Thursday 4 September 2014

Book Review - Dying of the Light

Dying of the Light
Author: Derek Landy
Series: Skulduggery Pleasant #9
Genres: Fantasy | Childrens, Young Adult
Release Date: 28th August 2014
Publishers: Harper Collins
No. Pages: 604
Source: Purchased
Buy From: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Waterstones
The War of the Sanctuaries has been won, but it was not without its casualties..

Following the loss of Valkyrie Cain, Skulduggery Pleasant must use any and all means to track down and stop Darquesse before she turns the world into a charred, lifeless cinder. And so he draws together a team of soldiers, monster hunters, killers, criminals.. and Valkyrie’s own murderous reflection.

The war may be over, but the final battle is about to begin. And not everyone gets out of here alive..

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

You know what sucks? Being ill and reading/finishing/reviewing what was one of your most anticipated books and struggling to find the right words to put into a coherent, readable slush of paragraphs. If I only had to deal with being ill, that would fine, if I only had to deal with the fact that this series is no more, I would have been a tad distraught, but dealing with the fact that this book wasn't the perfect ending I would have wished for, that's worse than all those feelings put together. I good strong ending with answers, yes, Dying of the Light is that, but without personal issues that irked me? Sadly not..

Let us not dismiss that this series means an awful lot to me. I marathoned the first eight books in around two months, which is no mean feat considering at least three were in the 500+ pages zone, and the four month wait, which wasn't as bad as I thought it might be, was still pretty bad when I started to wonder just how it would end.. Who would die? How? What was the big answer? What about Steph? Or Val? Or Darquese? OR SKULLY?! Sorry.. Point is, I was both insanely nervous and unbelievably excited to read Dying of the Light and I think it showed quite clearly throughout.

In past Skulduggery novels, the aspect I've loved most was the friendship between Skulduggery and Valkyrie and due to certain circumstances in Last Stand of Dead Men, this friendship could not shine in Dying of the Light, but what did, or should I say who, was Skulduggery. In the last eight novels, we'd seen him as a charismatic, sarcastic, intelligent character, with wits and charm, but also a few major weaknesses concerning his wife and daughter and while Landy has never delved into the emotions he suffered when it came to their deaths, what he explored in Skulduggery through Valkyrie's absence was absolutely brilliant. You could see and feel the inner turmoil Skulduggery went through, exactly how much losing Valkyrie did to him and in doing so, it make him weak in places and he lost some of that charm, but I really liked this because it made him feel more real, more, alive, and more relatable on a human level. Skulduggery will never have a mind, or a body, or a pair of green eyes, (to me, they would be green, just saying..) but he does, most firmly have a heart, and in his heart, a special place for his partner, his apprentice, his best friend, Val.

He stood there, looking at here. She glared back, opened her mouth to continue the conversation, but he suddenly turned away, like he'd just remembered that she may look and sound and talked like Valkyrie Cain, but she wasn't Valkyrie Cain.
And she never would be.

Plot wise, I'd say Dying of the Light had it's issues for sure. The first 300 pages were a little, well, in my eyes, repetitive and this did affect my enjoyment of the first half. If I can delve into it as best as possible without giving anything away, it would involve an author using a plot twist, lets say something along the lines of pulling apart Jekyll and Hyde, and then reversing said plot twists, to only do it again around 50 pages later, to then do something scarily similar throughout the next 100 pages, to then just go right in deep and create a new Jekyll and Hyde in the next 50 pages. I'm all for good twists and things I couldn't see coming, but it all felt a little dry and cheated and like they weren't really plot twists at all. In fact, if I'm completely honest, I don't think I didn't expect any of the twists that Landy gave in Dying of the Light, which for a finale novel, is a little disappointing, however, this only affected the first half of the novel. The second half was much better. There were nods to characters and issues that had cropped up in previous novels, like the Death Bringer, Soloman, Remnants, the Dead Men and so much more and the inclusion of these features was just wonderful - to me, it's what a finale is about. Sure, make a fantastic ending and kill a few people, but really, you want to appreciate and include the thing things and people that got your here, the characters or creatures that make a difference and in the end, you want harmony and a feel of a complete story, and while it kills me to admit it, it does definitely feel as though the series has finished.

There are obviously other features I really appreciated throughout this novel, like Stephanie and Fletcher, especially Fletchers development throughout the series, Valkyrie's parents and just how stubbornly brave they are, even when they could have died, and how much they supported and loved her, no matter who or what she was capable of, Tanith and Sanguine, oh man, those two, they might not have been my ship, but damn did I feel for Sang, and oh did I love Tanith, sneaky, talented, it was so good to have in the final novel doing what she does best, Scapegrace and Thrasher, seriously guys, it was absolutely wonderful to have these characters finally treated with respect and power and given the opportunity to prove themselves and boy did they do it, every little feature, every little aspect, only complimented and gave characters who may have felt minor or not important a vital part to play and the fact that Landy ensured this was just lovely. Seriously, I could go into every character, but I don't have time and I'd more than likely spoil so many things, but trust me, where this book lacked in plot and pace, it made up for it in characters.

I can't say that Dying of the Light was what I had wanted in a novel. There were a few questions I had at the end considering Danny and Valkyrie, or Valkyrie's abilities, (although my hunch is because she's descended from the ancient ones, it'd make sense) it was a little slow and dry in areas and some scenes could have been shortened or left out, but on the whole, it's a great ending to the series, although ending it sucks. I do believable that whatever Landy takes on next will be entirely different. I think he's used up so much of this world and so much that he could do in these nine novels and really, I'd hate to see him drag it out. It's painful, it's sad, and it's time it ended, but as endings go, I'm pleased, and I'm glad I got to see Valkyrie and Skulduggery's friendship a little more, as I honestly cannot imagine one without the other anymore..

"And what, if you don’t mind me asking, is really important?"
Valkyrie holds her hand palm upwards, and it starts to glow from within. She smiles at him.
"Magic," she says.


  1. Awww, I'm sad this wasn't the epic conclusion you were hoping for. It really disappoints me when a series ender isn't as good as I was hoping it would be. This, I have to admit, kind of puts me off starting the series. I hate ones that don't end well, it doesn't seem like it ends really badly but it doesn't seem lie it has an amazing conclusion either. I don't know, I'm still undecided on this one.

    1. I know, I mean, it was good, but the first half just had too many issues for me and it's a shame really.. I don't think it's bad in a way that would make the series not worth it, I think the series is worth reading no matter how it ends because it really is such a great fantasy aspect, I would still push you to read though ;)


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