Book Review: Skulduggery Pleasant Dark Days, by Derek Landy

Good old Skulduggery, he’s the man, erm, I mean the skeleton. Derek Landy’s fantastic children’s novel series reached its 4th edition this month with the release of Skulduggery Pleasant Dark Days.

After being dragged into an alternate dimension type thingy at the end of The Faceless Ones, Skulduggery is rescued by Valkyrie Cain (his erstwhile assistant) who is growing from a young girl into a quite powerful mage and is starting develop her own path in life.

In Dark Days some familiar faces are back to destroy the Sanctuary and thanks to the incompetence of Guild and his cohorts the crew of Cain, Pleasant, Sorrows, Bespoke, Renn and the rest are thrust into the firing line to save Dublin’s magical reputation. Like the previous three books in the series, Skulduggery’s sardonic wit is alive throughout and Cain’s battle between being a teenage girl or magician reaches new heights as she turns to darker magic to help her get Skulduggery back. Indeed, the power of the dark magic is quite tempting.

Many compare the series to Harry Potter and there is no denying there are undoubted similarities: teenage magician, dark magic and temptation, love interest for main teenage character, bad guys all around, a pre-defined fate for the teenage mage and so on. However, where Skulduggery Pleasant steals a march on the Potter books is that it has always been quite dark. The death of Sirius Black was an intake of breath moment in Potter, but Derek Landy has always written quite edgy and dark scenes throughout his stories and laces them with wonderful adult and kids humour alike.

Dark Days is the continuation of an excellent series of books and is well open for the 5th edition which will land in September 2010. If you’ve never read the series start with the opening book and work your way through, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. 9/10.


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