Skulduggery and Valkyrie are facing a new enemy: Baron Vengeous, who is determined to bring back the terrifying Faceless Ones and is crafting an army of evil to help him. Added to that, Vengeous is about to enlist a new ally (if he can raise it from the dead): the horrible Grotesquery, a very unlikable monster of legend.
Once Vengeous is on the loose, dead bodies and vampires start showing up all over Ireland. Now pretty much everybody is out to kill Valkyrie, and the daring detective duo faces its biggest challenge yet.
But what if the greatest threat to Valkyrie is just a little closer to home?
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Derek Landy lives near Dublin. Before writing his children's story about a sharply dressed skeleton detective, he wrote the screenplays for a zombie movie and a little thriller in which everybody dies.
As a blackbelt in Kenpo Karate, he has taught countless children how to defend themselves, in the hopes of one day building his own private munchkin army. He firmly believes that they await his call to strike against his enemies (he doesn't actually have any enemies but he's assuming they'll show up sooner or later).
The reason Derek writes his own biographical blurb is so that he can finally refer to himself in the third person without looking pompous or insane.From School Library Journal:
Grade 5–9—In this sequel to Skulduggery Pleasant (HarperCollins, 2007), 13-year-old Valkyrie Cain and her mentor, the living skeleton detective, are faced with the return of the evil Baron Vengeous, who has been freed from prison. Vengeous is trying to reanimate the Grotesquery, a monster made up of pieces of a variety of evil creatures. If his scheme is successful, the Faceless Ones, "the terrible dark gods, exiled from this world," will return. Faced with treachery within the ranks of good magicians, Valkyrie and Skulduggery must rely on their own Elemental magical powers and a few trusted allies to confront Vengeous's magic and helpers, such as the vampire Dusk and Billy-Ray Sanguine, who has the ability to tunnel underground. One magical action sequence follows another as Valkyrie must find the courage to face what seem to be insurmountable foes. Humorous conversations between Valkyrie and Skulduggery add flavor to this generally dark and often-violent novel, as does the girl's appreciation of the dichotomy between her evil-fighting life and that of a quiet student lived by her reflection while she's off saving the world. Fans of the first book will particularly enjoy the new schemes and evil creatures found here. While the back-and-forth between Skulduggery and Vengeous's forces repeats a few too many times, readers looking for a mix of magic and action will find it here.—Beth L. Meister, Milwaukee Jewish Day School, WI
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