I read this nearly two years after reading the previous entry in the Skulduggery Pleasant series. Unlike in many series, this book did little to refresh my memory of characters and situations; it fully expected me to remember from one book to the next with little prompting. This is not necessarily a fault with the book (obviously, I was at fault for waiting so long to read the third installment) but merely a case of Landy having high expectations of his readers.
As with the previous books, the snappy remarks are quite prevalent. Skulduggery remains very smooth and cool, though other characters have been suggesting to Valkyrie that he may not be as heroic and admirable as she believes. Other secrets and past misdeeds are hinted at, but not revealed, making one eager to read the next installment to learn just how so-and-so may have betrayed such-and-such in years gone by.
There is a scene near the end of this book which reminded me a scene from another young adult fantasy series. There was a difference here though: I was not as moved by the events here as I was in the other book. I realized this is because this is very much an action-and-dialogue-driven book, rather than character-driven. We see very little of the characters’ lives outside of the investigation and the crisis at hand. This is focused on in the fact that Valkyrie does not experience her “normal” life at all. She has a mirror image (literally) who goes to school for her and at the end of the day Valkyrie downloads the mirror’s memories. Thus, Valkyrie had her first kiss but only remembers that it happened; she does not remember the feel or the flush of heat to her face or anything else associated with first kisses. She missed out on that, which is a great loss indeed.
Although I enjoyed the book, I do not believe it was the best or strongest in the series. Thankfully, there are more books left in the series that I can sink my teeth into.
Review by Jessica A.