Playing With Fire /

by Landy, Derek,
Series: Skulduggery Pleasant . 2 Edition statement:ePub edition Physical details: 1 online resource (320 pages). ISBN:9780007302123; 0007302126.
Item type Current location Call number Copy number Status Date due
Young Learners Books British Council Library
JF/LAN (Browse shelf) 1 Available

Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

Meet Skulduggery Pleasant: detective, sorcerer, warrior. Oh yes. And dead. With Serpine dead, the world is safe once more. At least, that's what Valkyrie and Skulduggery think, until the notorious Baron Vengeous makes a bloody escape from prison, and dead bodies and vampires start showing up all over Ireland. With Baron Vengeous after the deadly armour of Lord Vile, and pretty much everyone out to kill Valkyrie, the daring detective duo face their biggest challenge yet. But what if the greatest threat to Valkyrie is just a little closer to home...?

Excerpt provided by Syndetics

Playing with Fire Chapter One Hanging Around Alkyrie Cain hit the parapet and tumbled, unable to stop herself, and with a panicked gasp she disappeared off the edge. The church tower stood high and proud, looking out over Dublin City. The night breeze was brisk and carried snatches of laughter from the street below. It was a long way down. A man in a tattered coat walked up to the edge and peered over. He smirked. "This is insulting," he said. "Don't they know how dangerous I am? I am very, very dangerous. I'm a killer. I'm a trained killing machine . And still, they send you . A child ." Valkyrie felt her grip on the ledge loosen. She ignored the goading of the man standing above her and looked around for something else to grab on to. She looked everywhere but down. Down was where the street was, where the long drop and the sudden stop was. She didn't want to look down. She didn't want anything to do with down right now. "What age are you?" the man continued. "Thirteen? What kind of responsible adult sends a thirteen-year-old child to stop me? What kind of thinking is that?" Valkyrie swung herself gently toward the tower, planting her feet against a small buttress. The fear started to work through her, and she felt herself freeze up. She closed her eyes against the oncoming wave of paralysis. The man was Vaurien Scapegrace, currently wanted in five countries for various counts of attempted murder. He hunkered down at the edge and smiled happily. "I am turning murder into an art form. When I--when I kill , I'm actually painting a big, big picture, using blood and, and . . . messiness. You know?" Below Valkyrie, the city twinkled. "I'm an artist," Scapegrace continued. "Some people don't appreciate that. Some people don't recognize true talent when they see it. And that's fine. I'm not bitter. My time will come." "Serpine tried to bring the Faceless Ones back," Valkyrie managed to say. Her fingers were burning, and the muscles in her legs were screaming at her. "We stopped him. We'll stop you, too." He laughed. "What, you think I want the old gods to walk the Earth once again? Is that it? You think Nefarian Serpine was my leader? I'm not one of those nut-bag disciples, all right? I'm my own man." Valkyrie had one chance, but she needed to be calm to take advantage of it. Her powers, limited though they were, were Elemental--the manipulation of earth, air, fire, and water. But at this stage of her training they didn't work when she was panicking. "So if you don't want the Faceless Ones to return," she said, "what do you want? Why are you doing this?" He shook his head. "You wouldn't understand. It's grown-up stuff. I just want a little appreciation for who I am, that's all. That's not much to ask, is it? But of course, you wouldn't know. You're just a kid." He shrugged. "Oh well. Time to die." He reached down to shove her. "Have you killed anyone?" she asked quickly. "What? Did you miss what I said, about turning murder into an art form?" "But you haven't actually killed anyone yet, have you? I read your file." He glowered. "Technically, yeah, all right, maybe I haven't, but tonight's the night. You're going to be my first." She readied herself, controlled her breathing. "Find the space where everything connects," she murmured. Scapegrace frowned. "What?" Valkyrie kicked upward, taking her right hand from the outcrop and feeling the air against her palm. She pushed at it the way she'd been taught, and it shimmered and hit Scapegrace, throwing him off his feet. Valkyrie clutched at the edge of the parapet, her legs swinging in open air. She grunted and pulled herself up, then flung her left arm across the edge and hauled herself the rest of the way. Valkyrie got to her feet, her arms and legs trembling after the strain, and moved away from the edge. The wind whipped her dark hair across her face. Scapegrace was already getting up, and she saw anger seep into his features. She clicked her fingers, generating a spark that she caught in her hand. She tried to focus, tried to build it into a flame, but Scapegrace was coming at her like a freight train. She jumped and thrust out both feet. Her boots slammed into his chest, and he hit the ground again and went sprawling. He turned to her just as she lashed a kick into his jaw. His body twisted and he tumbled back, came up to his feet, then lost his balance, fell again. He spat blood and glared. "You little brat," he snarled. "You uppity, sneaky little brat . You don't know who you're messing with, do you? I am going to be the greatest killer the world has ever known." He stood up slowly, wiping his sleeve across his burst lip. "When I'm finished with you, I'm going to deliver your mutilated, bloody corpse to your masters, as a warning. They sent you up against me, alone. Next time they're going to have to send a battalion." Valkyrie smiled, and Scapegrace's anger flared. "What the hell is so funny?" "First of all," she said, her confidence growing, "they're not my masters . I don't have a master . Second, they don't need a battalion to take you down. And third--and this really is the most important point--whoever said I came alone?" Scapegrace frowned, turned, saw someone walking up behind him--a skeleton in a black suit--and he tried to attack, but a gloved fist hit his face, a foot hit his shin, and an elbow slammed into his chest. He fell in an awkward heap. Skulduggery Pleasant turned to Valkyrie. "You all right?" "I'll kill you both!" Scapegrace howled. "Hush," Skulduggery said. Scapegrace launched himself forward and Skulduggery moved in to him, grabbed his outstretched arm, and spun him around, then abruptly cut him off by slamming a forearm into his throat. Scapegrace flipped in midair, landed painfully. Playing with Fire . Copyright © by Derek Landy . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from Playing with Fire by Derek Landy All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-9-In this sequel to Skulduggery Pleasant (HarperCollins, 2007), 13-year-old Valkyrie Cain and her mentor, the living skeleton detective, are faced with the return of the evil Baron Vengeous, who has been freed from prison. Vengeous is trying to reanimate the Grotesquery, a monster made up of pieces of a variety of evil creatures. If his scheme is successful, the Faceless Ones, "the terrible dark gods, exiled from this world," will return. Faced with treachery within the ranks of good magicians, Valkyrie and Skulduggery must rely on their own Elemental magical powers and a few trusted allies to confront Vengeous's magic and helpers, such as the vampire Dusk and Billy-Ray Sanguine, who has the ability to tunnel underground. One magical action sequence follows another as Valkyrie must find the courage to face what seem to be insurmountable foes. Humorous conversations between Valkyrie and Skulduggery add flavor to this generally dark and often-violent novel, as does the girl's appreciation of the dichotomy between her evil-fighting life and that of a quiet student lived by her reflection while she's off saving the world. Fans of the first book will particularly enjoy the new schemes and evil creatures found here. While the back-and-forth between Skulduggery and Vengeous's forces repeats a few too many times, readers looking for a mix of magic and action will find it here.-Beth L. Meister, Milwaukee Jewish Day School, WI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Booklist Review

In this sequel to Skullduggery Pleasant (2007), skeleton-detective Skullduggery and his apprentice, Valkyrie Cain (aka 13-year-old Stephanie Edgley), track down the recently escaped Baron Vengeous, who plans to animate the Grotesquery, a vicious monster assembled from a variety of fearsome beasts. The Baron has finally located the remaining ingredients necessary to complete his work the late Lord Vile's armor and some blood from one of the Ancients. There's not much character development, but Landy, who has also written horror screenplays, is in his element here. His style is cinematic, and the action nonstop. Skullduggery's subtle humorous asides (some referencing classic horror films and stories) lighten the mood, and magical details, such as Valkyrie's ability to throw fireballs, add to the fun. Fans of the earlier title as well as fantasy buffs pining for the now-vanquished Voldemort will enjoy this tale of good versus evil. A final scene suggests another installment is in the works.--Weisman, Kay Copyright 2008 Booklist

Horn Book Review

Valkyrie Cain, nee Stephanie Edgley, may be only thirteen, but, paired with suave skeleton Skulduggery Pleasant, she is the prettier half of a first-class evil-fighting duo. Meanwhile, the arrayed baddies--each with his, her, or its own agenda--are again trying to raise the godlike, doom-spelling Faceless Ones. Deadpan banter, sly humor, and creative action sequences make this a page-turner. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Book Review

In a kicking sequel to Skulduggery Pleasant (2007), 13-year-old Valkyrie Cain (ne Stephanie Edgley) and her bony, ever-dapper mentor face off against both a sorcerer rated "11" on the 10-point Evil Villain Scale and the more-or-less unkillable chimera he raises up to summon back some terrifying elder gods. The gods don't show (this time), but it comes right down to the wire, and even the supporting cast--which includes a corps of shambling larval vampires, a spider-spitting shapechanger and an iteration of Spring-Heeled Jack who makes Freddy Krueger look like the Singing Nun--is good for goosebumps atop goosebumps. The plot speeds along amid a whirl of chases, last-tick rescues, one high casualty mele after another and plenty of snappy, hard-boiled dialogue. Landy gives the term "deadpan humor" a whole new meaning; readers who prefer their heroes laconic and their action nonstop are in for a wild ride. (Fantasy. 11-13) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

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