Thursday, 3 April 2014

Book Review - The Faceless Ones

The Faceless Ones
Author: Derek Landy
Series: Skulduggery Pleasant #3
Genres: Fantasy | Childrens, Young Adult
Release Date: 6th April 2009
Publishers: Harper Collins
Pages: 395
Source: Borrowed
Buy From: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Waterstones
If you've read the previous Skulduggery books then you know what the Faceless Ones are - and if you know what the Faceless Ones are, then you can probably take a wild guess that things in this book are going to get AWFULLY sticky for our skeletal hero and his young sidekick. If you haven't read the previous Skulduggery books then what are you doing reading this? Go and read them right now, so that you know what all that stuff in the previous paragraph was about. Done? Good. So now you’re on tenterhooks too, desperately awaiting the answers to all your questions, and instead you're going to have to wait to read the book. Sorry about that.

The following review may contain spoilers concerning earlier books in the series.
If you have not read the previous installments, please proceed with caution.

So, what about the third book eh? Was it dark? Yes. Was it scary? A little more than usual. Was it utterly as fantastic, mystical, mysterious and damn right utter amazeballs as the others? I'll tell you something, it was even better than that. The Faceless Once had everything I've loved about the previous two Skulduggery Books and more; more laughter, more action and even more character growth, more magic, more characters and even more of an amazing, well described and beautiful world. I genuinely couldn't have asked for anything more than what Derek Landy gave me.

Once again, I came straight back into the world of Skulduggery, the world that Landy has created, extremely easily and with no problems whatsoever and what impressed me most of all about this was just how much time is between each of the installments in the series. I appreciated how Landy had taken this time in between the books to work in Valkyrie's character development and her magical development too; there is something so easily simple about including development within the outside of the story rather than taking up unnecessary amounts of time and pages within the story, it's something I really like when I see it because it saves me from being bored throughout the story. As if that wasn't enough, I found that even after having read loads of other books in between, I was thrown right into the deep end of the story again, never once feeling lost in the world that Landy has created, never forgetting who the characters were, what we already knew about them and being interested in how they were going affect the world as we know it now later on in the series. I still found the world to be beautifully described, so much so I seriously imagine the whole thing so vividly and so clearly it could have been a film roll; every scene went easily into another, jump cuts weren't too large and the whole scenario was just fantastic. I couldn't have been pleased with the route Landy.

While I appreciated the plot points in this story and I appreciated how it flowed from the previous, Playing With Fire and links smoothly with the following, Dark Days, for me, the biggest part of this series isn't the overall plot of each book, but the minor plots that are slowly twisting and forming into one of the biggest twists I have possibly ever read about. I can feel each installment getting dark and more dangerous, not to mention more and more secrets are being found out, people are being introduced and plot points are becoming larger. Skulduggery's past is becoming quite a fixture in the series, as well as Valkyrie's future and that intrigues and scares me, yet in this book, I was able to see Valkyrie develop into a multi-layered character, fighting her own battles and using her own initiative to come up with fantastic plans, both quick and large. She developed her own voice and her own stance, as well as started to learn the hard way that she is still a child in an adults world, and that's where Skulduggery's development comes in too. He fully trusts Valkyrie and she fully trusts him; they have this understanding relationship where they see each other as equals and it's so powerful and so deep, I've never seen a relationship like it in books, not to mention their humour and the banter between them, it's always there at the right times, their sarcasm for one another and Skulduggery's lessons that Valkyrie isn't as invincible as she may think, and he's learning that, he's developing a protective stance over her, while she is trying to make sure she can protect him too. If there's anything I love individually about this series, it's the variety of characters, from Ghastly's past and cursed self, to Tanith's talents and skills, to China's seductive ways, to Crux being a flat out pain in the bottom. This series as the most amazing set and variety of characters, I cannot fault it.

Granted, I felt the plot in this book was becoming just a little repetitive from the others with the Faceless Ones and the 'end of the world' and such, yet I could feel a darker entity coming forward and I could feel the direction of the series being pulled in another direction, a more corrupt direction and that's another thing I enjoy about this series, and especially this book so far; how it shows a shadow of the world we live in, just darker. Society's are corrupt, people are not who we think they are, those in charge can't always be trusted and sometimes it's the people you never expect to be a hero that are and that's what this book gets across. People have secrets, the plot twists in the final chapters made this abundantly clear, and sometimes an innocent soul needs to be tortured for it to learn, as I saw in this book. Action wise, this book had it all, fights, feuds, arguments, passion and one hell of a rich, complicated and almighty final fighting scene; there's nothing I've come to expect more than that from these books. I've come to expect so much from Landy's world and when he introduces new characters, like Renn and Necromancers, I should get confused and I should be lost in a world already so vast, but I'm not, and I genuinely don't think I could compliment Landy anymore unless I was ripping out my own heart and handing it to him on a platter, he deserves it.

Much like his other installments, The Faceless One packs everything I've come to expect from a good Skulduggery story, yet with more twists and more dark secrets around every corner, and more hope and more death to come, I seriously can't wait to see where Landy will take this series. Every plot he creates shows more and more what of what Valkyrie will become; she has a new teacher and I think it's a brave route to take a book titled after a character who's going to be a little AWOL in the next installment, but I'm excited, eager and can't hold myself down from picking up Dark Days as soon as I can. I can't fault this book, and even if I could, even if I could pick, I wouldn't. It's perfect.

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