Book Review: Skulduggery Pleasant, Last Stand of Dead Men by Derek Landy

bd816-sp8_revise_tom-1-page-0Okay, so I am finally getting on and writing this review.

War is coming to the Irish Sanctuary. After years of one catastrophe to another, the other Sanctuaries around the world are taking matters into their own hands to protect the world. But not all is as it seems. There is conspiracy afoot and a plan to reveal the magical world to the mortals and the long-term plan is coming to maturity.

And that’s not all. Valkyrie‘s true nature, Darquesse, is fighting to get free and if Valkyrie can’t keep a tight hold on her, Darquesse might just be set free.

This, the penultimate book in the series, continues with the same humour and well paced fights as before, tying in all the stories from the previous seven books and sees the return of some characters last seen in earlier books. The story does seem much darker than earlier books (granted the stories have been steadily getting darker as the series has gone along, like most series) and features many surprises and some great fun moments.

This book is a war story but features some spy elements and international country hopping. Whilst the characters have gone international before, this book goes REALLY international, jumping from Ireland to America to England to Australia to France and many, many other places around the world. This really changes the pace of the story and keeps the book very interesting.

The way Landy portrayed the inner dialogue between Valkyrie and Darquesse is brilliantly written, witty and the style of writing that readers have come to expect from Landy and his characters.

Unfortunately, I did lose interest in this book near the end and it took me a few days to actually finally finish reading this book. Maybe it’s because this book is a war story and I don’t read war books but the pacing of the actual novel seemed slow and the fight scenes very extended. The fights are not repetitive and they are interesting but I found myself getting very weary of them. Again, as I said, it might be because I am unfamiliar with war books and therefore, their pacing and the codes and conventions of the genre.

I also found myself getting bored and fed up of a certain character that shows up near the end and seems to be a throwback to the very first book. The character’s actions and then other characters reactions to the character is interesting but mostly, the character is boring and I found myself thinking, “and…?”

I have found this book a real shame and not the best addition to the series. The ending is a great cliffhanger and does make me want to read the next book but also leaves me apprehensive. After such a great series, it would be a serious disservice to the series to end it on a low note. I can quite honestly say I did not enjoy this book and found it boring and tough going. Perhaps it is my unfamiliarity with the genre plus the fact that I am just not interested in the genre that prevented me from enjoying the book.

So whilst this book is good in some aspects, in others, it is just plain boring. In my personal opinion anyway.