Last Stand of Dead Men by Derek Landy

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Skulduggery Pleasant bk 8. HarperCollins, 2013. ISBN: 9780007489220.
(Age: Secondary) As stated on the front cover, 'No one is safe'. When war is declared between the Sanctuaries, Skulduggery and Valkyrie need to team up with the remaining Dead Men to protect against total destruction. Their foes and allies seem to be an ever changing assortment of characters with good and evil often being difficult to distinguish from one another. Finally, some of the characters who seemed merely to act as light relief in previous titles come to the fore and prove they have another side to their natures and display some greater depth of character. With Darquesse set to rise, what does Valkyrie's future hold?
Having read and reviewed the Skulduggery titles from the beginning, what started out as a humorous (if somewhat black) series has now become perhaps better suited to secondary readers rather than primary students. As with the characters in the Harry Potter books, Valkyrie has aged throughout this series. Now, with an 18 year old protagonist, Landy has tailored his books to suit older readers with much violence and bloodshed throughout this title. True devotees of the series will be distraught at some of the murder and mayhem which has occurred in this title and may be afraid for their favourite characters in the final volume. Having skimmed through many reviews written by fans, many seem to be filled with dread as to what the outcome of the supposed last book of the series may be. Personally, I found this to be a tome which was difficult to get involved with initially (largely due to it containing 600 pages of text, no longer double spaced or as easily accessible) but which finally managed to get me involved by the time I'd read a third of the book. Now, I wish the final book was already complete, just so that I could read it without having lost the gist of the story before its release. Skulduggery fans will undoubtedly love and devour this title as much as they have the previous books.
Jo Schenkel