Skulduggery Pleasant is dead.
Valkyrie Cain is cool.
Omen Darkly is neither.
This cannot end well …
I was actually scared to start ‘Resurrection’ because so much time had passed since ‘The Dying of the Light’, both in the story but also in real life. But I knew I HAD to read it. To be honest, I didn’t even read the blurb, I just ordered it. I had no idea what it would be about, only that five years had passed and there was a new character called Omen Darkly.
Be warned, this will be a lengthy review as I have a LOT to say about this book! I’ll keep it spoiler-free, though so a friend of mine (looking at you, Barbara) won’t rip my head off. 😀
What a dragon thinks: My first thought when I read ‘You Can’t Keep a Dead Man Down’ on the cover was: Ghastly? Anton? But I almost immediately dismissed this idea because we are dealing with Mr. Derek Landy here. An evil genius who laughs at our suffering. That is also why he keeps reminding us throughout the book that they are dead. Thanks, man.
Five years have passed since Valkyrie has chosen isolation and headed for America, leaving her friends behind. But now she is back, only she is not. The guilt for what Darquesse did and what Valkyrie did to her family are threatening to eat her alive. Val is not her usual arrogant, sarcastic and self-confident self any more because she suffered terrible things, and did much worse things herself. This is something I really liked about the book. Valkyrie’s PTSD is not brushed over or glorified in any way. She is suffering and panic almost overwhelms her. And it doesn’t go away after thirty pages, this is something that is not resolved yet. We get the tiniest glimpse of the old Val for a moment. But there is much work to be done yet. Anything else would have been absolutely ridiculous.
Skulduggery, too, has changed. As has the atmosphere in general. Everything is darker, more grim and adult-ier? Is that even a word? There is less banter, less witty remarks, and less humour in general. The book still is funny, though. Especially in the dialogues. Also Skulduggery does his best to talk people to death …
Nothing dangerous, I assure you. At least, it shouldn’t be. I presume it won’t be dangerous in the slightest, but it might be just a little bit dangerous, if we’re unlucky. Which we usually are, let’s be honest.
Landy said it would be different from the rest of the series because time has passed, terrible things have happened and people are dead. It is the beginning of a new series featuring new characters. And I like them! Omen Darkly for example, the brother of Augur, the Chosen One. Augur reminded me of Cedric Diggory. I don’t know why, he just seems perfect to compete in the Triwizard Tournament?:D
Omen is the clumsy, dreamy one and I like him! He just lives his life and doesn’t want to bother anyone but then the Skulduggery Pleasant and the Valkyrie Cain ask for his help. Omen is just like I would be were I dragged into danger by those idiots: scared but stubborn and would stupidly blunder into any dangerous situation there is. Omen has made good character development so far and I think he will do just fine in the next instalments. However, you notice that the main team has changed. Both Skul and Val don’t think it would be a good idea to bring Omen – a 14 year old student – along but they still do because there is too much at stake. Skulduggery knows what Valkyrie turned into, what it did to her, all those adventuring and still he takes Omen with him. I am not sure they would have done something like that a few books ago and I don’t know if I find it good.
I would have loved to see more of the ‘old’ characters, though. So many that I hoped would be in the book were not. They were mentioned but never actually showed. I was really disappointed about that. It was a bit of consolation that some old favourites did make an appearance. Everyone, including me, was expecting to finally get some clarity as to who died and who lived after Dying of the Light. We do, sort of. Casual remarks that certain characters are still alive – or dead.
I’m going to need you with me on this, Valkyrie. I’m a better detective with you as my partner, and I’m a better person with you as my friend.
Representation! I noticed that Landy was trying to put more diverse characters in his books, sometimes a bit clumsily and a bit forced but this time I think he nailed it. Here we go. Omen’s best friend Never is genderfluid. I will be honest. I have never ever met a genderfluid character in a book before and Never is vital to the plot, too! I had the biggest smile on my face when they were introduced. I was a bit worried that they were just mentioned for the sake of being mentioned and then forgotten but Never is actually really important! Richard Melior and his husband Savant are also vital to the plot! We have Temper Fray, a black man who couldn’t be cut out of the book or it wouldn’t work any more. It’s lovely to have some diversity and this time around those characters are not defined by their gender, skin colour or sexual orientation. They just happen to be what and who they are and save the world. It is not ground-breaking but a step in the right direction, nevertheless.
Landy’s writing style changed a bit, I think? More serious and adult-ier. I don’t know how I could describe it. It just fits the setting and the slightly grimmer atmosphere. Landy employed a lot of that chapter-overlapping technique I already noticed in ‘Dying of the Light’. Like the last thing happening in one chapter is someone getting stabbed and the next chapter starts with Omen saying ‘ouch’ because he got a papercut. While I find this wildly amusing and a cool technique I think it was terribly overused in this book.
‘She didn’t have a choice,’ Skulduggery said. ‘We killed her and we let the boy walk, then we dismembered her, cut off her head and burned her limbs. But it was only when I carved her heart from her chest, that it finally stopped beating.’
Another thing I wasn’t happy with was the way the villain, Lethe, talked. italic emphasis everywhere. I just realised that is how Gina Linetti from ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ talks, too but she is a queen and I love her. However, there is a reason for Lethe’s weird speaking pattern but I only found out at the very ending. It made sense then but I still didn’t like it while reading his dialogues.
It’s very good to meet you, too, Detective. I’ve heard so many stories. So many wild tales. You’ve had quite the life of adventure, haven’t you?
I haven’t even talked about the plot yet. It was solid but broken down to its core it is nothing new. The plot twists were superb, though!! The final one left me with my jaw dropped to the floor. I think this book was very focused on the characters, introducing new ones, bringing back the old crew and show us how they are coping with the aftermath of Darquesse. Especially Valkyrie, of course. Now, I know I am not making a lot of friends by saying this but I don’t really like Valkyrie as a character. I could identify well with her for the first three or four books but with time she got more arrogant and more self-centered. Valkyrie is everything Skulduggery is – arrogant, selfish, sarcastic – but without the charm. In ‘Resurrection’ she is much closer to a real person and I started liking her again. I am looking forward to seeing where she will go on from now.
She said you were one of the most arrogant people she’d ever talked to. She said you were so young and full of confidence, and you looked at all the other sorcerers like you were so much better than them.
There were a lot of subplots, and not all of them made sense to me. Some were downright silly. So much has been mentioned or set in motion and I have a lot of theories roaming around my mind as to what might come. With a few sentences or the right dialogue Landy opened up so many new possibilities for future instalments and I am looking forward to reading them. 🙂
Favourite characters: Skulduggery, Omen, Temper Fray
Conclusion: New series, new characters, a new beginning. The writing was good, the plot was solid and I loved the characters and how their struggles became very clear. I was very disappointed that so many of the old characters were not in the book but I liked the new ones that were introduced. Great plot twists, action and witty remarks! LOVED the ending! There you have it, opposed to my initial scepticism I really liked the book.
Details about the book:
- Author: Derek Landy
- Age: 11+
- Pages: 423
- Publisher: Harper Collins
- Binding: Paperback
- Date of publication: June 1st 2017
- ISBN: 978-0-00-821956-7