpose and when had ever anything gone according to plan with this series? 😀 All the Diablerie need is a Teleporter, the Isthmus Anchor and a Gate. And they have it all so naturally, there is nothing stopping them.
I won’t spoil the book any more for you, you ought to read it as it is truly exciting. I want to go back to something I said above those – the new, darker and more ominous feel to the story. We can all agree that in the first two books there were two things that stand out in Landy’s book – the humor and the action.
“I, uh, I hit a tree.”
“Well, I’m sure it had it coming.”
Now in The Faceless Ones the humor, while still there, is toned down and the action is a bit slower than before. Instead, the author focuses a bit more on the internal turmoil inside Valkyrie who is literally standing with one foot in the human world and another one – in the magical one.
While it is more than obvious she enjoys the thrill of adventure and the powers she has, we can often find her missing something else too – living a normal life (seeing her parents, experiencing her first kiss, etc) She is actually jealous of her reflection which, on top of all, is glitching 😀
I rather like the change, it makes Valkyrie so much more human, more multidimensional for me. While she was a child that got to hang out with the super cool Skulduggery she is now an essential part of their world and she is becoming, as we say, cool.
She is growing and with that her view of the world grows. She is not the little girl with boring life that only wanted adventure – she is now almost an adult who can see and understand the consequences of her actions, the danger and the darkness that is in the world where everybody had shielded her from until now.
“How… how do I die?”
“In pain,” he said. “Screaming… She said there was an enemy you had to fight. A creature of darkness. She said Skulduggery fought by your side for some of it, but… she sensed things more than she saw them, you know? She felt terror, and death, and futility. She felt the world on the edge of destruction, and she sensed evil. Unimaginable evil.”
I’m happy to give it another 5/5 rating. Skulduggery and Landy are yet to disappoint me (hopefully not) so I am super eager to keep reading on.
What about you? What rating would you give? What are your thoughts and takes on The Faceless Ones?