Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Review - The Dying of the Light - Derek Landy

The Dying of the Light (Skulduggery Pleasant, #9)Title: The Dying of the Light
Series: Skulduggery Pleasant #9
Author: Derek Landy
Genre: Young Adult, Horror, Fantasy
Publication: August 28th 2014, HarperCollins Children's Books
Pages: 605 Pages, Paperback
Source: Thank you to Jonathan Ball Publishers for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review!
Rating: 5/5 Cupcakes!
The War of the Sanctuaries has been won, but it was not without its casualties. Following the loss of Valkyrie Cain, Skulduggery Pleasant must use any and all means to track down and stop Darquesse before she turns the world into a charred, lifeless cinder.
And so he draws together a team of soldiers, monster hunters, killers, criminals… and Valkyrie’s own murderous reflection.
The war may be over, but the final battle is about to begin. And not everyone gets out of here alive…

*This is the last book in the series and it has spoilers for the previous books, so don't read if you haven't read the previous books! However, you may read the paragraph below.*

But if you'd like to know what I thought of this and you haven't read the books and you want to, just know it was perfection. This series is perfection. There's fire-wielding skeletons dressed in impeccable suits and finely tailored hats, there's a sarcastic eighteen year old girl who also wields fire and some other powers and helps with saving the world. There's sarcasm, humor, shocking plot twists and TEARS. Because you will cry. There's friendship, beautiful friendship, where the characters will do anything to save the other. There's adventure and magic and it's utterly enchanting and you're not allowed to read this review if you haven't read the books because you can't be spoiled because you NEED TO READ THIS SERIES. Okay? Thank you.

**Quotes taken from Goodreads and are from all the books, not specifically TDOTL**
***Tumblr pictures aren't mine. I linked the pictures to their source.***

Warning: This will be more like a love letter to the Skulduggery series instead of a review because I'm worryingly obsessed with the series.

Okay, where do I begin? I just read the last book in one of my favorite series ever and I'm basically just a melting puddle of emotions. I just want to say thank you to Nkanyezi, the lovely publicist at Jonathan & Ball Publishers, for sending me this book so that I had to pick up the rest of the books, as if I hadn't gotten the last book I may not have picked up the series anytime soon and that, my friends, is a terrifying thought. 

I started reading this series around Christmas time with my dad and this series now holds such wonderful memories for me. Of rainy days sitting in the lounge with my parents and making my way through the Skulduggery series, of taking pictures of The Faceless Ones perched in my Christmas tree, surrounded by tinsel, of eating mince pies and Christmas cake while laughing at the sarcastic banter and then shortly after crying as one of my favorite characters was ruthlessly killed, of going to bed and reading and then looking up and realising the rest of the house was dark and my family was sleeping but I was completely oblivious as I was so entranced in this magical world that Derek Landy artistically created. 

Memories of going to three different libraries just so I could get all the books out, of going to public places or social events and managing to escape the situation by delving into a world filled with sarcastic skeletons, magic, laughter and heartbreak. Memories of laughter, wit, sarcasm and shredded hearts, of sore teeth from slapping my hand against my mouth as I was hit with a plot twist that I could never have guessed in a hundred years (because Derek Landy is a brilliant and horribly evil genius). Thank you, Derek, for being such an amazing author and for bringing such spectacular characters into my life and making the world I live in magical due to my reading of your books. Thank you.

Heartfelt thanks aside, I should probably stop gushing and write an actual review. Right. Okay.

The Dying of the Light was one of my favorites and one of the most heart-breaking (I just realised now that me sound like a complete masochist) of the Skulduggery series. This book twisted my emotions, leaving me breathless and disorientated. It had me crying and punching pillows and walking dejectedly around the house thinking about my precious characters. It had me laughing, squealing and shipping. This book made me feel and it takes a truly magnificent author to make one feel so many emotions.

There's quite a bit I need to talk about and it's extremely spoilery so there'll be a lot of spoiler tags (highlight the white space between the spoiler indicators) - DON'T highlight
 if you haven't read this book as you need to read this series. Like, seriously. Go get the books now.

Okay, like I said before, Derek Landy totally messes with our feelings. Technically he does that in all his books, but especially in this one. It already starts at the beginning of the book when we're introduced to Danny and we hear about the Irish-speaking girl who lives up on the hill away from everyone else and who is the talk of the town due to living all by herself in a big house. Immediately questions started firing through my head. Is it Darquesse? Is it Stephanie? Valkyrie? Some random girl that lives by herself and happens to have an Irish accent? *Spoiler* When they said she was 24 years old, I thought...wait...could it possibly be too hopeful that it's Valkyrie? And then it was revealed to us that it was Stephanie and I think WAIT AGAIN, is it Stephanie Stephanie or Valkyrie Stephanie? *Spoiler* And then later on in the book, Skulduggery and the crew were talking about how they could perhaps completely write Valkyrie's identity to kind of "squash" Darquesse's voice in Valkyrie's head so that Valkyrie could be the dominant personality again and I thought "What if Danny's girl is actually Valkyrie but she's the rewritten version? So that aspect of the book kept me guessing the whole way through but I think it was perfection how Derek incorporated that into the book.

He messes with us again when *Spoiler*Valkyrie comes back and then it turns out it was freaking Darquesse pretending extremely well to be Valkyrie.*Spoiler* I...I slammed my head against the book in frustration and cursed myself for allowing myself to hope because I mean, this is Derek Landy we're talking about. Then later on *Spoiler*they cornered Darquesse a second time and Darquesse had just decided to go easy on the world and be kind and then they captured her and I just thought "Oh my gosh, if they don't kill her now she's going to wreak even more havoc" because she finally started seeing how much better it is to be kind and well-liked when she was impersonating 
Valkyrie than to be a completely psychotic murderer. Then they captured her and she escaped and then she was really peeved off because she probably felt some sort of betrayal in a way? And I just thought ahh...this isn't going to end well. Luckily it didn't end too badly except I was SO SAD when Stephanie died and I teared up slightly because she had really become her own person and she really grew on me. She did some terrible things, but then, haven't we all? In this book we also just realise that all Stephanie ever wanted was to have a family and to keep them safe and out of harm's way. I really grew to like Stephanie and I could see Valkyrie did too. I'm going to miss their banter and sarcastic chats. Stephanie definitely grew to be her own person and became Stephanie not Valkyrie's reflection, but an individual Stephanie.*Spoiler*

The third time he tore our fangirl hearts apart was when *Spoiler*Darquesse "killed" Valkyrie's parents, Valkyrie, Fletcher, Skulduggery, Tanith, China and everybody else in the entire world and and all the alien forms in outer space before going on to join the Faceless Ones*Spoiler* and all that time I'm just thinking NO no no no nononononono. Surely, surely Derek Landy couldn't be that evil. But then I thought "Eh, he probably could." and thought back to all the characters he killed. Anyway, so I - naturally - started crying and Derek was probably siting in his lair where he forms his dastardly schemes and chuckling but seriously, DON'T DO THAT. It's evil.


*Spoiler*Oh, at one point, he made my think sweet, stupid, lovable Thrasher had died...Scapegrace's words to him were so lovely*Spoiler* I started crying. Again. Which seems a frequent action when reading a Derek Landy book. Luckily I didn't cry too long as Derek didn't actually kill the person. Well, he did, but he didn't leave the person dead which is GOOD. He should perform the art of resurrection more often. After that I thought to myself, maybe Landy ain't such a bad guy after all (Pfft. Who am I kidding?) BUT THEN he makes me think *Spoiler*Skulduggery died! He writes this beautiful, heart-wrenching scene between Skulduggery and Valkyrie that made me sob.*Spoiler* That scene perfectly conveyed Skulduggery and Valkyrie's friendship and how they make each other better people. They are both emotionally scarred by the tragic things that they've done and things where they've had no choice but to do. It tore at my heart to think how awful it would be if they didn't have each other. They need each other to help them get through the things they've done. It has been such an extraordinary thing to see their friendship evolve in the way it did. All the jokes and the sarcasm and the loving "I hate yous" to the sacrificing everything to save the other. IT'S JUST SO BEAUTIFUL. I hope that in all of our lives that we will one day have a relationship like Skulduggery and Valkyrie's. We all need someone who would be willing the risk the world when we plummet into the blackened abyss within ourselves. Honestly, I can't describe my love for those two. Skulduggery is so wise and sarcastic and has such fabulous comebacks and even more fabulous plans. He has these genius solutions for everything and I'm sure even more people would be dead if it weren't for Skulduggery's ingenious thinking.

I adore Valkyrie too. Her character development throughout this series has been truly magical. She went from an oblivious 12 year old to a strong warrior, assassin of the world as well as savior of the world. She's so strong and courageous. She's done some really bad things (most weren't entirely her fault) and she's made so many friends but lost so many as well, it was awful seeing her lose some of the people closest to her. She's grown into a wonderful person that will do anything to ensure the safety of those she loves. Also, her sarcasm is perfect.

The other characters are freaking awesome too. China Sorrows is queen. Seriously. I liked her from the start and although I wasn't sure she could be trusted at times, she definitely proved her allegiance to Skulduggery and the others. She cheated death a few times and even when she's bruised, battered and nearly dead, she'll still do everything she can to emerge alive from the situation. Also, she collects books and is a librarian which just shows that she is the best.
'“Oh, China. How I have missed you.'' "And I have missed you, Eliza. But don't worry, next time my aim will be better.”'
'“It's not that I want you to go, it's just that I don't want you to stay."' 
I love Tanith too! *Spoiler*SHE CAME BACK I'M SO HAPPY I COULD DIE. A part of me never truly believed she was ever gone and when she came back I was like yesyesyesyesyes!*Spoiler* I really admire Tanith, she's been stabbed in the back (literally, not figuratively), had nails hammered through her hands, been poisoned, was possessed by a remnant yet she always continued fighting and she never gave up. She kept on going and I love that about her.
“I wouldn't mind a sister either.""Any chance of that happening?""I can't see what would be in it for my parents. I mean, they have the perfect daughter already - what more could they want?"Tanith laughed, then tried to cover it up with a cough."Found something?" Skulduggery asked from behind them. Tanith turned, looking serious. "No, sorry. I thought I had, but, no, it turned out to be, uh... more floor."Stephanie hugged herself, trying to stop her shoulders shaking from laughter.”  
“He laughed and was about to retort when she grabbed his collar and pulled him into her. She clamped her lips around his mouth and mashed her face into his. He took a step back in surprise and she went with him, stepping in a patch of wet floor. Her legs went out from under her and flailed as she fell, whacking him in the throat on the way down. She looked up at him as he gagged and coughed, and from across the corridor she could hear Tanith laughing hysterically. "I think I need practice," Valkyrie muttered.” 
Fletcher. Fletcher is amazing and he's definitely one of my book boyfriends. He's got hair that reaches the sky, he knows he's handsome and important but he's so kind and lovely and wonderful and I completely adore him. I still ship him and Valkyrie, but Derek blew holes in that ship and it never reemerged, so I suppose it's officially sunk? I'll keep on denying it though because they're so adorable together. *wipes away tear*


Vaurien Scapegrace, Thrasher and Clarabelle are just adorable. It's funny how Scapegrace started out as wanting to be The Killer Supreme and "turn murder into an art form" - even though he'd never killed anyone - and at first I was like "Holy cow, this guy is a psychopath" but turns out he isn't such a bad guy after all. From the moment I met him he made me laugh. He was so bad at being bad it was hilarious. But in the last books, he started wanting to become a hero, he wanted to be a good guy. He became one of my favorite characters and he never failed to make me laugh. Thrasher as well, Thrasher's ignorance and kindness melted my heart! They're a dynamic duo and I adore them so much. It was also so adorable seeing Clarabelle become friends with them, too. They were all misfits, but they found each other and it made them feel like they'd found somewhere where they actually belonged. I loved the trio's dynamics!

Another character that I grew to like, not love, not even like, actually, but form some kind of attachment to, I guess? Billy-Ray Sanguine. I hated him for most of this series because he was always messing things up for Skulduggery and the rest and he was, ya know, evil, but when I saw him with remnant-possessed Tanith, it made me see that he actually cared about her and he seemed genuinely disappointed when she didn't return his affection and was repulsed by him *Spoiler*after she'd got the remnant out*Spoiler*. I really find it amazing how Landy makes us even feel some kind of sympathy for the villains.*Spoiler*When Sanguine died to protect Tanith, I was amazed.*Spoiler* And I actually felt a touch of sadness for him, that the person he loved didn't love him back and didn't even recall the times they spent together. Sanguine did help Skulduggery and them when Tanith asked him to because he knew it would make her happy. He stopped being evil occasionally just to please Tanith. *Spoiler*He died saving her even when he knew she didn't - and never would - feel the same way. *Spoiler*It made me feel some kind of admiration to him, something I never thought I'd feel for Sanguine.

We were also introduced to Danny, Jeremiah and Gant. Danny was fantastic and in a way I kind of shipped him and the girl whose name I shan't mention it. Jeremiah and Gant were evil. Seriously, seriously evil. They freaked me out, they really did. *Shudders*

As you can see, that characters are all amazing and I love them all so much and want to wrap them in a blanket and keep them safe from the evil author. I've grown attached to most of the characters in the book and so many of them died tragically and were tortured throughout the book. The amount of tears I've shed while reading this series would probably be enough to fill a lake, due to all my favorite characters being killed off. But really, I feel like I've made best friends with the characters and I love it when that happens.

The plot was genius and there's not much else I can say about that. There's plot twists.

There's deaths.

There's sarcasm.

There's friendship.
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This book was perfect. This whole series was perfect. You have to do yourself a favor and read it, because it truly is amazing. There's such amazing character development, witty writing, writing that makes you feel all kinds of emotions. It's action-packed, it teaches life lessons, like people who use doors have no imagination and that the sparrow flies south for winter. IF YOU GET THAT, YOU'RE AWESOME. But seriously, this book was fantastic, this series was amazing and I'm really, really sad to say bye to it. Well, not an official goodbye, I've kept all the novellas to read. Ha, I'm so clever. *coughs* Jokes aside, read this series. It's spectacular and magical and exhilarating and one of the best. I will love this series forever, and it will always have a piece of my heart. Until the end. Just read it. 

I give it: 5/5 Cupcakes!
    

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