Skulduggery Pleasant: Dark Days by Derek Landy – Review [Lord of the Night]

Yet again the cover surpasses the last. I don't know how they do it.

Lord of the Night reviews the thrilling fourth Skulduggery Pleasant nove, Dark Days by Derek Landy.

“Yet another hilarious and action-packed instalment of everyone’s favourite dead funny and dead detective.” – The Founding Fields

After finishing Skulduggery Pleasant: The Faceless Ones I immediately went onto book four, Dark Days. After the cliffhanger from the 3rd book it was impossible not to, and with several of my favourite characters returning for the 4th novel that only made it more impossible to resist.

It has been eleven months since Skulduggery Pleasant and Valkyrie Cain stopped the Faceless Ones, and since Skulduggery was sucked into their realm and lost forever. Or maybe not. As Valkyrie works to free Skulduggery from the clutches of the Faceless Ones, several of their old enemies are planning to get their revenge on the duo that foiled them and humiliated them. With the Revengers Club on the loose, a Sanctuary High Elder who hates them both, and a horde of flesh-hungry zombies under the command of an idiot coming to get them, Skulduggery and Valkyrie are up against a very personal case as the Revengers are after them and them alone. Can the duo stop the Revengers in time? Or will the world change forever when their plan to steal the Desolation Engine comes together?

The story of Dark Days is not as built-up as the last book since Dark Days is the start of a new trilogy. Rather it tells it’s own story while at the same time starting the foundation for the next two books by introducing the Necromancers and the Remnants, two elements that are very big in the future. Dark Days also sheds more light on the legendary war with Mevolent and ties the past and present together nicely with several plotlines that the past directly caused, and now are causing havoc for Skulduggery and Valkyrie. And of course the lightheartedness of the series is present, with many absurd events such as a group of serial killers deciding on a name for their group, and the introduction of many new plot elements to the series and one very very important revelation that will be one of the key focuses of the entire series.

Yet again the cover surpasses the last. I don’t know how they do it.

The characters are as great as ever, but with some changes. Both Skulduggery and Valkyrie have changed over the last 11 months and you can really feel how both of them have changed, Skulduggery’s anger and oddness have become more apparant and Valkyrie has become much more self-reliant and a real force to be reckoned with on her own. And with the returning antagonistic characters like Billy-Ray Sanguine, the Killer Supreme Vaurien Scapegrace, the vampire Dusk and Spring-Heeled Jack the book is filled with the characters you love or love to hate. And with characters only recently introduced getting time in the spotlight such as the Necromancer Solomon Wreath who mentors Valkyrie, the arrogant detective Davina Marr and the Midnight Hotel owner Anton Shudder, the characters will definitely entertain you on all pages.

The action is as usual very well done. Plenty of magical and physical fights, and with the Revengers Club as enemies there is a wide range of villains to fight as each has vastly different abilities and with the addition of zombies several very awesome fight scenes are present in the book that any fan of a George Romero movie will love. The physical fights are coreographed in detail as with the previous books and with the addition of Valkyrie’s necromancer powers her fights take on new dimensions as she augments her already formidable elemental abilities with the shadows. And it’s always fun to see Skulduggery in a gun fight.

The pacing is nicely done. Each SP book is longer than the one before it and Dark Days is not an exception, and when it’s chapters switch to the POV of the Revengers Club the italicised chapters make it easy to recognise the switch instantly. The chapters both long and short are nicely spaced apart, allowing you to get into a rhythm of reading about the protagonists then switching into secondary and background POVs. And of course the tone is as lighthearted as always, with some seriousness in the final third of the novel, but Dark Days is not as dark as The Faceless Ones was.

As usual there are plenty of hilarious quotes, but I like this one the best because of the context,

“Handsome devil.”

The ending is rather surprising, and sets up the scene not for the next book but rather as a major plotline for the rest of the series. Yes it’s that important. The plot of the book wraps up nicely while at the same time setting up said major plotline, and hinting at the plots for the 5th and 6th books, though admittedly I see that with hindsight. But the ending will definitely have you wondering about not only what will happen in the next book but what will happen in the rest of the series, and where the series will take this new development.

For surpassing it’s predecessor as every book in the series does, and for once again being an exemplary Skulduggery Pleasant novel I give Dark Days a score of 8.9/10. Any fan of the series will love Dark Days and will be dying to know how the rets of the Necromancer trilogy will go. But only fans can enjoy this book, so far along in the series plot as it is, so you can’t just pick up Dark Days and read it. You have to read the previous books in order to read the 4th book and the books that will follow it.

That’s it for this review. Next will be Skulduggery Pleasant: Mortal Coil. Until next time,


Lord of the Night

Lord of the Night is one of TFF’s original reviewers. He’s done quite a few for TFF and that number keeps expanding. You’ll enjoy his diverse mix of book reviews. Always a treat.