Posts Tagged ‘middle grade’

Skulduggery Pleasant: The Dying of the Light (Cover) – Derek Landy

This is the most exciting cover reveal ever.

EVER.

I don’t think I even need to say what I am feeling except HOLY WAFFLES GUYS I AM SO EXCITED.

And as the charred, dismembered skeleton head leaks smoke from the eye sockets how can you not say that this cover is the best thing to ever hit the SP series?

One more thing: If you try to contact me on the 28th August 2014, know that I will not answer, I will probably skip food and sleep to finish this book and then I will probably collapse. And it will be so worth it.

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Top Ten Series (Weishi)

I’ve seen a lot of tags like this (mainly on youtube) and it looked fun.

Disclaimer: I have not read every series in existence, so this list is literally my favourite series of this exact moment. It is very subject to change in the future. But it’s late and I feel like procrastinating so this is going to happen.

A few ground rules before we go onwards:
1. No Harry Potter, because that’s too easy.
2. I must have read multiple books from the series for it to appear on this list. So stuff like Ender’s Game or The 5th Wave where I can’t be bothered to read the sequels/they haven’t been released yet aren’t going to be here.
3. Only ten can appear – no more; no less.

This is sort of in order, though in reality it varies greatly depending on my feelings on individual books/series not being finished/genres that are hard to compare.

1. Chaos Walking – Patrick Ness
Also known as my favourite dystopian/science-fiction series ever. Possibly my favourite series ever (if you don’t count the serious nostalgic appeal of the HP series) and I can’t thank Yanni enough for shoving it into my hands.

2. Anna – Kendare Blake
Best Paranormal/Horror Romance that I have ever read. Mainly because the humour was perfect and the characters were fun and likeable and believable and Cas Lowood. Seriously, just read it for Cas. You will not be disappointed.

3. Skulduggery Pleasant – Derek Landy
Favourite Middle-Grade series that I ironically read once I was no longer middle-grade. And honestly, I’m thankful that I did, because my gore tolerance is not high and there is some throat-slitting/eye-gouging/body-slicing that goes on. Well, I suppose it is 11+. And yes, I do love PJO, but it’s the darkness and humour and overall characterisation that pushes SP to another level for me (not to mention the seriously brillant planning in the plot. A++).

4. Raven Cycle – Maggie Stiefvater
The writing and the characters and the dialogue and the world and just everything. Most realistic fantasy series that I can think of, and the only one where I am utterly convinced that it should be shelved as contemporary, not paranormal, because it is so believable.

5. Legend – Marie Lu
You will fall in love with the characters, and then Lu will tear your heart out. Repeatedly. And just when the first book can’t get worse, there’s the second. And when you think you’ve finally been through your utmost capacity of pain, Champion piles you in feels. I honestly recommend this book to anyone I know who likes dystopians or action or interesting worlds.

6. Unwind – Neal Shusterman
Which not only has a great use of third-person present that I’ve never seen done so well, but is interesting and full of very relevant questions and also likes to stomp on your heart.
And I haven’t read Unsouled. I’m sorry! I’ve been busy! I will, I promise, just let me get through House of Hades and Allegiant and all those other books that have been staring at me for months.

7. Skinjacker – Neal Shusterman
I wanted to not include the same author twice on this list, but I couldn’t. I wouldn’t know which series to bump down because I absolutely love both. Everlost and all its sequels are just so clever. Shusterman explores every single aspect of his world and asks the right questions to keep you thinking.

8. Percy Jackson – Rick Riordan
This is only referring to the first five books of the original series, and not the spin-offs. While I do like Heroes of Olympus, I haven’t exactly made my mind up yet on particular aspects, whereas I have some serious love for the Olympians arc. Percy and all his humour was what really made the series for me.

9. Underdogs – Markus Zusak
This one is a weird place for me, because the books vary a lot. While all are brilliant (as to be expected from one of my favourite authors), the first and third are weaker than the completely spectacular and heart-breaking middle book. However, I also know that Fighting Ruben Wolfe would not be as strong if it was not bookended by great character development and relationship arcs from the other two books.
In summary, this order idea isn’t really working out but I’m sticking to my choices because we’re nearly finished anyway.

10. Leviathan – Scott Westerfeld
The fact that this had illustrations (and absolutely gorgeous ones) bumped up my entire rating of this series. I love the steampunk setting and the world, and Deryn and Alek are awesome and endearing characters.

Do I have honourable mentions?
Nah, I don’t think so.
A lot of series I could put on here but 1. Haven’t read the second book or 2. the ending sucked. Endings are important, and if a series has a promising start but then goes swiftly downhill, I can’t do it. I can’t include it. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth no matter how good the first few books were. I won’t name any names here, but I’m sure you guys have a few (almost certainly accurate) guesses.

Skulduggery Pleasant: Last Stand of Dead Men – Derek Landy

Last Stand of Dead Men (Skulduggery Pleasant, #8)FREAKING SPOILERS FLYING EVERYWHERE. READ THE REVIEW ON YOUR OWN RISK.

It seems that the eight book is “The Avengers” of a series.

First Mark of Athena, which I refer to as “The Demivengers” (yes it is a crap title, doesn’t keep me from saying it), now we have Skulduggery Pleasant: Last Stand of Dead Men, which I guess is “The Magevengers” (even worse of a title, apparently) except instead of Loki, we have Darquesse, a seemingly invincible psychopath, who also happens to be our lovely protagonist.

Summary

ALL THE PLOT LINES FROM THE LAST SEVEN BOOKS CONVERGE AND IT IS BEAUTIFUL.

YOU ARE BRILLIANT, DEREK LANDY.

Cons

These cons are completely personal to me, and my standing in particular things.

The Romance

Or implied romance that I was reading. I really dislike the possibility of a romance between Valkyrie and Skulduggery. Not only are the age differences massive (Skulduggery was MARRIED. He had a KID. that takes a level of maturity that Valkyrie isn’t even close to possessing), but the relationship, as I saw it, was always a tutor and a student. I saw Skulduggery as the uncle figure Valkyrie lost when Gordon died.

However, I know fan support for the “Valduggery” relationship is terrifyingly huge. I think it’s probably 98% of the fanbase, and that made me cringe every time the two characters had heartfelt interactions because I was very aware they could turn romantic.

But that’s just my personal stand on the books, and most people probably enjoyed these conversations between Valkyrie and Skulduggery.

Pros

We all know by now that Derek Landy is brilliant at characters and plot and dialogue and action and setting and so forth. I’m only going to mention a few choice things, because 1. this book was so freaking long that mentioning everything would take an eon 2. you want to know more? READ IT.

That Reflection

I do not trust the deranged psychopath who MURDERED HER COUSIN. I know that people trust her, and that she’s redeemed herself or something, but every time she appears, I’m expecting her to gut someone to death. Her development was very well handled, and I TOTALLY CALLED IT. I knew Fletcher would want to date her, even if I didn’t approve of it because she, as I said, KILLED CAROL.

POVs

Valkyrie is our main character. We see most things from her perspective in the first seven books, however, in LSODM, she steps slightly out of the spotlight. Of course her chapters are important, and for a large chunk of the book she is there, but I would say only every other chapter. We have massive chunks devoted to China and Fletcher, which was great for me, seeing as they’re two of my favourite characters.

It really adds a lot more depth to our lovely minor characters, and, also awesomely, we get to see lots of characters reappearing from previous books. I was worried Derek Landy would just drop them and forget about them, and just keep adding more characters until they became an indiscernible mess, as some other series have done (*cough* Maximum Ride *cough*).

The Man With the Golden Eyes

Holy crap that twist hurt my emotions.

They killed off two amazing characters in a few sentences.

The reveal of who was behind this, hurt.

I may need time to recover.

Quotes (Unfortunately goodreads doesn’t have many quotes for this book and because it’s so freaking massive I really don’t want to go back and find my favourites so you’ll have to deal with this for now)

  • “Are you sulking?”
    “Me? No. I don’t sulk.”
    “You sound like you’re sulking.”
    “I’m just waiting for the violent urges to subside.”
  • “Reading those books is all he does these days. I think he’s even read some of them twice. What kind of disturbed individual would read the same book twice, I ask you?”
  • “She turned to Skulduggery and held out her arms. “Come here, you.”
    He tilted his head. “My hugs are for special occasions only.”
    “Hug me.”
    “I prefer the old tradition.”
    “Hug.”
    “Would a handshake do?”
    “Hug.”
    “A pat on the back?”
    She stepped forward and wrapped her arms round him. “Hug,” she said.
  • “If he can’t get to the clock, any idea how we deal with this lot?”
    “With great care,” Donegan suggested.
    “How about we run off shout and they follow?” Said Gracious. “Then, just when they think they’ve caught us they fall into our trap.”
    “OK,” said Tanith. “And that trap would be?”
    “A big hole we’d dug earlier and covered with branches.’
    Tanith frowned. “I thought you were meant to be smart.”
    Gracious frowned back at her. “Who told you that?”
    “Gracious is book smart,” said Donegan. “He leaves the real world thinking to people like you and me and small dogs that he meets.”

Overall

I absolutely love Skulduggery Pleasant so this is a completely biased review and as a biased review with my unchanging love for the entire series this will be 5 shuriken stars.

This series is ending in a year. I’m going to have to find a new series to replace the hole in my heart… Perhaps I’ll finally get round to reading Artemis Fowl and it can fill the Skulduggery Pleasant shaped cavern that will be left in my chest.