Yes! I have finally finished reading it! Sorry for the delay!
Alex Verus is back. He’s been having a peaceful time following his last adventure but that is broken when he finds himself being hunted by a group of Adepts. Their leader wants revenge on Alex for something that happened in his past when he was apprenticed to his dark master, Richard. He is also helping a Council Keeper (magical police officer if you will) who is following up rumours that Richard has returned. Forced to face up and delve into his past to solve both problems, Alex finds himself questioning his path in life and where his path will lead in the future.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is written with the same humour and style as previous books but features a much darker story and darker, more adult themes. Even so, it was fascinating exploring Alex’s background, revealing more and new information about how things had been during his apprenticeship and particularly seeing how his fellow apprentices ended up joining up with Richard and their lives before their apprenticeships. It also allowed the reader to sympathise and maybe starting to like a character who might not have before deserved sympathy.
It was also enjoyable to see the darker side of the Alex character and seeing how dark he could be. It also leaves the reader stepping back and wondering just how cold and how vicious Verus could possibly get. The colder side of him was very enjoyable and I loved reading that side of him. I would like to see that side perhaps come out a bit more and certainly leaves me wanting to read more of his adventures. Maybe it’s because I don’t usually come across such dark characters and they are so unusual in modern fiction. Alex is an anti-hero and that’s what makes the character so fascinating I think. Or maybe I need to start reading wider.
The end of the book leaves the reader on a cliffhanger, unlike the other books which had most of their narratives all tied up neatly at the end and creating a nice ending. Maybe this is indicative that Jacka and his publishers have gained confidence in the series, allowing him to have the cliffhanger ending, trusting that there is a big enough and loyal enough fan base to sustain this fantastic series. There is potential after all that this series could be the one that older Skulduggery Pleasant fans will move to reading, after the ending of that series next year.
The only criticism I really have is that the last chapter seems to be acting as a somewhat drawn out epilogue. It is certainly required and there is nothing wrong with the chapter. I just think I might be being a little picky.
I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and I think it might just be my favourite of the series. The darker, more adult story in this one is very well written, shocking and fascinating in equal measure. The character got darker and asked what happens when your past comes back to haunt and kill you. I really would recommend this book to people looking for an adult fantasy series to enjoy and to the older (16+) Skulduggery Pleasant fans.
- The Big Idea: Benedict Jacka (whatever.scalzi.com)
- Book Review: Skulduggery Pleasant, Last Stand of Dead Men by Derek Landy (sleepybookdragon.wordpress.com)