A lot has changed. Roarhaven is now a magical city, a capital, where sorcerers can live openly. Valkyrie Cain has been out of action for years, recovering from the war against her alter-ego, Darquesse, which nearly destroyed her and everyone else.
When Skulduggery Pleasant learns of a a plot to resurrect a terrifying evil, he persuades Valkyrie to join him for just twenty-four hours. But they need someone else on their team, someone inconspicuous, someone who can go undercover.
Enter Omen Darkly. Not a warrior. Not a detective. And definitely NOT the Chosen One.
Twenty-four hours to save the world. One sharply dressed skeleton. One grief-stricken young woman. One teenage boy who can’t even remember which class he’s supposed to be in.
The first Skulduggery Pleasant came out in 2007 and here we are with number ten in 2017, after a break to write the Demon Road trilogy. Derek Landy can hardly be accused of laziness at least.
The original series was a phenomenon, both in publishing and writing. It built on brilliant characters in the shape of Valkyrie and Skulduggery with an amazing cast of characters with imaginative abilities and a brilliant magical world based in and around Dublin. Added to this was Derek Landy’s now trademark wit, razor-sharp dialogue and breakneck action.
By the time the last instalment, The Dying of the Light, was released and devoured, the readers were left devastated and with a sense of conclusion even in this world of endless possibilities.
In Resurrection, we follow a different Valkyrie, one has lived through the horrors of Darquesse and finds herself more than a little lost. Having come home to Ireland after a self-imposed American exile, the last thing she’s prepared to do is join Skulduggery on another almost-certain-death style adventure. For Skulduggery, he knows that he needs Valkyrie and he thinks he can persuade her to come back and do what she does best alongside him. Being so familiar with the characters and their usual back and forth, it was interesting to see their new, more difficult dynamic. Valkyrie’s trauma is present throughout and it fits her uncertainty in the newer powers she is presenting with. She really is struggling to find who she is now.
There is a lot of fun still to be had along the way though. Derek Landy has effectively written what might be termed as a (hate this phrase) ‘soft reboot’ and wisely introduces us to new settings, mainly new Roarhaven, and a whole heap of new characters, while including some old favourites. Chief among the new cast is Omen Darkly, who as mentioned is as unlikely a hero as there could be. While not quite at Scapegrace levels of ineptitude, Omen is not the best under pressure but he becomes necessary to the story and it’s all the better for it. He’s a quality new character with a lot of heart and he brings us in with him to ever darker corners of the magical world, as he works with Skulduggery and Valkyrie.
As for the plot itself, I won’t go into it in any detail other than to say it’s great, and it’s sets us up for plenty of questions left to be answered. It’s almost traditional at this stage for Derek Landy to set up sideplots that seem to have little or no relevance, but we’ll have to wait and see…
So Derek clearly has plenty more to tell us about this wonderful world, and if he continues at this pace, I look forward to Skulduggery 20 in 2027!
Big props to Tom Percival by the way, for his ever amazing cover art.