*Spoilers for previous Skulduggery Pleasant books*
Derek Landy is a cruel and unusual author. I wouldn’t usually say this, but he won’t mind. In fact, he’d relish the thought.
After an eighth book in which Mr Landy made bits of most people’s nerves, I turned each page of The Dying of the Light in equal parts anticipation and trepidation.
TDOTL opens away from the main plot, and from the Valkyrie narrative. This plot becomes important and more relevant as the book goes on. It is well done as a device, as it is told in the present tense, unlike the past tense of the main narrative, and it puts other unknown characters to the fore, as well as being in a new setting.
Meanwhile, without going into too much plot, Skulduggery has been left Valkyrie-less, and the story boils down to stopping Darquesse from destroying the world. High enough stakes, I guess.
What follows is a pleasure and a torture. Landy dashes from scene to scene, not hanging around for such mundane storytelling devices as planning or exposition. The pacing is sublime as always. The characters continue to be a manifestation of an author with a lot of (funny) stuff to say. Just read it.
From a broader perspective, it’s hard to say if it’s the best book of the series. Kingdom of the Wicked was always going to be hard to top, but TDOTL does a serious/not-so-serious-because-it’s-Derek-Landy-after-all job in trying to top it.
For me, another read of both may decide.
For now, it’s another series to say goodbye to, and more importantly, goodbye to Skulduggery himself, one of my favourite characters in fiction. And Thrasher. Oh, Thrasher!
Next up for Mr Cruel & Unusual, Demon Road, a YA horror tale, the first of a trilogy, set in the US, coming in August 2015.