The latest book in the Skulduggery Pleasant series has been out for a while now, and after spending the past two weeks engrossed in the latest book involving Derek Landy’s Skeleton Detective, I am desperate for more. This book is once again a strong and captivating read that effortlessly continues the story established in the past ten books, whilst never feeling derivative. Midnight continues from the semi-cliffhanger of Resurrection, and sees a grown up Valkyrie and a more forlorn Skulduggery once again being forced to work together and fight the forces of darkness.
One of the great things about Phase 2 of Skulduggery Pleasant is how different it feels, yet it still feels like the same series. The original series was a mystery/horror based fantasy series that gradually got darker- Phase 2 is in a new changed world, and the tone is noticeably darker and more realistic. The themes of Midnight are tied intrinsically with the real world- Roarhaven suddenly gets a huge influx of immigrants from an alternate dimension, causing fierce debate on both sides. The President of the US has won the election despite not winning the popular vote and is actually being controlled by outside forces (Derek Landy wrote in the bonus material that the real world has affected the series, as President Flannery had to have his storyline changed as it was apparently too similar to you know who). The darker tone is a key part of why the story line works- much like Mortal Coil from Phase One, Midnight has two different stories combined into one, and like last time it works brilliantly. Not all of Resurrection’s questions are answered and yet more questions are raised. There are a lot of twists, and the universe is fundamentally shifted. I cannot wait to see where this goes.
Derek Landy’s trademark wit and humour is present here, although it is less laugh out loud than some books. This isn’t a negative however, as the series has evolved to fit the audience. The new status quo remains fascinating for the series. It’s not often that a series can reinvent itself so well but Skulduggery Pleasant has. Everything in this new world feels like a natural progression from what happened in Phase One- the ghost of Darquesse still haunts Valkyrie and the supporting characters, Skulduggery’s dark past continues to emerge and the actions of the characters scare even them. Omen Darkly, the new protagonist of Phase 2, is still a great character. He’s not a hero and not a good sorcerer, but he is determined to do the right thing to help people. After helping Skulduggery and Valkyrie last time, he is desperate for more action, but is wise enough to know he isn’t in their league. All he can do in help in his own way.
The Skulduggery Pleasant series is known for great villains. From the morally ambiguous Argeddion to the hilarious Sanguine, the diabolical Vengeous and the all powerful Faceless Ones, the Skeleton Detective has a great rogue’s gallery. This book is no exception. Abyssina, the resurrected sorcerer from the last book, is a perfect foil for Skulduggery in more ways than one. She’s a great new main threat for the second phase of Skulduggery Pleasant. Cadaverous Gant, first introduced in The Dying of the Light, comes into his own in this book. He is a great villain, constantly fascinating and clever. I won’t reveal too much as to his goals in this book, but the twists and turns of the narrative is very engaging.
Where do I think the next book will go? It’s so hard to tell. The ending of Midnight is amazing, raising so many questions that I am eager to find out the answers to. Derek Landy has successfully expanded the universe to something much larger than just being in Ireland- there’s hints of a many sided war brewing, a global conspiracy and multiple characters across the world being caught up in affairs. One hundred years of the series’s mythology is being deftly brought to the present, more so than in Phase 1, and the series is becoming more large, insane and unpredictable. I cannot wait for the next book- let’s hope I don’t have to wait long.