Book review: Skulduggery Pleasant – Resurrection by Derek Landy

‘Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god. It’s finally happening. Everything I’ve ever wanted is happening. Best. Day. Ever.’

Is what someone much less cool than me would have run around the house screaming this time last year on discovering that there was going to be a tenth instalment of the Skulduggery Pleasant series. They would probably have spent the next ten minutes trying to get a laptop to turn on so that they could pre-order a signed copy immediately, block out April and May in the family calendar for re-reading the previous books, and then completely lose their temper when they realised that someone had drained the laptop of all battery…again.

Me? With Skulduggery-like style and poise, I gave a nonchalant nod and made my way to the garden via the conservatory window (doors are for people with no imagination).

We last saw Valkyrie after her alter-ego Darquesse caused the destruction of Roarhaven and countless deaths trying to get away from it all in a secluded spot in America. She struggles to cope with the guilt of her actions and it is five years before she returns to Ireland. When she does, it is to a changed city where everyone recognises her and school children are taught her history. Dark forces use this newly set up magical school to recruit an anti-mortal task force, and despite her reluctance to get involved, Valkyrie quickly finds herself fightingΒ  bad guys again even though she hasn’t totally got a handle on her changed magical abilities. But it’s okay because she has Skulduggery on her side, right? Or does she?

I didn’t actually get a chance to re-read the other Skulduggery books before I started this one in the end so I had forgotten just how funny they are. Within minutes of starting Resurrection, I was chuckling to myself and searching for people to read sections to so that they could share in the joy (they don’t seem to find it as funny as me, I think it’s because I do that thing where you start laughing before the punchline because you already know what’s coming). Seriously, if you can keep a straight face while Skulduggery tries to get a conversation going with Cadaverous in the car, you are quite simply not human, sir.

And then I remembered how awesome all the character names are: Temper Fray, Omen and Auger Darkly, Cadaverous Gant, Skulduggery Pleasant himself…I could go on. I love reading these books and the clever names that the characters are given. I always find myself guessing and double guessing whether to read anything into the characters from their names; any long term reader of Skulduggery will know that Mr. Landy is not against lulling you into a false sense of security and then tearing your very soul out through your nose (not literally of course, that would be horrific).

Resurrection paves the way for phase two of the series beautifully, giving us a chance to get to know Valkyrie again and understand how she has changed. We are introduced to some hilarious new characters that I really hope are going to be hanging around for a while but am also a little scared to get too attached to after the way previous favourites have been treated (Gordon Edgley, Ghastly Bespoke, Tanith Low to name but a few). After the few hints and loose ends given, I can’t help but be excited to see what happens to everyone.

Most of all, though, it was just good to have the gang back together again. I feel like I have got my friends back. And this is where Landy’s writing really shines; he writes characters that are impossible not to love. They are funny, imperfect misfits as individuals but somehow, together they can do great things. He gives us hope that there is a Skulduggery to our Valkyrie or a Ghastly to our Tanith out there for all of us.


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