The magical world is on the brink of chaos after the events detailed in Playing with Fire, and it is clear that someone inside the leadership circle is in league with the enemies of The Order. Skulduggery Pleasant and Valkyrie Cain are now considered fugitives and must not only discover the mole; they must also stay alive long enough to prevent The Faceless Ones from returning to the earth.
Valkyrie is now 14, and she has learned to fight extremely well, much to the consternation of some magicians. These characters are much more bold in this volume about trying to get her to return to her normal life. They believe that Valkyrie’s continuing in the role of Skulduggery’s assistant will only lead to her early demise. This generates a lot of tension among those allied against the Faceless Ones and threatens to weaken the opposition forces.
A few strands of subplots concerning the backgrounds of main characters are being woven in this third volume, and the body count continues to rise. Once again, the nonstop, almost predictable action takes precedence over the details of mysteries that need to be solved. There is a LOT of fighting, and although the ending is not quite as predictable as it seems, it is not a huge surprise either. Clearly, Landy has more to write about these people.
Rated: Mild. Just over a dozen mild terms, and almost as many vain uses of the Lord’s name.