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Last Stand of Dead Men

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The eighth instalment in the biggest, funniest, most thrilling comedy-horror-adventure series in the universe - and the follow-up to 2012’s number-one bestseller, Kingdom of the Wicked… War has finally come. But it's not a war between good and evil, or light and dark – it's a war between Sanctuaries. For too long, the Irish Sanctuary has teetered on the brink o The eighth instalment in the biggest, funniest, most thrilling comedy-horror-adventure series in the universe - and the follow-up to 2012’s number-one bestseller, Kingdom of the Wicked… War has finally come. But it's not a war between good and evil, or light and dark – it's a war between Sanctuaries. For too long, the Irish Sanctuary has teetered on the brink of world-ending disaster, and the other Sanctuaries around the world have had enough. Allies turn to enemies, friends turn to foes, and Skulduggery and Valkyrie must team up with the rest of the Dead Men if they're going to have any chance at all of maintaining the balance of power and getting to the root of a vast conspiracy that has been years in the making. But while this war is only beginning, another war rages within Valkyrie herself. Her own dark side, the insanely powerful being known as Darquesse, is on the verge of rising to the surface. And if Valkyrie slips, even for a moment, then Darquesse will burn the world and everyone in it.


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The eighth instalment in the biggest, funniest, most thrilling comedy-horror-adventure series in the universe - and the follow-up to 2012’s number-one bestseller, Kingdom of the Wicked… War has finally come. But it's not a war between good and evil, or light and dark – it's a war between Sanctuaries. For too long, the Irish Sanctuary has teetered on the brink o The eighth instalment in the biggest, funniest, most thrilling comedy-horror-adventure series in the universe - and the follow-up to 2012’s number-one bestseller, Kingdom of the Wicked… War has finally come. But it's not a war between good and evil, or light and dark – it's a war between Sanctuaries. For too long, the Irish Sanctuary has teetered on the brink of world-ending disaster, and the other Sanctuaries around the world have had enough. Allies turn to enemies, friends turn to foes, and Skulduggery and Valkyrie must team up with the rest of the Dead Men if they're going to have any chance at all of maintaining the balance of power and getting to the root of a vast conspiracy that has been years in the making. But while this war is only beginning, another war rages within Valkyrie herself. Her own dark side, the insanely powerful being known as Darquesse, is on the verge of rising to the surface. And if Valkyrie slips, even for a moment, then Darquesse will burn the world and everyone in it.

30 review for Last Stand of Dead Men

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jasmine

    This is Derek Landy. Doesn't he look like a nice guy - with his ginger hair and pudginess? He writes a series of novels called Skulduggery Pleasant. When I started with the first book three or four years ago, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I thought it was going to be a nice, light, funny but slighty dark series that I'll forget straight after reading them. This is was what REALLY happened: Derek Landy is not a nice guy. He kills off all the characters you love, and takes complete and utter joy when you cry. He wr This is Derek Landy. Doesn't he look like a nice guy - with his ginger hair and pudginess? He writes a series of novels called Skulduggery Pleasant. When I started with the first book three or four years ago, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I thought it was going to be a nice, light, funny but slighty dark series that I'll forget straight after reading them. This is was what REALLY happened: Derek Landy is not a nice guy. He kills off all the characters you love, and takes complete and utter joy when you cry. He writes a series of novels called Skulduggery Pleasant that cast a spell on you. This spell moulds you to become an obsessive creature who will do nothing on this Earth BUT read this series over-and-over again until your life becomes this series. Many people have said on their reviews that the catchphrase No One is Safe has been used countless times, and so they were skeptical, and weren't overly worried. But I knew Derek better then that; I knew that if he was using the catchphrase No One is Safe, that he meant it. So, naturally, I peed my pants with terror. And screamed a lot a bit. I lost a good pair of knickers that day... ... and I lost my dignity, too... ... and whatever respect I had from all those who knew me... ("What were you like when you saw the rest of the cover, the title, and the blurb?" you may ask. My reply is that it's too shaming for me to describe.) When I received this on its release date (don’t know why but I’m not complaining), I spent the entire day just staring at it in utter fear. Fear of what I might start to read. Fear of what might happen. The sun rose the next day, I finished my duties for the evening, and started reading… …and then I got sick so I had to spend a few days not reading it. But then I got a little bit better and read until my sight got a little blurry. So now we're at the part of the review where I stop blabbering and tell you what I thought of the book. But I think it's nice to blabber before you start the actual review. I mean, it's a bonding process. We're bonding right now. Isn't that nice? Isn't it nice to bond with a person you don't know? *watches the readers lose interest* Alright, alright! I’ll stop. So, here it is. Le review! This is possibly the BEST book of the series so far. It destroys all of its predecessors in every single way. The writing is sharper, the plot more vast and complex, the characters gain more depth, and the twists will leave you utterly breathless. Oh, the twists! I love the way Derek makes his twists. There so shocking, and yet so plainly obvious when you look back on it. He hides the clues in such a way that you never find them, and then when the secret has been revealed and you suddenly see these clues. Then, in your subconscious mind, you'll hear his evil cackle. Damn you, Derek Landy! DAMN YOU!!!! I won’t mention many characters – I’m not even going to mention Val! – simply because I know I’ll hint at something and ruin it for you. See? Aren't I a nice person? China Sorrows and I have a very complicated relationship. I somewhat liked her at the start of the series, then took a serious loathing for her after Dark Days and continued that loathing up to now. Yes, I am saying what you think I’m saying; I finally liked China. I sympathized with her, and all the scenes she was in were very interesting. But, at one particular moment, my I-Hate-China side of me slipped out and laughed at her expense, then that moment passed and I only ended up liking her again. Confusing? Yes. We have a very, very confusing relationship. Scapegrace and Thrasher. They were the stars of the whole novel. Here was poor Scapegrace, still suffering with his newly found woman-hood, and Thrasher – sweet, sweet Thrasher – who was fumbling around like a scared but muscular squirrel. Now we move on to the detective that I love unconditionally and with all my heart.. Skulduggery. I have loved him since we first read about him in that graveyard all those books ago. But throughout that time, I have loved him more and more. (I particularly liked it when he was dressed in his all-leather battle suit…) This is were we finally see him through different peoples eyes, to see other sides to him. This is the book where you realize how truly tortured he is. Speaking of torture, this book made me… feel things. Emotions bombarded me left-right-and-centre, and attacked me until I didn’t know whether it was night or day. I’m not a emotional creature – I don’t LIKE feeling these things. But as the terrible war ensued in the novel, and watched most of the characters die, I was withered down to a blubbering mess. The series has officially left the children’s category. There was death everywhere, gory scenes, war raging, heroes becoming monsters for the greater good, and lots of swearing. The catchphrase shouldn’t have been No One is Safe. It should have been, "Darkness… Desolation… Life Worn to the Bone – IF YOUR HAPPY AND YOU KNOW IT CLAP YOUR HANDS!" Yes, despite the dark and dreary mood, there were outburst of happiness and humour that truly made you smile and laugh out loud. Now, I turn my head in the direction of the ninth, untitled, and final book in the series. I want everything to turn out right in the end – I want everyone to be happy and to ride off into the sunset upon their rainbow coloured unicorns. - I made that, by the way. FEAR MY AWESOME SKILLS! I’m aware that this won’t happen . I know that things won’t end with a “happily ever after.” (I'm holding out on the unicorn thing, though. That would be awesome.) None of us know what will happen in this finale. Derek probably still doesn't know how it ends himself. So all we can do is look to the ninth book with lustful, terrified, and bittersweet eyes, and pray to every religious god out there that he/she’d have mercy on our souls. ------------ Click on the spoiler to view my pre-review. (view spoiler)[ EDIT (3/8/13): Great. Spiders. My favorite creatures. Yay... (<--- sacasim) But other then the fact that spiders will more then likely play a large role in the book, the back cover looks epic. Well done, Tom. I approve of this cover. EDIT (24/5/13): That cover... - There I am, being a dead Martian Freeman and all. Is it shameful for me to say, that I saw the cover, sat on the marble floor, hugged my knees and started crying. “It’s just the way Skulduggery looks at her!” I hollered through gasps of air. If this is the reaction I have just by looking at the COVER, what am I going to be like reading the book? This book is going to kill me. EDIT (3/3/13): That title.... We've finally have been bestowed with a title; Last Stand of Dead Men. I like it, I really like it. I had an asthma attack when I read the title I like it so much. But it dosen't sound good for our beloved Dead Men. Derek, If you do ANYTHING to Ghastly or Skulduggery or Tanith or even Finbar Wrong... your a dead man. *dun dun shissshhh* I'm not a 'cryer'. It just doesn't happen very often. (Excited-Crying DOES NOT count, since I do do that a lot and I can't help it.) I can tell that a lot of characters I love will die a horrible death, and I WILL cry. Proper, ugly, snot everywhere, red eyes, blubbering, something that resembles Stitch-in-the-rain on crack and steroids, equipped with me banging my head off the walls/floors/anything hard shouting "WHY CRUEL WORLD???", type of cry. - On crack and steroids, Ladies and G's. Oh Derek why.... ----- August 29th. I have to wait that long? I HAVE TO WAIT ALL SUMMER LONG. You do understand that I will be wishing away my summer in anticipation for this book. I WILL BE WASTING MY SUMMER. AGAIN. I don't WANT it on the 29th. I don’t I WANT to waste my summer. I. WANT. THIS. NOW. Not on the 29th, not next week, not tomorrow. NOW. GGGGGrrrRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAA!!!! OK. Calm down. You can do this. You did it once with Kingdom of the Wicked, and you can do it again. Yeah, I can do this!!!! GO ME!!!! Hooooohoooo!!!... …and now I wait. (hide spoiler)]

  2. 4 out of 5

    Zohal

    WHY DEREK LANDY?! WHY?! WHY MUST YOU TORTURE ME SO?!!! Never have I read a series where the war starts in the second last book and then you have to wait A WHOLE ENTIRE YEAR FOR THE LAST ONE!!!!!!!!! UGH!!!! Just ... I can't ... I can't even- Why?! Why would you do that?! Why .. why.. why. *sobs* If you've read the book then you know what I mean. You know what I'm talki WHY DEREK LANDY?! WHY?! WHY MUST YOU TORTURE ME SO?!!! Never have I read a series where the war starts in the second last book and then you have to wait A WHOLE ENTIRE YEAR FOR THE LAST ONE!!!!!!!!! UGH!!!! Just ... I can't ... I can't even- Why?! Why would you do that?! Why .. why.. why. *sobs* If you've read the book then you know what I mean. You know what I'm talking about. Am I right?! Did it fill you with uncontrollable sadness and anger and made you almost swear and want to throw the book and not look at it again. Because that's what it did to me. And that ending!!! Must you inflict such pain!!!! UGH!!!!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kribu

    17 August 2014: re-reading this after a year, it's a ... mixed bag. Well, not that mixed: I still stand by my original five star rating, but on the other hand, a slow re-read a year later, when I could actually pay attention to more things and not just hungrily gulp down everything that happened - with my brain no longer reeling from the twists and turns - it's also clearly not a perfect book, from editing issues (a couple of confusing paragraphs, the odd extraneous word) to other problems (Ping, and a few 17 August 2014: re-reading this after a year, it's a ... mixed bag. Well, not that mixed: I still stand by my original five star rating, but on the other hand, a slow re-read a year later, when I could actually pay attention to more things and not just hungrily gulp down everything that happened - with my brain no longer reeling from the twists and turns - it's also clearly not a perfect book, from editing issues (a couple of confusing paragraphs, the odd extraneous word) to other problems (Ping, and a few of the word choices as well as other issues I had with the parts set in Africa or to do with the African sanctuaries, but these are, in the grand scheme of things, for me, minor problems). But that said, the main things, the plot itself, and everything to do with Skulduggery, Valkyrie, China and Stephanie, was still awesome. -- 9 September 2013. OK, I think I've put it off long enough. For some reason, this is probably the hardest book for me to review, ever. For starters, and for full disclosure, I should probably mention that it's hard for me to be completely unbiased. I am after all a character in this book - or rather there is a minor character in this book named after me (I'm not going to go as far as to say "inspired by me", even though she's sensible and reasonable and what not, ahem), amongst all the other dozen or so fan cameos who made it into this book, so... yeah. Other than that (i.e. being a total fangirl of this series and of its author, posting on SP forums and interacting to an extent with other fans as well as the author online), I have no affiliation with either the author or the publisher. I have received no free copies in exchange for that five star review - in fact, I've already purchased three copies myself (Kindle to read + hardback & paperback to be signed) and, I suspect, will be buying some more. Anyway. I don't want to spoil things too much, so I won't be going into plot detail, but be warned that there will be reactions here - and spoilers to the extent that have been hinted at in the description, or Derek's blog posts, or Derek's Twitter posts, i.e. anything publicly available before the book was released. Of course, if you've read this far into this series - and have taken a look at the cover, with this cover art and the "No one is safe" tag line, it probably goes without saying that Things Happen in this book, and that not all of those things are fun, light-hearted and fluffy. Overall impression: this is, without a doubt, in my opinion, the best Skulduggery Pleasant book written yet. By that I mean the plot, the twists, the writing, the sheer complexity of this eighth - and penultimate - full volume. Is it my favourite book in the series? No. No, it's not. Mostly because of reasons - reasons that have to do with Last Stand of Dead Men leaving me heartbroken and crushed and numb once I was done. "Children's book", they say. "Humour," they say. ... No. Yes, children can read it (if they're okay with all the bloodshed and the sexual innuendo, which by now isn't always even innuendo but pretty straightforward relationship stuff, or the swearing, which is very much present and IMHO very much justified when there), and yes, like every other SP book, it contains a lot of humour and howlingly funny moments and scenes and dialogue, but this is neither a children's book or a predominantly humorous book. This is a book about war, and about betrayal, and about the things people do. The things good people do, when there is a need, and the things good people do, when they cannot resist the temptations and the lure of absolute power and freedom and magic any longer. It's a book about how far we - or the characters, anyway - are willing to go, and a book about the breaking points of strong people. There is torture, and there is death, and there is bloodshed, and there is backstabbing, and there are political machinations, and yes, there is also love (because no matter how one interprets the love between Valkyrie and Skulduggery, whether one reads it as completely platonic or something a bit different, I can't see how one could deny it's there in so many ways, but Val & Skul, central to the book and the series as it is, is by far not the only relationship touched upon) and there is heartbreak and hurt and sadness. I would love to talk about characters here, but that would take me straight into spoiler territory. Suffice it to say that Valkyrie's path - the path she has been on since the first book, the first day, but more pronouncedly since the end of Dark Days - has taken another turn, sharper than ever. And I have no idea - no idea at all! - how things will turn out in book nine, the final book. My heart is hoping for a happy ending; my head is saying it's not going to happen. Skulduggery... Let's be honest, I've been in love with Skulduggery since his first appearance. Since I saw the cover of the first book, probably. But this book, this book made me fall in love with him all over again. He's magnificent when in charge, he's loveable even when jealous, he's sweet and adorable when smug... and truly, I think this was finally his book, one where we see him through the eyes of multiple people, not just Valkyrie. And oh, how my heart aches for him. If this is Skulduggery's book, it's also the book of a multitude of secondary characters. We get more points of view than ever before, more chapters from secondary characters' POV, and while I wished deep down that we'd focused more on Skul and Val instead, I do think the multiple points of view enriched the book, emphasized the sheer scope of it (as well as providing some much needed laughs at times, even if Scapegrace and Thrasher have become much more than just comic relief by now). And then there were the twists and the reveals. One of them I had guessed, sort of - I was about 98% certain of the identity of a particular character, who until this book was only seen pulling strings behind the scenes, mostly by the process of elimination (or in other words, no matter how much I tried to assume otherwise, every hint, every path of reasoning kept leading me back to this one specific person). So when that reveal happened, I wasn't surprised by the who, but I was still shocked about the how. Another of the Things That Happened... I had not expected. I hadn't expected it to happen in this book, in any case, or in this way. And that one hurt, even more than the first twist, and it's the primary reason why, for the first time in all these years I've been reading this series, I'm not anticipating the next (and final) book with excitement but rather dreading it. That said, bring it on. I'm scared - terrified, in fact, and right now I'm nowhere near ready yet, emotionally, to face that final chapter in what has become my absolute favourite book series ever - but I trust Derek Landy and most importantly, I trust him to do what is needed, not what the readers might want, no matter how much it might hurt. (That said, I'd be delighted if "what is needed" turns out to be a happy ending, with Skul & Val walking hand in hand into the sunset. Heh.) ETA 29 August 2013. I'm done. I've read it. And ... Just. God. That's all. I'll leave a review later, if I ever get my thoughts coherent enough. But .. wow. Okay. I don't think any book has had this kind of an emotional impact on me before, and I'm just .. reeling. Numb. ETA 25 August 2013: SO I HAVE JUST LEARNED ONE TEENY TINY SPOILER ABOUT THIS BOOK AND I AM NOW GONE. NO. I AM IN THE BOOK. I am in this book. Cameo thingy. YES. ETA 29 July 2013: ONE MORE MONTH. One more long, LONG month. How will I even survive this waiting?? Gah. I don't know if I've ever looked forward to a book more than this. ETA 24 May 2013: I have officially died. THAT COVER. I ... I have feels, you see. So many feels. And with this cover, Derek & Tom Percival have caused my premature death. *curls up in a corner, whimpers* Yay! We have a title! And even more yay! We have a synopsis! Which is making me wibble and quiver and shudder with worry. And with fear.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Katie.dorny

    I could not tear myself away from this book this afternoon. Darquesse is now here to stay. As is Stephanie: these two bits of information we pick up from the last book. How they occur is one hell of a wild ride in this latest instalment. The characters that died - one in particular - hurt my fragile character loving heart. I genuinely never thought it would happen after instances in previous books. More types of magical beings are introduced; politics within the communities is discusse I could not tear myself away from this book this afternoon. Darquesse is now here to stay. As is Stephanie: these two bits of information we pick up from the last book. How they occur is one hell of a wild ride in this latest instalment. The characters that died - one in particular - hurt my fragile character loving heart. I genuinely never thought it would happen after instances in previous books. More types of magical beings are introduced; politics within the communities is discussed and war comes to Ireland. It is kick-assing and edge of your seat action which I loved. No complaints from me on that part of how long the war actually was in this book. Skulduggery is as sarcastic as ever and I am here for it forever. My baby.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Daisy

    I don't think I've ever been as completely speechless as I was when I first finished this book (and several times during). I still haven't quite come to terms with the twists, and I have no idea where the hell the story is going to go from here. But I know one thing: that was possibly the most awesome thing I have ever read to date. I had high expectations, but the final product didn't even come close - as in it overshot those expectations by...a lot. Note - there will be a spoiler section I don't think I've ever been as completely speechless as I was when I first finished this book (and several times during). I still haven't quite come to terms with the twists, and I have no idea where the hell the story is going to go from here. But I know one thing: that was possibly the most awesome thing I have ever read to date. I had high expectations, but the final product didn't even come close - as in it overshot those expectations by...a lot. Note - there will be a spoiler section in this review because I need to vent these feels. Last Stand of Dead Men is the beginning of the war. But not a war between good and evil; between mortals and mages; between the good guys and the bad. This is a war between Sanctuaries. Fellow mages turning on each other. The sparks have been there the whole time, but now they've been lit and everyone is getting dragged into it. At the same time, Valkyrie and Skulduggery are desperately trying to find a way to stop Darquesse from rising and destroying the world. But time is running out and even Valkyrie's reflection knows her original copy isn't strong enough to hold back for long. I've always loved Derek's writing. He's amazing at combining so many different genres and aspects into it. Last Stand of Dead Men did take me longer to read than the other books, because it's not only longer, but the writing is more detailed and sophisticated. I've always said that, as the stories have gone on, Landy has really developed along with them. For example, the earlier books are simpler both in plot and style of writing, but this style has adapted as the target audience (of which I am proud to be a part of) has grown up, as well as the author. The action is flawlessly told, and amazingly exciting to visualise. I love the description, even though it's reasonably simple - but it's just right to fit into the passages and get the desired affect on the reader. The dialogue is great and everything ties in really well together. There's a very comedic flare to the narration (on top of the hilarious dialogue running through even the serious moments) that engages the reader very well. You get to know the characters really well form whoever's story a certain chapter follows. Since the story is told in the third person, we don't get direct quotes from the character's mind, but we still get their kind of attitude and perspective though the way Landy does present it. Where to start with the story? So, so much happened. So, so many twists. I can't even begin to describe how well though-out this book was. I have to say, I did have a bit of trouble at the start with remembering all the characters and everything that had happened in the previous book. The first couple of chapters didn't make much sense to me, and I ended up skim-reading them again once I had reminded myself of the events of Kingdom of the Wicked. After that, however, everything fell into place and became truly awesome. I love how much the story developed. The book isn't short, I know. But still, within 600 pages, an astonishing amount occurred. And every part of it had me utterly transfixed. When I got about halfway through, I couldn't put the book down. I lost a lot of valuable sleep over this. But it was worth it. The twists were legendary. I didn't see them coming until they happened. And then I was literally just staring at the page. Like I said before, I have never been so utterly speechless and clueless before. The brilliant thing was also that it wasn't so completely ridiculous that it couldn't be true. Sometimes twists like the ones in this novel are just too far fetched and they just don't work. But I didn't question the revelations. There also weren't just one or two twists; they were appearing throughout the whole book. You didn't have time to process what happened until something else came up. I was shocked by a most of it - which was great because it meant I was feeling something. I very nearly cried - very nearly. But some of the events in this book must have been thought of AGES ago. I'm talking second-or-third-book ages ago. I wouldn't have been able to keep quiet about those things for that long! Especially since they're so huge and...huge! The ending. You couldn't leave it on a bigger cliffhanger. I'm used to the Skulduggery books ending on cliffhangers, but this was just mean. (Somewhere in Ireland, Derek Landy is sitting, grinning at his own evilness.) One of the things I found really hard to deal with - more at the start, I admit - was the sheer amount of characters. I often mistook some of the smaller people with each other, which confused things a little. However, after the first third, I managed to get to grips with everyone. I could go on for hours about each character, because there must be literally hundreds, but these are, in my opinion, the best and most important. Oh Valkyrie. You are such an amazing character. So realistic; conflicted, guilty, selfish, making mistakes all the time. That's what makes her so brilliant; she is in no way a hero. Yet at the same time, she strives for what's important. She saves peoples lives and she wants to do what's right. But she makes mistakes, and good intentions fail her, like they do to so many of us (just, in our cases, not on the saving the world scale). Skulduggery remains to be a truly amazing mystery. I love the fact, even eight books in, we still don't know him that well. And he's still shrouded in secrets. This is emphasised by the fact that we're never given a chapter following Skulduggery's story. We have one for pretty much everyone else, but Skulduggery is always portrayed through someone else's series of events. It's a great technique, and I'm not sure I ever want to learn everything about Skulduggery. I always love mysterious characters; they're interesting because we don't know everything about them. If you were to ask me who my favourite character was from this series, I would cheat and say all the Dead Men. Because I think I might have actually fallen in love with them. (Yes. Plural.) The Dead Men alive and participating in this book are: Erkskine Ravel, Ghastly Bespoke, Dexter Vex, Saracen Rue and Anton Shudder. I could write whole essays on each of them, but I'll try and keep it quick. They each have their own certain flare, but all share their love of sarcasm, dark humour, quick wits and disturbing tempers. We've known Ghastly since the first book, and Ravel has been around for a while now. But I really loved seeing Vex, Rue and Shudder more in this book. We've met them before, but they became primary characters in this instalment of the series. It's great to see the legends Skulduggery's been telling Valkyrie for ages in real life - and even more hilarious to hear their own stories. I was so glad Fletcher came back. Oh I love that boy. He's a complete idiot, and infernally irritating, but he's so good. I felt so sorry for him for what happened, and I don't think he did deserve it. But of course, I was glad it happened, because it was great in the storyline. He's very real to me, because you can see when his emotions are affecting him - and that's quite a lot of the time. You gotta love Tanith and Billy Ray. They're great. They weren't in the book as much as I'd expect, but then again they did just have a 'novella' (I can't even type that with a serious face) all to themselves. But I think they're a great pair and they always add both humour and drama to the story. I was very entertained to find Ashione Flare in the story. It was strange, because I was just thinking about the girl she's based on, and if she would ever be involved in the story since she's such good friends with the author. And then the next chapter I read featured her alias. It was strange to say the least. Apart from the fact I know the origin for the character, I really loved Ashione anyway. She's feisty and her inclusion was great. Where is the Kenny story going? I'm so scared he's going to bring everything tumbling down (or more than it already has, anyway). He's great, and I like the way we get to see a mortal's impression of the magical world. It brings everything into perspective. The pace was great. I found it a little slow to begin with, but that's because I was reminding myself of what had happened and the beginnings of the war had to be set up before it started. After that, however, it was fast and I couldn't put the book down. [Spoiler Section - do NOT read if you have not read the book yet, and plan to.] Darquesse! I have so many questions that need answering. What's going to happen there? Are they going to get Valkyrie back? Is Stephanie going to turn into Valkyrie, and then kill Darquesse? Will Skulduggery turn into Vile to help? What's going to happen? The build up to this part of the plot was so good - especially that chapter where Darquesse has taken over, and Valkyrie getting subdued and basically wiped out. Darquesse genuinely scares me, which is a first. And I think she's just as formidable and dangerous as she's been said to be throughout the last couple of books. Stephanie. What a stroke of genius. I suspected Valkyrie's reflection was going to have a big part in her downfall, and everything that happens building up to the climax of the last book, but I didn't expect this! I admit, I was uncomfortable with Stephanie almost replacing Valkyrie, once she turned bad. Stephanie almost acts like a microcosm for the war between Sanctuaries: she's tired of being brushed aside and wants to be the important one. And if you think about it, while Valkyrie may be better when it comes to the magical side of things, Stephanie is actually superior when it comes to the mind. She remembers everything; every lessons Skulduggery or anyone else taught her; she remembers little details; she understands things to a different perspective than Valkyrie, but still in a sophisticated way. And Stephanie loves her and Valkyrie's family just as much as her original. So why shouldn't she have a life too? I love the way we're made to question this by Landy. It's awesome, and made me feel guilty about the uneasy feeling I got when Stephanie joined the gang. I'm not going to say much about the deaths but, as much as it may hurt me, they were so vital to the story. I didn't see the coming, which made it hurt all the more. I actually just stared after Ghastly and Shudder were murdered. I didn't even know it had happened at first. Derek writes like that; so casually. It gives a strange affect of where you're detached, like it's not real. This is amazing because it's what I expect actually witnessing something like that would be. [End of Spoiler Section.] I recommend Last Stand of Dead Men to everyone. You MUST read the other books first, but do take into account that the story and writing develops and improves as the story goes on. The first book isn't as sophisticated as this novel - not that there's anything wrong with that - but I don't want people to be put off the books because they think the first instalment is too 'simple'. But you should definitely go and read the series. It's one of the few stories that makes me laugh out loud, makes me nearly cry, and leaves me speechless. The action is wonderfully done, the characters are practically real and the depth and complexity of the story as it grows is indescribable. Go read. Now. If you're still reading this, then you haven't read it yet. Go. And finally I leave you with this piece of advice: it's a very bad idea not to take the title seriously.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Booknut

    Prepare yourself... To laugh. To cry. To laugh and cry at the same time. And to have your ability to feel obliterated as Derek Landy turns your heart into a punching bag. Full review to come after a long period of recovery :)

  7. 5 out of 5

    Grüffeline

    War is hell. Now, I must have had like 20 quotes marked to head up this review. All of them either really funny or just epic. But I went for this one because it is so effin true. That aside, I can only stress how much I loved this book. Just like the other books in this series, it is funny and thrilling and magical... It is even darker than the last one. There are two small things that I maybe could start to rant about. I won't start a rant but I will mention them: The first issue would be th War is hell. Now, I must have had like 20 quotes marked to head up this review. All of them either really funny or just epic. But I went for this one because it is so effin true. That aside, I can only stress how much I loved this book. Just like the other books in this series, it is funny and thrilling and magical... It is even darker than the last one. There are two small things that I maybe could start to rant about. I won't start a rant but I will mention them: The first issue would be that there isn't as much interaction between Skulduggery and Valkyrie as in the previous books which for me make a huge part of why I really fell in love with these books. It's still there but not in the quantity we're used to. The second issue (view spoiler)[ is Ghastly's death. It's one half of a sentence and that's it. It's mentioned later on but Ghastly deserved more (hide spoiler)] . Also, this book cemented my shipping of Valkyrie and Skulduggery even more... (view spoiler)[ HOW COULD I FORGET THE KISS?! It was just Darquesse and Skulduggery and just in a vision but... my fangirl heart must have skipped a beat on this one. (hide spoiler)] All in all, this series will forever be a favorite of mine and I can only recommend starting it if you haven't already.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Hayley

    If it helps, I do feel bad about the rating...but I feel its justified...here's why. The first thing I noticed when I started to read the new book was that way too many new sorcerers from different sactuaries were introduced, it gets hard to tell many of them apart, and you are expected to remember the names and characters, even though many get very fleetingly mentioned chapters before. In terms of plot, whilst not as bad as the last book was for being a bit random, the plot in this book has bec If it helps, I do feel bad about the rating...but I feel its justified...here's why. The first thing I noticed when I started to read the new book was that way too many new sorcerers from different sactuaries were introduced, it gets hard to tell many of them apart, and you are expected to remember the names and characters, even though many get very fleetingly mentioned chapters before. In terms of plot, whilst not as bad as the last book was for being a bit random, the plot in this book has become very involved and overly complicated now, it was a little hard to follow, as so much happenened, and it almost seemed impulsively written- like he didnt know where he was really going with it, he just kepy writing untill something happened. It also switched to a different story or character perspective nearly every chapter. Which is super annoying, and just draws attention to their being so much going on at one time from loads of different characters. It didnt feel well planned or cohesive, in fact, I hate to say it because I love books 1-6 so damn much. But it was lazy. Lazy lazy writing by someone who knows people are gonna pick this up and read on the promise of the previous books being so strong. In terms of story arc as a series of books, the pacing is crazy. The first 6 books were enjoyable and much more readable, but not a lot of the "big picture" story happened in any of them, just hints at what might happen (he probably hadnt decided). Looks like he's chosen to cram all the plot into the final 2 books instead. And it feels like he's still not entirely sure what the plot is or how its going to end. Unfortunately its become pretty obvious that Landy makes up and develops many of his characters as he goes along, and it feels like he cant seem to settle on any idea and stick to it. In terms of style, the writing seems sloppy, and in some places just bad and stereotypical, he just plain shouldn't include synonyms if they're going to be that bad. Oh and the numerous pop culture references- this book has loads, and they feel out of place, and geeky for the sake of geeky- he didnt include them in 1-6, so why in these last 2? Bit of a shame. All in all, I feel like Landy's either not had enough time to develop the overall story line and rushed the last 2 books, or he's just stopped trying. Its super dissapointing. But i'm sure, younger readers will love him and the series regardless. I hope he spends enough care and attention on the last book,the series deserves the end on the same level of quality as it started.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Nikki

    MY EMOTIONS!! How the heck did I wait a YEAR after reading that for the next one? I don't even know. First read: 2013 Reread: August 2014

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jessy (OCD Anonymous) Smith

    Skulduggery 8 was... Appropriate. This is a sad adjective to use about Skulduggery but it is what it is. Here they are, standing at what is, in many ways, the threshold and epicentre of the war between the sanctuaries. The mood in Skulduggery had to shift and that’s just a fact. It certainly got darker, which was handled well. It also had to encompass the entirety of the war, which Derek Landy did by introducing a couple of new point of views. Now while this was effective, it cut down on the Sku Skulduggery 8 was... Appropriate. This is a sad adjective to use about Skulduggery but it is what it is. Here they are, standing at what is, in many ways, the threshold and epicentre of the war between the sanctuaries. The mood in Skulduggery had to shift and that’s just a fact. It certainly got darker, which was handled well. It also had to encompass the entirety of the war, which Derek Landy did by introducing a couple of new point of views. Now while this was effective, it cut down on the Skulduggery/Valkyrie interactions in the book and I missed them. I found myself waiting, waiting for those Skulduggery/Valkyrie moments, and they were so few and far between. There was an unexpected plot twist that I truly did not see coming. But the most amazing thing about the plot twist was that even though it was unanticipated, it still managed to not be staggering. And that’s such a pity. Or maybe it was me, and I was in the wrong mood for Skulduggery. (view spoiler)[ But no... I mean Ravel being the mastermind behind the whole thing? Seriously Derek Landy, seriously? You know that time when an event in a book is so unexpected it becomes spurious? That’s how I felt discovering Ravel was a traitor. There was nothing that led up to his moment. It felt like a sudden hair colour change where your friends go, “Mehhh... I liked you better with the red.” (hide spoiler)] But this has got to be the first time something unexpected in a book was disappointing to me. Anyway, enough about that damnable plot twist, there were other things about this book that I liked/didn't like. I liked Fletcher in this book for some reason; his scenes were always a welcome break. Then there’s China who was cool and actually got her own screen time for the first time. I liked how she became The Grand Mage, because truly, five books ago, or even a book ago, no one would have seen that coming for China. See? This is a proper plot twist. I didn’t like the representation of Darquesse and Stephanie. I mean, I feel like they’re too many Valkyrie’s without enough to distinguish them. I like the idea of Stephanie and Darquesse though; I just wish it was better perpetuated. I liked the humour in this book, because that is one aspect of Skulduggery that doesn’t disappoint. His book was about war but he still managed to give us some happy-go-lucky humour in there, which was a relief. All in all, this book was a bevy of conflicting emotions, and the best part was the end. I mean that literally though. The part where that Kenny guy went to Valkyrie’s parents with the tape... It was the cliff-hanger of all cliff-hangers. Damn you Derek Landy for making me want to buy the last book while leaving me disappointed with the penultimate one.

  11. 5 out of 5

    tara

    I deleted my previous review of this book because a.) it did not make any sense and b.) I sounded like I needed serious professional help. That being said, this is still one of the best fantasy books I've ever read. I still cannot believe that the series is over because I miss Skulduggery and Valkyrie so bad. In my shelf of favourites, the books in this series are right there next to my Harry Potter books, because it is just that good despite being inexplicably underrated. I don't know if I'l I deleted my previous review of this book because a.) it did not make any sense and b.) I sounded like I needed serious professional help. That being said, this is still one of the best fantasy books I've ever read. I still cannot believe that the series is over because I miss Skulduggery and Valkyrie so bad. In my shelf of favourites, the books in this series are right there next to my Harry Potter books, because it is just that good despite being inexplicably underrated. I don't know if I'll ever find a more dynamic, complex, hilarious duo such as Skulduggery and Valkyrie in my future reads, and knowing that just plain sucks, because I crave that kind of chemistry, the sense that these characters belong, intrinsically and cohesively with each other. Man, I'm getting so emotional but whatever. I still hate Valkyrie's shadow. And I will always demand more Tanith, because no one can ever get wrong with that.

  12. 4 out of 5

    daisy

    you ever finish a book and just RTC but (view spoiler)[WHY DO MY FAVES ALWAYS DIE... Ghastly... : " ( I didn't see the plot twist with Ravel coming and I should have but!! I'm a dumb bicth!! (hide spoiler)]

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kimberley doruyter

    oh no what happens next???? ;) another good one but i can't wait to see how it ends.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Moonie

    THIS IS WHAT PAIN FEELS LIKE

  15. 4 out of 5

    I'jaaz (The Magician of Mirrex)

    (5 stars, Derek Landy. 5 hard-won, blood-drenched stars) What did I think? WHAT DID I THINK?!?! How can you even ask that question, you cold, soulless...*degenerates into blubbering mess* (You've all heard the tagline, "No one is Safe" before, right? When it comes to Skulduggery Pleasant, you had better believe it with all of what's left of your souls. "What's left of your souls? Why would you say that?" Two reasons: 1) This series has a very prominent hist (5 stars, Derek Landy. 5 hard-won, blood-drenched stars) What did I think? WHAT DID I THINK?!?! How can you even ask that question, you cold, soulless...*degenerates into blubbering mess* (You've all heard the tagline, "No one is Safe" before, right? When it comes to Skulduggery Pleasant, you had better believe it with all of what's left of your souls. "What's left of your souls? Why would you say that?" Two reasons: 1) This series has a very prominent history, at least in my experience, of taking a little bit of my soul each time I read. 2) I'm assuming you have read KoTW and the painful way that it ended. I'm only giving you a way to try to save your souls from being completely obliterated by warning you: believe whatever the tagline of any SP book says; it will invariably come true.) Oh my Goodreads..... I just finished this...should it even be called a book? Because this this is unlike any other book that I have ever read. Ever. It writes like a movie, reads like a song, and plays like a SP fan's darkest possible nightmare. I'm actually feeling sick right now thinking about how much has changed... In this book, the Sanctuaries' blood finally boils over, and the world erupts. Well, it's mainly blood erupting from the veins of the people who stand in Pleasant and Cain's way, but that does not make it any less enjoyable. This book makes KoTW look like a preschool baby toy. There is violence, there is bloodshed, there is gore, and there is a distinct lack of humor in the second half of the book, which I think is quite appropriate for the subject at hand. Perceptive readers might notice a distinct melancholy in my review/discussion, more than is normally displayed. This is because...this book crushed me, and I loved it. Harry Potter lovers will love this book, and I would even go so far to say that this is a darker, more adult version of HP. *frowns thoughtfully* ...Actually, I take that back. This is not a version of HP. This IS Harry Potter, in an entirely different and brand new, albeit darker, dimension. It is to Minions what HP is to it's fans: brilliant, witty, funny, and, like it's predecessor, absolutely groundbreaking in YA fiction. I would recommend this to everyone (Except children, for obvious reasons). Teenagers, war veterans, nurses, computer programmers, roofers, elders, EVERYONE. (view spoiler)[ Also, can we just talk about Skulduggery? His anger is an extremely delightful read, and when Ravel Killed Ghastly (Still can't believe that Ghastly is dead....he was my favorite character. I could see myself in him, more than I expected.) when Sanguine had his little moment of irrationality "...but he’d seen that kind of anger before. It was the quiet kind. The dangerous kind." I. Loved that. Dark, righteous vengeance is the most delightful character development I have ever seen used. (hide spoiler)] Write while you still can, Derek Landy. Write, because when this is over, you will have created a soulless monster in every Minion, and they will all be coming. For. You.

  16. 4 out of 5

    maria

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. first read: sept 2013 second read: 3/08/16 - 8/08/16 third read: 7/08/17 - 10/08/17 fourth read: 20/07/18 - 23/07/18 *before I get into this review; look HOW WELL I have managed to sync my re-read this year, like wow.* first off, this is my first EVER review with spoilers so wooo ... so it means this i will be one huge mess as my feelings are totally out of whack SO HOLY SHIT. Okay the character writing in this was INCREDIBLE. Derek Landy just keeps improving first read: sept 2013 second read: 3/08/16 - 8/08/16 third read: 7/08/17 - 10/08/17 fourth read: 20/07/18 - 23/07/18 *before I get into this review; look HOW WELL I have managed to sync my re-read this year, like wow.* first off, this is my first EVER review with spoilers so wooo ... so it means this i will be one huge mess as my feelings are totally out of whack SO HOLY SHIT. Okay the character writing in this was INCREDIBLE. Derek Landy just keeps improving with every, single book. The hopelessness of the war and losing against the warlocks seeped through the pages. The part where Mantis's army were defeated blew a hole through my chest. I've already read this book and yet I still felt severely crestfallen. We also saw the COMPLETE ruthlessness of Skulduggery Pleasant. Landy is amazing as none of the characters are good. They are all twisted in some form or the other and the skeleton is one of them. He was constantly referred to as "cold" and "humourless". War brings out the worst in things. And I was completely petrified when you could feel the white hot anger radiating from the book. Valkyrie had gone and the pure desperation he wants her back. Needs her. It so beautiful but sad to see how much he loves her, finally, a bond of friendship and not love. Lastly, my angry side... RAVEL IS AN ARSE HE NEEDS TO ROT IN HELL AND EVERYONE LEAVE FLETCHER ALONE. HE ID INNOCENT AND LOVING AND NEEDS A FUCKING REST. WHEN MYRA TRIED TO MURDER HIM I HAVE NEVER BEEN MORE SCARIED. MY BODY LITERALLY SHUDDERED WHEN GHASTLY DIED, ONE OF THE NOBLEST CHARACTERS WE HAVE MET. AND CHINA AND SKULDUGGERY TOGETHER IS INCREDIBLE. THEIR HISTORY IS BURIED SO DEEP THAT WHEN HE SCREAMED AND CHINA WHILE SHE WAS DYING MY BONES SHATTERED how will I ever get over this? fourth read: still 5 stars

  17. 4 out of 5

    The Book Gazer (Eddie)

    This review is courtesy of http://TheBookGazer.blogspot.com ---- My Thoughts: Okay, you know those books that are just great? They meet all your expectations, captivate you, everything. Yet despite that, you stare at your computer screen, wondering what on earth to ramble on about? Yeah, Welcome to my current situation. When Derek Landy revealed the tagline to his latest piece of work, I was a bit skeptical. "No one is safe"? I've heard that line a hundred times before, but not quite like this. People die in Last Stand This review is courtesy of http://TheBookGazer.blogspot.com ---- My Thoughts: Okay, you know those books that are just great? They meet all your expectations, captivate you, everything. Yet despite that, you stare at your computer screen, wondering what on earth to ramble on about? Yeah, Welcome to my current situation. When Derek Landy revealed the tagline to his latest piece of work, I was a bit skeptical. "No one is safe"? I've heard that line a hundred times before, but not quite like this. People die in Last Stand of Dead men, main characters and nameless characters alike. At this point, my only worry is how many people will die in the last book of the series... When everything comes crumbling down. But alas! Derek Landy still maintains his witty humour, laugh-out-loud scenarios, and signature combat choreography. (Which you can expect a lot of, considering the war that this novel revolves around). If you were expecting this series to "bog down" before the end, you''ll be sorely disappointed. Oh, and Mr. Landy did one more amazing thing in Last Stand Of Dead Men that made it special for us minions. What exactly you ask? Well, he included some of us in his book. Yep, some of the names you'll hear in LSODM are real fans! (No not me, but some of the people I know) To put it in a nutshell, LSODM was amazing. I raced through all 164,729 words of it in exactly two days. Somehow, amidst my frantic preparations for school, I managed to find some time for this gargantuan-sized thrill-ride. Rating: 4.9/5 What to expect? War Death Secrets Betrayal

  18. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    Ugh. I feel like I did at the end of Deathly Hallows - emotionally strung out and amazed at how much I care about fictional characters. This isn't even the last book! Now I need to make it til next September for the end, and just...I'm not expecting any type of happy ending. With everything that happened in this one, it was one horrible event after another. Loved everything. I shed a few tears for one character, shed a whole lot during one of the chapters near the end, and Ugh. I feel like I did at the end of Deathly Hallows - emotionally strung out and amazed at how much I care about fictional characters. This isn't even the last book! Now I need to make it til next September for the end, and just...I'm not expecting any type of happy ending. With everything that happened in this one, it was one horrible event after another. Loved everything. I shed a few tears for one character, shed a whole lot during one of the chapters near the end, and smiled quite a bit because Landy, amidst all the heartbreak, kept the humor. The banter between Valkyrie and Skulduggery about her birthday present being a stick, and the camaraderie between the Dead Men...guh. Things were gross (Wretchlings? Worse and way more gross than zombies. Why would you bite something covered in boils? ew ew EW.), and violent, so much violence. Love that Landy went there, since there is a war. And funny, and heartbreaking, and I love this series so freakin much. In all honesty, I can't wait for this series to be over, just so I can read the other books Landy will hopefully be writing. Given the last few days though, I'm not entirely ready for the ending. It's gonna be rough.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ela

    Review to come, I need to go and breath into a paper bag. Edit 4 months later: I'm not sure this is ever going to get reviewed, the topic is too painful and I have trouble putting my emotions into words.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Highness Atharva

    Skulduggery Pleasant Book 8 *Last Stand of The Dead Men* by Derek Landy It is from this book in the series that I've come to truly appreciate the vast amount of efforts that the author has put in in order to narrate this intricate and ultra-fast paced super immersive dynamic and overly developed story all while balancing action, cheesy dialogues and more than mediocre humour. The magnanimity and the epic standoff that this book delivers is at an entirely different peak and it all comes Skulduggery Pleasant Book 8 *Last Stand of The Dead Men* by Derek Landy It is from this book in the series that I've come to truly appreciate the vast amount of efforts that the author has put in in order to narrate this intricate and ultra-fast paced super immersive dynamic and overly developed story all while balancing action, cheesy dialogues and more than mediocre humour. The magnanimity and the epic standoff that this book delivers is at an entirely different peak and it all comes down to the plot and the multitude of characters involving with each other. At this point in the series where this is the penultimate book and surprises begin to show up with big battles and side quests spanning over 700 pages it is somewhat hard to process everything and remember what went down because the pacing of the story is so fast and detailed at the same time it makes you want to write a recap/summary of the each chapter but worry not SKUL-WIKIA (FANDOM) has a 10 paged detailed plot summary which really helps you t appreciate the collosal story that occured during the book. I have to acknowledge that though this series started off as a Young Adult, Middle Grade fantasy action it has quickly developed into a material that is more suitable for mature adults and critics looking for great depths and dynamic and world building throughout the series. The way the story started with the Dead Men Assembling and that classic Skulduggery ripoff, the first half of the book was too enjoyable and the second was an all out war mostly having reveals that made me gasp, cry(as in shout loudly) and pass dreamy nights. Trust me when I say this, some epic stuff goes down here! First of all, the author deserves a never ending applause for dexterously managing the multitude cast of characters that he has created, pitching them in for a suitable plotline in the book and doing them so much justice that it all feels natural and bound to happen in the end. I mean, the character development in the series is over the top insane. The characters stay true to their original traits and seem very realistic. I liked the way Derek has brought in a POV narration of sorts with each character winding off on his/her own journey. To be honest, I didn't really dig into Scapegrace's and Thrasher's arc and I honestly don't know why th author has devoted 40-45 pages about these D-tier useless characters that don't seem to progress or push the story even in the smallest of bits. Anyways, this reading experience was a hands on delight and very much memorable. I never expected the reveals and the twists that came through midway and changed the entire game. I'm very much sure where the series to going for its end but after all there is only so much you can know and that too can't be guaranteed because we are talking about Mr. Derek Landy here and one chapter is all it takes to turn it all upside down and I have seen the final installment to contain over a hundred chapters, so there. I won't lie, reading a 700 paged book felt like a stretch to me compared to the classic 200 pages Skulduggery's and this is n an even smaller print so like I said some crazy stuff happens in the book and the story is too much to see over. I really like Chivari, China, Ghastly, Revel, the International Sanctuary and the whole ordeal about the war of the sanctuaries. Fletcher by far has the most developed secondary character arc in here. The Dead Men fighting together bought a new spirit to the series but we all know how that story ended, so let's just leave it there? Yeah, totally recommended for Skulduggery fans, just a suggestion. Take the story and the plot in slowly, don't you dare devour it. The book sets in some gradients and marks up for the final installment and may seem like a really long read because of the excessively fast paced plot but you'll get to the end eventually. I still can't believe it all ends in the next 700 pages. Damn. Definitely my favourite pick from the series so far! Nice Reading!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Rader

    Another excellent book!!! This is one of the best series I have ever read! Intense, hilarious, poignant, and moving.

  22. 4 out of 5

    S.E. Berrow

    I'm too upset to review because WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?! EDIT: OK, now that I have managed to compose myself, here goes... The latest instalment of the truly excellent Skulduggery Pleasant series by Irish author Derek Landy (which incidentally most definitely stopped being a children's book around book 5, possibly even book 4) is bleak, bloody and brutal. Absolutely brutal; there are no other words for it. "No one is safe" reads the strapline, and you had better bloody believe it. Landy has never rea I'm too upset to review because WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?! EDIT: OK, now that I have managed to compose myself, here goes... The latest instalment of the truly excellent Skulduggery Pleasant series by Irish author Derek Landy (which incidentally most definitely stopped being a children's book around book 5, possibly even book 4) is bleak, bloody and brutal. Absolutely brutal; there are no other words for it. "No one is safe" reads the strapline, and you had better bloody believe it. Landy has never really been shy of killing off and/or writing out or otherwise seriously screwing over major players in his novels, but something happened in this book that was just so desperately awful, upsetting and unexpected that I'm still thinking about it even now; I will probably still be thinking about it for a few days, possibly even weeks to come. Primarily, this book is about war - the realities of war, scarily close to how war games are currently operating in this present day and age. There is fighting, there is death. Lots of death. There is a televised, provocative execution to incite war. There is torture. There are twists, turns and very sudden drops. There is no good and evil, no demons, no forces of darkness... Only sorcerers vs. sorcerers. Characters who were formerly allies and friends now fighting one another in a bid to fill the enormous power vacuum that's been kicking about since Mortal Coil. The ambiguity and distasteful nature of the whole affair is frequently impounded upon, amidst an extremely chaotic narrative that jumps erratically from one area of the globe to another across several viewpoints, some familiar characters, some new. As opposed to previous books in the series, Last Stand of Dead Men is primarily action driven with little room for mystery and suspense and even less room for humour. Skulduggery and Valkyrie are weirdly absent for the majority of this book also which was a little disappointing, although I really, really loved Ghastly Bespoke in this book, and relatively new character Dexter Vex, whom I'm guessing had quite a significant role in the Tanith Low novella The Maleficent Seven that I have yet to read... On that note, I wish I had read The Maleficent Seven before I read this one. Previous Skulduggery short stories were not expanded upon or referenced in the series but it sounds like some pretty major events happened in The Maleficent Seven. Consequently that's where the book fell down a little for me - Last Stand of Dead Men does not flow smoothly from the previous book in the series to the other. Overall, this book was intense. So, so, so intense. And I mean that in a genuine 'I was really shaken and disturbed' by this book kind of way, less of an exhilarated, exciting, 'all the feels' kind of way. There were moments in this book where I felt genuinely shocked and upset. Horrified. I was surprised. I feel very, very anxious about Skulduggery and Valkyrie's future and sincerely hope it all works out, because at the moment I cannot possibly see how it can. In fact, I would even go so far as to say that I feel a little traumatised by it all, and I don't think I've ever felt this way about a book before, not even after breaking down upon reading Sheryl Jordan's Secret Sacrament when I was, like, 13. The Skulduggery Pleasant series is absolutely fantastic, but WARNING: Keep out of reach of children.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Hamilton

    Star rating: * * * * * 5 out of 5 Oof! Just finished Last Stand of Dead Men and I feel like I’ve been fighting alongside Skulduggery, Valkyrie, Tanith and the rest for the last few days. When Derek Landy says on the cover, ‘No one is safe’, you’d better believe it. The book offers everything you’d expect from the eighth installment in the Skulduggery Pleasant series: action, action and more action, with the usual witty one-liners and spiky dialogue thrown in to the horror – slash – comed Star rating: * * * * * 5 out of 5 Oof! Just finished Last Stand of Dead Men and I feel like I’ve been fighting alongside Skulduggery, Valkyrie, Tanith and the rest for the last few days. When Derek Landy says on the cover, ‘No one is safe’, you’d better believe it. The book offers everything you’d expect from the eighth installment in the Skulduggery Pleasant series: action, action and more action, with the usual witty one-liners and spiky dialogue thrown in to the horror – slash – comedy – slash – adventure (homedenture?) mix. There’s also something incredibly timely about this tale of allies turned enemies. While I was reading, the world’s leaders were discussing the ‘red line’ other countries shouldn’t cross and many were questioning the wisdom of drawing this kind of ‘line’ in the ground. Maybe because anyone who’s spent five minutes in a school playground knows it just makes everyone want to poke their toe over it. So it was interesting to see Derek Landy put the ‘wise’ in wisecrack and highlight the accidental arrogance of the Dead Men in their attempts to prevent war: “Right”, said Valkyrie. “So you’re basically hoping that your reputations will make them run away?” Skullduggery looked at her. “Well it just sounds silly when you say it out loud.” And at a time when all you hear when you turn on the news are threats and bluster, there was something very relevant about Landy’s line: “When he’s backed into a corner, Basahalani will talk big and talk tough and all the time he’ll be crossing his fingers and hoping that you don’t stand your ground.” But I know nothing puts you off a book quicker than the suspicion it might be ’educational’, so I should point out The Last Stand of Dead Men is also crazy, subversive and laugh out loud funny. You’ll get caught up and tossed about by the fast-pace and thrills of the battle scenes. Although, for me, the beauty of the book is it’s exploration of the stupidity of war and the horror of friends start attacking friends. Because, in the words of Derek Landy: “War is hell and it’s scary and how on earth is anyone supposed to know what side they’re on?” Personally, I can’t wait for book nine to help me choose sides. Overall, another cracker from Derek Landy, and a great book to get people talking and (weirdly enough) laughing about the themes shaping global events You can find this review, and many more, at Book Walrus http://book-walrus.com/skulduggery-pl... Last Stand of Dead Men

  24. 5 out of 5

    Skyril

    4.5 For anyone who is reading this review, I hope you have already read this book, as well as the previous seven, because there will be some spoilers. First and foremost, this is the first Skulduggery Pleasant book that I have even considered giving a lower score than five. Of course it was fantastic. Of course it was witty. Of course it was incredibly all-consuming. However, Derek Landy seemed, for the first time, to kind of... be lazy about his rules and writing. 4.5 For anyone who is reading this review, I hope you have already read this book, as well as the previous seven, because there will be some spoilers. First and foremost, this is the first Skulduggery Pleasant book that I have even considered giving a lower score than five. Of course it was fantastic. Of course it was witty. Of course it was incredibly all-consuming. However, Derek Landy seemed, for the first time, to kind of... be lazy about his rules and writing. For instance, there are several times when Fletcher teleports someone who, as far as I am aware, has never been teleported. For instance, Ajouga, the Bride of Blood Tears, or Bane and O'Callahan, and others. Another thing, the cloaking spheres? They didn't seem to have a time limit as they are meant to. Odd. Lastly, the book was somewhat confusing. I blinked, went "What?," blinked again and couldn't figure a few things out. When Ravel gives his speech, and the shunter.... somehow... brings an alternate reality's Roarhaven to... well, Roarhaven. What? How? When did they build this? How? Who built it? No one knew about it? How did he shunt it over? I just do not get it. :/ Unfortunately, there were a couple of other scenarios that confused me as well, but I am not going to get into them. Basically, it was written less strictly and uniformly as usual. The goods still outweigh the bads, though. The characters are wonderful, stay true to their personalities, and develop. The plotline is brilliant. The ideas fantastic and believable. The fights? Amazing! I was just telling my mom how much I have grown to love the battles, not for the craziness or gore or death, but because no one cares about honor or dignity- only winning, in any way he possibly can. They fight dirty, and I love it. It was a wonderful book, terrible, sad, but wonderful, which is absolutely to be expected of Derek Landy, and I absolutely enjoyed it. [And by the way, Derek Landy, I don't hate you as you thought I would. I don't know if you could do anything to make me hate you... Unless you kill off Skulduggery or Saracen. I love Saracen too much. DON'T DO IT!]

  25. 4 out of 5

    Aurora

    This book didn't start out much different from the other Skulduggery Pleasant books. It had the usual amounts of sass and sarcasm and narcissism and attitude, with a some violence and magic and weirdness thrown in there for hoots. It was fun to read. I laughed quite a bit and was constantly exclaiming about how much I loved it, even though there was a war going on. Despite the seriousness of it, everything was still okay. Then, about half way through the book, there came a scene that This book didn't start out much different from the other Skulduggery Pleasant books. It had the usual amounts of sass and sarcasm and narcissism and attitude, with a some violence and magic and weirdness thrown in there for hoots. It was fun to read. I laughed quite a bit and was constantly exclaiming about how much I loved it, even though there was a war going on. Despite the seriousness of it, everything was still okay. Then, about half way through the book, there came a scene that changed everything. I'm sure those of you who have read the book know what scene I'm talking about. And things changed. Dramatically. The fun yet dark book that I started reading disappeared and was replaced by one that was different. It became so much harder to read. I began to turn every page with a new sense of dread, not knowing if any of the characters I had grown to love would live or die or have to make a very difficult choice that would ruin them for the rest of their life. The perspectives of each character grew worse and worse as the war continued and people fought and lost. I will certainly admit that this was a hard book to read. I've rarely encountered a book that has taken me by such surprise by how bleak and soul-ruining as LSODM. If this trend of spiraling into the depths of despair thing is going to continue, I think I'm really going to be afraid of reading the final book. It's going to be a heartbreaker, that's for sure. Derek Landy is a cruel, cruel author to kill so many people in the way he did. Some of those deaths were just awful. Even if they were once enemies of the main characters, they were still good people. They didn't deserve to die the way they did. And now, I have one last question: (view spoiler)[ What secret does Dusk know about Valkyrie that she herself does not know? (Chapter 50, for reference) (hide spoiler)]

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    WOW. WOW. WOW. I don't want to spoil anything, but the strapline, "No one is safe'? Ain't that the truth. Some serious stuff (avoiding spoilers, see?) happens in this book. There's the usual death and destruction, plus some twists and revelations that I DID NOT see coming. I can't believe that this is the second last time that I will ever pick up a Skulduggery Pleasant book for the first time... I think that I'll forever associate these books with my teenage years, and I am WOW. WOW. WOW. I don't want to spoil anything, but the strapline, "No one is safe'? Ain't that the truth. Some serious stuff (avoiding spoilers, see?) happens in this book. There's the usual death and destruction, plus some twists and revelations that I DID NOT see coming. I can't believe that this is the second last time that I will ever pick up a Skulduggery Pleasant book for the first time... I think that I'll forever associate these books with my teenage years, and I am so, so happy to have grown up reading them. I've completely fallen in love with these characters, and this book just continues that on a massive scale. For me, the previous book, Kingdom of the Wicked, wasn't the best of the series, but I was completely astounded by Last Stand of Dead Men. I'm not sure, but I think this is my favourite SP book yet. It was a bit emotionally taxing, this one. At least more so than the others. There's the same humour that exists in all of the books, but this one's darker, and very, very, very enthralling. I read it in less than 24 hours, and when I was finished, I just sat there and stared at the book for a while, trying to process everything that had happened. I'm still recovering, I think. I can't really say anything about the plot, except that some MAJORLY unexpected things happen. There are new characters, old characters and some serious plot developments. And that cover. Yikes. Now all I have to do is wait another year for the next (and last...) book to come out. I think that I might expire from impatience in that time.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Thalia Grace

    This book is by far the best so far in the whole series. It deserves 6 stars! And the next book is going to be better how?!?! I don't understand how Derek Landy can be so cruel. He kills of characters all the time so I should be used to it. No. He went to far this time killing (view spoiler)[ Ghastly (hide spoiler)] How could he?!?!??! Seriously and with the betrayal of (view spoiler)[ Ravel (hide spoiler)] What This book is by far the best so far in the whole series. It deserves 6 stars! And the next book is going to be better how?!?! I don't understand how Derek Landy can be so cruel. He kills of characters all the time so I should be used to it. No. He went to far this time killing (view spoiler)[ Ghastly (hide spoiler)] How could he?!?!??! Seriously and with the betrayal of (view spoiler)[ Ravel (hide spoiler)] What even? There are (view spoiler)[ THREE DEAD MEN LEFT!! and even then they aren't really together. (hide spoiler)] This book had me screaming and yelling. I would stop reading look at the back cover and see "11+" How is this rated for an 11 year old? This book is full of gory death and bloody torture. I would close the book, bring it to my forehead and scream. There is pure madness going on during this book, and you are put right in the middle of it. Valkyrie's reflection is good? bad? Who knows what anything is going on. The 9th and final book is scaring me. I see it on my shelf and I really want to read it, but at the same time I am terrified. Who will die next? What the hell is going to happen? Will I drown in a pool of agonized tears? I want to know what happens so badly, but at the same time never want to pick up the next book. FEEEEEEEEELSSSSSSS!!!!!!!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    No matter how prepared I was for this book it still managed to rip my heart out and throw it at my own face! This book is full of action and emotions, while still having time to make you laugh. In the middle of a war you find yourself laughing at something one of the Dead Men has said or thought. Only certain authors can have you laughing while there is a war going on in the background and Derek does an amazing job. One of my favourite things about this book is after so much mentionin No matter how prepared I was for this book it still managed to rip my heart out and throw it at my own face! This book is full of action and emotions, while still having time to make you laugh. In the middle of a war you find yourself laughing at something one of the Dead Men has said or thought. Only certain authors can have you laughing while there is a war going on in the background and Derek does an amazing job. One of my favourite things about this book is after so much mentioning, we finally get the full Dead Men back together and it is magnificent to see them go off on missions together and just be sassy with one another. "Strike from the shadows, disappear into darkness" -The Dead Men Motto Bring on Dying of the Light!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Louise

    You know what sucks the most about this book? That I have to wait a year, a YEAR for the next one! I think this is the funniest in the series. It is also probably the scariest and the outlook is definitely the most dire for our Skulduggery and his team. I am very mad at Derek Landy about a few things, but I'm not going to spoil it for the rest of you - you will see what I mean when you get there. I wish more adult books would read like this.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Fi

    There is no way on this earth I could have read this book back when it was published knowing that I had to wait a year for the final book of the series. This instalment destroyed me, I am heartbroken and sick with fear over what happens in The Dying Of The Light. Skulduggery has also definitively left the middle grade world of fiction far behind, this is YA complete with gore, blood and guts. Off to start the last book *sniff* after I've had a restorative cup of tea.

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