War has finally come.
But it's not a war between good and evil, or light and dark – it's a war between Sanctuaries. For too long, the Irish Sanctuary has teetered on the brink of world-ending disaster, and the other Sanctuaries around the world have had enough. Allies turn to enemies, friends turn to foes, and Skulduggery and Valkyrie must team up with the rest of the Dead Men if they're going to have any chance at all of maintaining the balance of power and getting to the root of a vast conspiracy that has been years in the making.
But while this war is only beginning, another war rages within Valkyrie herself. Her own dark side, the insanely powerful being known as Darquesse, is on the verge of rising to the surface. And if Valkyrie slips, even for a moment, then Darquesse will burn the world and everyone in it.
I appreciate that there are some people who visit The Book Zone and other blogs because they want to find out more about a book's storyline. I'm sorry, but in this instance I am afraid you are going to have to look elsewhere if you want detail and I am not going to give anything away. Derek Landy has stated that he hates spoilers, even minor ones like "You won't believe what happens to xxx" or "You really won't guess the massive plot twist that happens xx chapters before the end", and as this is the eighth and penultimate book in this fantastic series (okay - ninth if you include The Maleficent Seven) then you really should be reading it to find out what happens next for yourself.
All I will say is that this is the game changer of the series, when everything starts to come together. Fans of this series will take great delight as Landy starts to weave together a multitude of plot threads, some of which may have originated as far back as the first book in the series, or were so subtle at the time that they were easily ignored or consigned to the depths of memory, never to be required again. I really wish I had the time to re-read this whole series from the beginning as I am sure some die hard fans will, but sadly this may have to wait until I win the lottery and can live a life of leisure.
If you're a fan of this series then you really don't need me to tell you to get your hands on a copy asap and don't do anything else until you have finished reading it. If you have not yet read any of this series DO NOT start with this book - this is not a series you can pick up anywhere, YOU MUST start with the first book in the series.
Some readers may find Last Stand of Dead Men lacks the natural flow that previous installments enjoyed, but that is because of the nature of the story. This book is all about the war that has been brewing for so long (since the very first book, no less) and as such the narrative jumps around a lot, following different characters in different parts of the world as the action ramps up. As a result there are probably a good deal more action scenes in this volume that in its predecessors, but have no fear, all the other Landy trademarks are there, and the dialogue/banter between characters is as funny and engaging as ever, even at the darkest moments. In fact, the very first chapter contains some of the funniest banter that Derek Landy has written to date.
One warning - do not expect a nice, tidy conclusion at the end of this book. This is very much about the war between the Sanctuaries, whilst also setting things up for the final episode in this epic series.
I'm sorry I can't reveal more but I really do not want to create any kind of spoiler, however minor. I'm sure if you hunt hard you will find less considerate reviewers out there if you really want to know what happens in this book.
My thanks go to the ever lovely people at HarperCollins for sending me a copy to review.