Lord of the Night reviews the absolutely fantastic sixth Skulduggery Pleasant novel, Death Bringer by Derek Landy.
“An incredible novel from start to finish, and one of the best urban fantasy novels out there.”
There is no other way to say it. Death Bringer is awesome. One of the best novels i’ve ever read for it’s funny as hell, action-packed with characters that could be on the Most Powerful Characters in Fiction List, plot revelations that will leave with you with jaw-lock after you spend five hours trying to close it, and it closes off the Necromancer trilogy in the best way possible.
Times have never been darker for Skulduggery Pleasant and Valkyrie Cain. The Necromancer Order has found their Death Bringer, their messiah that will bring salvation to the world, but exactly how does it do that? Nobody knows and nobody thinks it will be a good thing. And with the legendary Lord Vile back from the dead and on the loose, sworn to kill the Death Bringer, and likely millions of other people once he’s done with that, Skulduggery and Valkyrie are up against their most dangerous foes yet, and the looming threat of Darquesse the world-ender still hovering over them, Skulduggery and Valkyrie will have to pull out all the stops to save the world yet again, but how far will they go to stop the Death Bringer who grows stronger by the second?
The story is just fantastic. Plot lines from the past are answered in shocking revelations, but there is one reveal in particular that is the most shocking thing ever revealed in the series, couple that with the Death Bringer plotline and the Necromancer’s “salvation” make for a tense storyline as the stakes have never been higher, and of course the background plots involving China Sorrows and her rival Eliza Scorn, and the Zombie King Vaurien Scapegrace trying to survive in this cruel world are just as gripping, and in the latter’s case very very funny. The book not only ends the Necromancer trilogy but also the appearance of two characters in particular are the foreshadowing of the final trilogy in the series, and they are damn good teasers for these two characters are badasses that make you want to read more of them with everything they do. And of course the background mysteries that have been building up over the course of the entire series receive some more attention, and another new background plotline is introduced that I feel will make the final trilogy all the more gripping.
This cover is epic, but it’s even more epic once you realise what those shadows actually are.
The characters really receive some development in this book. Valkyrie most of all, she’s in a much darker situation than the last few books due to recent events and this book only makes things darker for her, several scenes in particular take her to a very dangerous place within herself and it’s interesting to see how she handles this. Skulduggery also get some dark in the novel, some more reveals about his past are very compelling and reveal more about the Skeleton Detective than any other novel so far. New characters in the novel include Melancholia St. Clair who I quite enjoyed as a rather unique character, Eliza Scorn whom i’m sure will play a very large role in events to come, and Kenny Dunne who will also definitely have a future in the series, and his will be particularly interesting. Landy makes great strides in this novel character-wise, giving his protagonists whole new dimensions and further strengthening his already powerful background character base with welcome new additions.
The action is leagues above any novel and one scene near the end exemplifies this the best. I won’t spoil it but at that one scene I was instantly convinced that things were different now, that the power levels of new characters were astronomically higher than what we’ve seen so far and that the books are only going to get more dangerous for the protagonists. As usual we have plenty of imaginative magical battles, physical brawls coreographed wonderfully, and the variety of enemies in this novel is much higher than any other with multiple factions involved beyond just the Necromancers and the Sanctuaries. The SP series does action well on every page and each fight as is entertaing as the one before, and usually it’s much much better. But it’s the final battle scenes that stick in my head the most, the power scale involved and the locale only serve to make the battle that much more epic.
The pacing is enjoyable as always, once again this is the longest Skulduggery book yet and that only makes it better. The tenser and darker tone of this novel is fitting with the 3rd novel, The Faceless Ones, as the trilogy enders prove to be much more serious and darker than the novels that precede them. But once again Landy not only makes a mesmerizing novel filled with fascinating characters, visceral action scenes and a great background lore that is only further added to in the novel, he also still brings the madcap humour that the SP series boasts in every novel. Many times I was laughing my head off as I read Death Bringer, the humour serving to keep the book from becoming grim and/or depressing at times. No author i’ve read yet can do humour like Derek Landy can.
Favourite quotes, there are two. I can’t help it they are both just SOOO awesome!
“The sparrow flies south for the winter.”
“We punch people, Valkyrie. That’s who we are. Embrace your inner lunatic. Fun times guaranteed.”
The ending is a very dark moment in the SP series. Two new enemies have made themselves apparant and these enemies are more dangerous than every other foe put together and multiplied, and one character’s secret is finally revealed in a scene loaded with tension as to what will occur in the next few seconds. But there’s still some humour there, and one problem that has been recurring for a bit is dealt with, and a whole new host of problems makes itself apparant as the Necromancer trilogy comes to a close, and the Darquesse trilogy begins. And the final page, as Derek Landy said, will have you going “Oh Hell,” as you realise just what this means is coming for the characters.
For the best SP story at this point in the series, characters that are as compelling as they are mad, and a few plot reveals that make my list for the best i’ve ever read, I give Death Bringer a score of 10/10. No other score is appropriate for this novel, it’s just so good that if there are any reading who aren’t fans of Skulduggery Pleasant I urge you to become readers as soon as possible, you are missing out on an amazing series that became one of my favourites after only a short time for everything that it boasts.
That’s it for this review, next is Skulduggery Pleasant: Kingdom of the Wicked and with that I will have reviewed each SP novel that has been released. Until next time,
AVE DOMINUS NOX!