quippe (quippe) wrote in bookish,

Skulduggery Pleasant: Mortal Coil by Derek Landy

The Blurb On The Back:

“The blonde girl with the black lips turned to Valkyrie. ‘We know,’ she said. ‘We’ve seen the future. We know you’re going to kill the world ...’”

Valkyrie has discovered that she is Darquesse, the evil sorceress. The problem is, she doesn’t feel she can tell Skulduggery, and so she must try to change her terrible destiny alone.

But the price of changing your destiny is high, and if she fails, she’ll die alone too ...

It’s been 5 months since DARK DAYS. The Sanctuary has been destroyed in an explosion and the other magical associations are waiting for the chance to take over control of the international magical community. Skulduggery and Valkyrie have been tracking Davinia Marr, the former detective who’s been blamed for the explosion but they’re not the only ones interested in finding her – Tesseract, a Russian Adept – has been hired by forces who want her silenced for good.

But Davinia isn’t the only person with secrets. Valkyrie’s discovered that she is Darquesse – the evil sorceress who’s foretold as being responsible for the end of the world. Unable to confide her secret in Skulduggery, she’s been searching for the means to change her future and thinks that she’s found the way to do so. However there are others with a vested interest in Valkyrie’s fate remaining as it’s been foretold – others who will do anything to bring about her destiny.

The 5th in Landy’s excellent fantasy series is the darkest yet and the stakes have never been higher.

Valkyrie’s struggle to come to terms with her destiny is effectively portrayed and she shows all of the determination the reader’s come to expect from her in trying to find a way of escaping it. I wasn’t completely convinced by her refusal to confide in Skulduggery given everything that’s happened between the two, but that’s a minor gripe. The scene where she puts her plan into action with the creepy and appalling Nye is one of the scariest, goriest things I’ve read in a long time – too scary perhaps for readers aged 9 (although older readers will probably love it).

There is a lot of character death in this book, including one who I was very fond of. There are also a lot of nasty twists and turns as certain backstories from the earlier books begin to get resolved and the ending is a real gut wrencher that will have readers waiting impatiently for the next book.

Although I enjoyed the story, there is a lot of padding in this book and it didn’t feel as gelled as the earlier books in the series. The arc is also getting to the stage where there needs to be a list of characters to keep track of who everyone is. These aren’t critical flaws, but they were noticeable only because the previous books have been so good.

The Verdict:

The 5th in Derek Landy’s MG fantasy series is easily the goriest and scariest yet. Landy’s finally starting to pull together some of the outstanding storylines from the earlier books, which is good, and there’s also some character death and gut-wrenching scenes that promise much for book 6. However, there is also a certain amount of padding in this book and some of the storylines didn’t gel as well as in the earlier stories – this isn’t fatal but it is noticeable because the earlier books have been so tightly written.

Cross-posted to books, bookworming, fantasywithbite, kiddie_lit and middlebooks.

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