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Author: Derek Landy

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Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers,

Material: hard cover

Summary: In this sequel to Skulduggery Pleasant the “other-worldly” adventures continue. Skulduggery, Valkyrie Cain (nee Stephanie Edgely), China, and Tanith Lowe risk life and limb to recapture the deadly Baron Vengeous. The Baron has pulled out all of the stops and has created an invincible monster, the "Grotesquery" from body parts of the most hideous creatures in the netherworld. The challenges are enormous and there are only 48 hours until the Baron will set the "faceless people" free. This fantasy adventure features a young teen girl as an apprentice wizard-detective This is a great option for High Interest / Low Readability readers.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, independent reading, read aloud book, reluctant reader, remedial reader

Recommended Age: read together: 9 to 12; read yourself: 10 and up

Interest Level: 10 and up

Reading Level: 4.9

Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.

Adult Reader Reaction: The “dish” on sequels is that they seldom live up to the creative, imaginative, and enjoyment levels of the original work. This is one of the exceptions. The author sustains the pace, interest, and humor he achieved in the original. He even kicked it up a notch.

Pros: Teens will enjoy the characters, dialogue, and adventures of this fantasy series, that has all of the netherworld elements they love. This book has lots of action, and a strong, smart, young female character.

Cons: Valkyrie acts like an adult all the time, and not like a 12-year old girl. If you haven't read the first book, this will be hard to follow at times.

Borrow or Buy: Buy. This is a fun, well-written series to read. It meets teens at their level of interest, without dumbing down the message (or the content).

If You Liked This Book, Try: SCEPTER OF THE ANCIENTS, Skulduggery Pleasant Book 1   THE COFFIN CLUB (Vampire Kisses, 5)   IF PHOTOS COULD TALK; A SAM & STEPHANIE MYSTERY

Educational Themes: This is a book intended for recreational reading. The fast-paced adventure, combined with teen characters, and lots of macabre will get kids excited about reading.

Notes: The publisher donated an advance review copy (ARC) of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.

Literary Categories: Fiction - fantasy, adventure, mystery, humor, middle grade series

Date(s) Reviewed: April 2008, April 2010

Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews at No Critics' Reviews or reader feedback found at at the time of this review.


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