Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Book Review - Armageddon Outta Here

Armageddon Outta Here
Author: Derek Landy
Series: Skulduggery Pleasant #8.5 (Series Novellas)
Genres: Fantasy | Childrens, Young Adult
Release Date: 3rd July 2014
Publishers: HarperCollins
No. Pages: 411
Source: Borrowed
Buy From: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Waterstones
One amazing new novella.
Three gripping new stories.
The ultimate story collection.

We all know that doors are for people with no imagination so smash the glass, climb through the window and enter the awesome world of Skulduggery Pleasant with this ultimate story collection. For the first time, every Skulduggery Pleasant short story – plus The End of the World, the World Book Day novelette – is collected into one magnificent volume. But that's not all..

Written specially for this collection, there is an entirely new novella that will drag you into a nail-biting American horror story, Skulduggery-style, and three brand-spanking-new stories spanning the last 150 years. Join Gordon Edgley as he parties like it's 1985, watch Valkyrie Cain face a vampire in a fight to the death, and see the Dead Men as you've never seen them before.

Introduced by Derek, this is the hidden history of the skeleton who saves the world..
and the girl who's destined to destroy it.

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

Finishing the Skulduggery series earlier in the year left me with quite an emotional gap in my heart. There's a space there, much like how Potterheads feel years after the ending, that can only be filled with the love you have for a series and for me, I will passionately love Skulduggery Pleasant for a long, long time, and honestly, it hadn't occurred to me to read the novellas of this series - they felt to me like they wouldn't really be worth it, they're only really fillers for the series anyway, right? Wrong. These novellas where so much more than just fillers for each installment; they brought the series together in a way that Dying of the Light, personally, didn't do, they gave me answers to questions I didn't know I had, and they provided me with a smaller, yet just as enjoyable journey, from start to finish, and reminded me just how much I love this series.

Novellas are difficult to review at the best of times, never mind a collection of them, so I will do my best to provide a fair opinion on all of them, however, some opinions will be larger than the rest, but that is obviously, to be expected..

Across A Dark Plain - This novellas really brought me straight back into the world, but not only that, highlighted what a fantastic author Landy really is. Even travelling years back into the past, he managed to create a vivid world where I could easily picture what was expected and really, the little touch in this novellas was Skulduggery and Wreath. It was never really explained in the series why these two characters had such a strong feeling of negativity towards each other, especially Skulduggery to Wreath, but that answer is given on a platter in this novella, and really, I thought this only complimented the feeling of bringing the original Dead Men back together. It did however, make for emotional feelings of knowing what came next.. 3.5 stars.

The Horror Writers' Halloween Ball - Until this novella, I really hadn't thought about how important Gordon is in this series. Without him, Valkyrie would never have inherited his house, or met Skulduggery, and so on, so without Gordon, there is no series really, so it really pleased and impressed me that Landy created a novella that revealed more about him. His humour is exactly like the banter between Valkyrie and Skulduggery and it made for such entertaining scenes, and his relationship with Skulduggery was absolutely wonderful. To see their connection, their genuine friendship, something that is generally difficult for Skulduggery to create, it was a more than welcome addition to the series, and when you throw in some lacking in logic humour, some fancy dress costume fighting and Skulduggery laughing and smiling, actually enjoying himself, there was absolutely no way that meeting Gordon could go anywhere but into the pure happiness markers. 4.5 stars.

The Lost Art of World Domination - This was definitely one of the shorter novellas and less impressive, however, it did give a nice insight to Scaramouch, one of the easily forgotten, and it's understandable why, characters of the series. Skulduggery used his quick humour and thinking and seeing Valkyrie grow confident in her skills made this an enjoyable novella, but not near mind-blowing. 3 stars.

Gold, Babies and the Brothers Muldoon - Oh people, this book, I laughed so hard, what an enjoyable read this novella was. Skulduggery landing on his face, Valkyrie being given first handed experience and the chance to ride shotgun, even the touch of huge goblins was well received in this novella and really, I just thoroughly enjoyed it. Oh, and can I mention the absolute howling I found myself doing when Skulduggery fell through a roof onto his face? Oh you guys, this was a great pick-me-up after the previous novella and got the show back on the road. 3.5 stars.

The Slightly Ignominious End to the Legend of Black Annis - Now this novella, for the people who read the novella before the end of the series, really highlighted and foreshadowed some fantastic scenes to come in the series. Annis I feel was an easily missed character and bullied character in Maleficent Seven and it was nice to have her character more, fleshed out, than in that novel. Seeing her go up against Tanith was fantastic and there was some serious girl/creature/woman/anger power in this novella. Nothing like a bit of Tanith to add to the great Skulduggery novellas though, is there? 3 stars.

Friday Night Frights - One character I never did feel anything for in this series was Caelan.. not because he wasn't a good character, but because I didn't like his character, yet that changed a little in this novella. We're also never aware of how Valkyrie met Caelan in this series, so it was nice to be introduced and made aware, as well as learning more about his charcater and why in fact he took such a shine to Valkyrie. I don't condone being clingy, but his back-story was heartbreaking and really horrible, yet sad to read about, and the brutal battle between vampires, absolutely gruesome yet fantastically written, as Landy always does. This novella also gave me more answers to questions I hadn't taken to care to ask, but that's what novellas do, especially these ones - they give you more than you thought you could get. 4 stars.

Myosotis Terra - Yet again, another enjoyable, quick paced and really great novella, focusing on how Landy encouraged other readers to get involved and create their own characters. Myosotis is a fantastic character, her personality shines through, her banter and relationship will Valkyrie was fantastic and the logic behind it was also great. I liked the overall feel and pace and the general plot was nice too, but it definitely wasn't, amazing. 3.5 stars.

The Wonderful Adventures of Geoffrey Scrutinous - Now this novella people, this was the first in this collection that felt like a real story, with a great plot, a fantastic mystery and was completely unrelated to the series. Once again, Geoffrey was a character created by another reader and was he a great character; he was hard-worker, but had a hidden personality and humour and care about him, and the plot, oh you would be impressed. It was believable, it was full of suspense, humour, darkened twists and really some great tension. I was enthralled, I was sucked in, I couldn't get enough of this novella and really, it's definitely one of my favourites of the collection. I also loved the banter and humour between Skulduggery and Valkyrie, but I also liked how no matter what Valkyrie is going through personally, she still found the time to be a typical teenager, and that's what always made connecting to her easy, she was the perfect example of an adventurous teenager, and that was always a feature I adored in this series. 4.5 stars.

Just Another Friday Night - Zombies don't tend to impressed much, and that was still the case in this series, and this novella. Don't get me wrong, it was still enjoyable, introduced more characters created by readers, and did provide the same humour and snark that this series has always had, but on a personal enjoyment level, it didn't sit well with me, and was the weakest of the novellas. 2 stars.

End of the World - Review

Trick of Treat - Trick or Treat was a wonderful further insight into how the plot arc of this series was being developed and also had fantastic links to Maleficent Seven which was an amazing longer novella. Getting more from Tanith, more from Sanguine and their relationship with one another, but most of all, and I sound twisted saying this, but the violence from Tanith was wonderful, and I mean that in the most complimentary of ways. I adored the twist taken in this series, even if it did break my heart originally and I cannot commend Landy enough, it was a risk, but in this novella, you really see Tanith develop and grow into a character with so much more depth than you can ever first imagine, and I cannot say no to Tanith, ever. 4 stars.

Get Thee Behind Me, Bubba Moon - Much like End of the World is, this novella is definitely a story all in it's own, and was probably the best novella in this collection. With normal characters, normal human characters, a twisted horror story rich in tension and suspense, twists and childhood dares, there's very little to dislike, unless you dislike horror stories. I found the entire premise wonderful, well developed and surprisingly, I wasn't disappointed when Skulduggery and Valkyrie only appeared later on - it was a wonderful change to have the novella and story through another persons perspective and I enjoyed that. In some places, I'm ashamed to say, this novella was actually scarier to read than the actual novels, it felt grown up, it felt teenage/young adult like and it was sinister, it was dark, it had depth, and it really gave me whiplash. That plot twist, how could you Landy, I trusted that character, why would you do that, but the whole pace and premise, plot and world was wonderful here, as is the writing, and as always, Skulduggery and Valkyrie were absolutely wonderful characters in this novella. Without a doubt, my favourite of the collection and as far as I can think, faultless. 5 stars.

The Button - Maybe the previous novella was too good, but this final part of the collection felt repetitive and reused often in the story. The premise was enjoyable, humourous actually, and even enjoyable, but it definitely had nothing on some of the other stories in this collection, but what was wonderful was having reached the end of the collection and seen the development in characters, in Valkyrie and Skulduggery, together and alone, and the depth in the world, in the plot, in everything that was read, and while this wasn't a fantastic novella, it definitely didn't end the collection on a downer.. 3.5 stars.

You would think that by reading novellas that are published between novels would be a problem after you've finished the series, but really, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of being back with these characters that I'd left behind and feeling the remembering the plot in the novels while I read these new pieces of material. Some were highly enjoyable and others were a little flat, but it's like everything that has many ingredients, not everything will be perfect, but some things will blow your mind. Knowing that I have now finished everything with the series, read every piece of material, watched all the interviews, read all the stories and novellas and extras, the actual final thought of really saying goodbye is horrible, and I don't think I'll be able to honestly say goodbye probably for this series for a long time. If you haven't yet tried the series, I don't know what you're waiting for. I can't promise that you will love each installment, and I can't promise that they will all be favourites, but I can say that you can't start the story and not finish it, not when Skulduggery's on the case.

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