Skulduggery Pleasant: Resurrection

‘If I can get hurt, and I’m sure you know how wonderful I am, then anyone can get hurt’. As a paid-up member of the walking—if skeletal–dead, Skulduggery Pleasant should be no stranger to getting hurt. But even though he made it through the nine books in Part One of this series more-or-less intact, the forces aligned against him in Resurrection have him rattled. Rumours of an ‘anti-Sanctuary’, an organisation that wants to start a war between magicals and mortals, have turned out to be true. The skeleton detective teams up with his old partner Valkyrie Cain to take them on, but she remains deeply traumatised by the events of the first series. As extra help is needed they enlist new character Omen Darkly, a (very) ordinary schoolboy whose main claim to fame is that his brother is prophesied to save the world. Though Omen is keen to help, Skulduggery is wary of pulling him too deep into his dangerous world – and with good reason.

Resurrection will obviously appeal to the army of fans who know and love Skulduggery and Valkyrie, but Landy’s supremely assured writing style and capacity for world-building make it accessible for new readers too. It’s dark and funny, fast-paced but takes the time to explore the toll all this world-saving has had on Valkyrie’s psyche. The action in the set-pieces is crystal clear; you can always follow who is doing what to who and why – something that can’t be said for a lot of action films! And Landy’s talent for naming a character has not faded, with Omen’s contemporaries at school including Filament Sclavi, Jenan Ispolin and Parthenios Lilt. Resurrection is a welcome return all round.