Today's SnarkNotes topic is... Playing With Fire by Derek Landy!
WARNING: While this review is spoiler-free, it WILL contain spoilers for the first book in the series. Proceed with caution.
- it's been about a year since Valkyrie (formerly known as Stephanie Edgley) and Skulduggery defeated Serpine and stopped him from bringing back the Faceless Ones, ancient gods who would destroy all of humanity
- now someone else wants to bring back the Faceless Ones: Baron Vengeous
- (subtle names are not these bad guys' strong-suits, if you haven't noticed)
- pretty much everybody in Ireland (not to mention a contract killer from Texas) wants to kill Valkyrie, and it's all she can do to stay alive, and keep her parents from finding out about all this
- did we mention that if Vengeous isn't stopped within the next couple days, the Faceless Ones most definitely are coming back?
- luckily, in order to succeed, he'll first have to raise a monster called the Grotesquery from the dead
- that's obviously not happening, right?
- for starters: I can call Valkyrie by her chosen name from here on out! yay!!!
- this is the book that introduces Billy-Ray Sanguine, and honestly he is such a legend
- I forgot how great he was
- this also introduces Scapegrace, another great villain
- (well, not "great," since he's basically useless, but he's hilarious while he's being useless)
- there's a nice balance between "Valkyrie the experienced detective's assistant" and "Valkyrie who's still new at all this and doesn't have a goddamn clue what's going on"
- Skulduggery's motivational speeches
- China's not in this book much, but when she's in it, she's iconic, as always
- I liked that we got a bit more of Tanith's personality in this book, particularly what she's like when she's off-the-clock
- more vampires!!!
- more action!!!
- more BLOODSHED!!!!
- while this book is still really, really good, it's not as great as the first one was
- that's a common issue with second books, though
- Chamber of Secrets is the weakest Harry Potter book, no one likes the second series of Warriors books, and so on
- that said, it's not bad by any stretch
- though Vengeous just isn't as enjoyable as a villain as Serpine was in the last book
- which is a shame, because most of the villains in this series are great
- while the big Story Arc™ is set up from the first book, this is definitely where the groundwork for later books gets laid
- while I didn't like it as well as the first book, it's still really enjoyable, and a sign of good things to come in later books
- (or maybe bad things to come, seeing how often Val and Skul nearly get killed)
- (seriously these books are ridiculously violent)
- (it's awesome)
- stay on the lookout for my review of the third book, The Faceless Ones
RATING: 7 / 10
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If you've read Playing With Fire, I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!