Sunday, 9 October 2011

Review: Skulduggery Pleasant: Death Bringer by Derek Landy

The sixth instalment in the historic, hysterical and horrific Skulduggery Pleasant series. Think you’ve seen anything yet? You haven’t. Because the Death Bringer is about to rise…

The Necromancers no longer need Valkyrie to be their Death Bringer, and that’s a Good Thing.

There’s just one catch. There’s a reason the Necromancers don’t need her any more. And that’s because they’ve found their Death Bringer already, the person who will dissolve the doors between life and death.

And that’s a very, very Bad Thing…

I have spent some time agonising over how to write this review without giving away any spoilers, and the only thing I can think of is to make it shorter than most of my reviews. There is just so much happening in this book that it is nigh impossible to say much at all about the story without giving something away that may spoil the book for the few die-hard fans out there who have not yet read it. I will do my utmost however, although if you have not yet read Mortal Coil, the fifth book in the series, then I suggest you navigate away from this page now.

Mortal Coil was an incredibly dark book, and as I mentioned in my review last year, one of my favourite in the series so far. There were so many great revelations, and the climactic scenes had me gasping for breath, especially regarding the fate of one of my favourite characters, Tanith Low. However, Death Bringer may have just usurped Mortal Coil and could now be my favourite book in the series, although the complete absence of Tanith from the story was a slight disappointment. So what makes it so good? I think the best way of doing this without giving away spoilers is in list form, so in no particular order:
  • The dialogue. It's brilliant, and there seems to be so much more of it in this book. In fact, I think the increased dialogue between Sulduggery and Valkyrie is possibly the main contributing factor to the book's length. Derek Landy has created so many great characters, but what makes them stand out so much is the banter between them, and especially between his two main protagonists. It is consistently funny, occasionally poignant, and shows the deep bond that has grown between these two over the course of their adventures together.
  • The action. There are some amazing action scenes in this book, and they are some of the best we have seen from the author. There was one scene where I suddenly started choking as I had not realised that I had been holding my breath and my lungs need to breath suddenly caught up with my brain's fixation on the story I was reading.
  • More character development. Some of Landy's characters have remained pretty much on the sidelines of the main plot so far in the series, and although ever present we still do not know a great deal about them. One such characters is China Sorrows, and in Death Bringer we find out a great deal more about her history, and it is far from being good.
  • More revelations. I don't think I am particularly stupid so I hope I wasn't the only one who did not see one particular revelation about Skulduggery coming. In fact, I was so surprised that I think my brain went into shut down, and I spent a good five minutes just staring at the page in shock.
  • I've saved the best until last..... Valkyrie and Skulduggery. There will be moments in this book when you may actually find yourself disliking these two, and Val in particular. It is easy to forget that she is just a teenager, and yet she has achieved so much and seen so many horrors at such a young age. What kind of effect would that have on a teenager? In Death Bringer we really start to find out. We see her ego, her selfishness, her betrayal of trust, her moodiness - at times she becomes a thoroughly unlikeable young lady, and the story is all the better for it. 
Another great addition to the Skulduggery series, and it continues to be one of my favourite series around at the moment. It is just a pity that we will probably have to wait another year for Book Seven in the series. However, SP fans, make sure you hit the book stores in March 2012 as Derek Landy is contributing a Skulduggery Pleasant novelette for World Book Day, called The End of the World. This book will be set after the events of Death Bringer, but whether Tanith will feature I do not know. Whatever the outcome, I have a feeling that she will feature quite heavily in Skulduggery Pleasant Book Seven, and I am sure it won't be good for Valkyrie or Skulduggery. 



  2. Great review! Did you hear there's plans for a series of Skulduggery movies to be made? If it's half as good as the books, it should be well woth watching!

    1. siresly a movie!!!??? that is so cool! :) when it comes out in the cinima i'll be first in the line!! These books are the best!