Skulduggery Pleasant: The Faceless Ones by Derek Landy – Review [Lord of the Night]


Lord of the Night reviews the epic conclusion to the first trilogy of Skulduggery Pleasant novels, The Faceless Ones by Derek Landy.

“A roaringly funny and excitingly tense conclusion to the first trilogy of a wonderfully amusing and entertaining series.” – The Founding Fields

About a week ago I finished the most recent Skulduggery Pleasant novel, Kingdom of the Wicked, and felt compelled to review the remainder of the series in completion because I love the series so much. So i’ll be starting off with The Faceless Ones because that is where I left off in the reviews.

Something dark is happening on Aranmore Farm. Teleporters across the world are being murdered. And a trio of fanatical madmen are planning to bring back the legendary Dark Gods that despise all life and will usher in the apocalypse. Just another day for detectives Skulduggery Pleasant and Valkyrie Cain as they move to gather their allies and stop the Diablerie from starting armageddon, but something else is moving behind the scenes and desires the return of the Faceless Ones. Even with unlikely allies and the power of the Sceptre of the Ancients on their side, can Skulduggery and Valkirye fight against creatures that have laid waste to entire realities? While watching their backs for the faithful that secretly walk among the ranks of the Sanctuary?

The SP series sets its novels into trilogies, and this book ends The Faceless Ones trilogy and it ends it very well. The story has everything you can love about Skulduggery, witty and insane rejoinders, plenty of magical action, twists and turns in the plot that you won’t see coming, and a conclusion to shock you and have you on edge for the next book. Derek Landy is a master of creating a story that can be both dark in tone and lighthearted at many times, though the story may be much tenser than the last two novels it does not allow that to dampen Skulduggery’s witticisms and odd comments. And of course it wraps up plotlines from the first two books that have been left untouched, creating a trilogy wide story that answers many questions but not every question, on purpose, and then puts many more questions and plot lines forward to move into the next trilogy.

The covers just get better with every book!

The characters are the same as ever and that is how we love them. Skulduggery is still suave as hell and very very odd, Valkyrie has grown more confident in her powers as she gets older and you can see that she is really starting to do things for herself and get into more dangerous situations without Skulduggery at her back. And the strong supporting cast is there as well with the beautiful and mercurial China Sorrows, her mysterious brother Mr Bliss, and the new antagonists in the form of the fanatical Diablerie really feel like the kind of madmen who’d usher in the apocalypse because they think they’ll survive it. Derek brings back characters that you can hate (Or in my case love) like Billy-Ray Sanguine and Vaurien Scapegrace, and some rather surprising and interesting new characters make their first appearance and you’ll find yourself hoping they stick around.

The action is as cool and epic as you’d expect from a SP novel. Plenty of magical battles with fire and shadows hurling through the air, powerful-feeling close combat scenes that are explained nicely so that you can understand not only what they are doing but how they are managing to do it, and the funny fighting parts that make you laugh with how absurd they are. The antagonists are more powerful this time around and the book shows that well, Valkyrie gaining a new set of powers that allow her to fight in much different ways, and one particularly powerful character making a reappearance to show just how serious things are this time around.

The pacing is nicely done, as usual there are plenty of long and short chapters that focus on the important events while keeping the still important but more background stuff to the background so that you aren’t spending large amounts of pages reading something irrelevant to the book. The tone of the novel is a bit more serious and darker this time around as befits the situation the characters find themselves in, but the novel is still filled with laughs and many times you’ll find yourselves putting the book down so you can finish laughing. I know that I did.

As usual there are plenty of excellent quotes, however many of them are replies and rejoinders so i’ll post both statements, and this one has to be my favourite.

“That’s a plan that could fall apart in so many ways.”

“The fun ones are like that.”

The ending is rather shocking and definitely a huge cliffhanger but this is fitting for the ending to the first trilogy, as it achieves two things. First it guarantees you’ll get the next book to find out what the hell happens next, and second it allows for some very important events and character development to occur that could not have happened otherwise. The ending is very tantalising and will definitely have you skipping whatever’s next on your reading list to get to the next novel Dark Days, which is what I did. I particularly enjoyed that one of the new characters got to play such a big role in the ending and confirmed that he will be back in the future, and of course that it ended the trilogy by setting up a brilliant new plotline that leads into the next trilogy, The Necromancer trilogy.

Now for the score. For a funny and serious novel with characters that it is always a delight to read, even the minor and secondary characters, and for being everything that I love about a Skulduggery Pleasant novel and more I give The Faceless Ones a score of 8.8/10. Any fan of Skulduggery Pleasant will not be disappointed, and if your not a fan of SP I very strongly urge you to become one by buying the first book immediately!

That’s it for this review. Next i’ll be reviewing Skulduggery Pleasant: Dark Days. So 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.