Monday, May 12, 2014

This Should Have Been Part Of A Binge Read

I am a long-time fan of the Skulduggery Pleasant series. Nonetheless, I'm finding the books becoming more and more...mmm...what word am I looking for? Slog is too extreme. Too much may be what I'm going for here.

And yet the final volume, Armageddon Outta Here,  comes out later this year, and I'll be getting my copy in from Great Britain. I kind of wish, though, that I'd found these books after they were all published. Then I could have read them in a binge and wouldn't have experienced some of the problems I encountered, particularly with Last Stand.

Knowing what happened in earlier books is crucial to getting the most out of this one. These books are very much a serial, not a series.  I've been reading them over six years. My mind's just not that good. I was lucky if I could put together a vague idea of some of the past events. Reading all eight books, one after the other, would have helped with that.

And while there are many witty characters in Last Stand, they tend to be witty in the same way, sounding a lot alike. Reading the books in a binge might have made the sameness even more obvious or it might have made the characters easier to follow because you could carry them from book to book.

Apart from that, this particular volume in the series is interesting because of all the point of view switches. In the first half of the book, it would be easy to argue that Skulduggery and, more importantly, Valkyrie Cain, aren't the main characters. It could be argued that there is no main character. The early book comes across a bit like World War Z, in which the war is really the character. The point of view switches also slow things down.

Another interesting aspect of the book is the question of just why it's YA. Valkyrie Cain turns 18. She's never had a lot of traditional teen experiences, anyway, though she was often childish acting over the course of the series. In Last Stand, she is all about being a warrior. Character and situation aren't too YA-like. But theme is. Valkyrie (and another character) are evolving, sometimes trying to control who they will become. The themes of transition and life choices mark the book as YA.

So that's it on Skulduggery, until this fall.


Ms. Yingling said...

There we're fewer published in the US, and luckily my students aren't as addicted to these as some other British series, so I haven't had to hunt them down. Good to know they are out there, though!

Gail Gauthier said...

I order them from England. I get paperback copies, and even with the shipping, the price is reasonable. This is through Amazon. Yesterday I was in a library near here and happened to see that they had more than the first 3 books on the shelf in the YA room. They must be ordering them on-line, too.

I posted at Goodreads about this book. The series is really loved there.