Reviewed by Jade Cranwell

Last Stand of Dead Men is the eighth book in the amazing Skulduggery Pleasant series, and the penultimate book overall.

War has finally broken among the Sanctuaries around the world, and things are looking bad for the Irish Sanctuary and everyone has had enough. Allies turn to enemies, leaving Valkyrie and Skulduggery to team up with the rest of the Dead Men and it seems to be their only chance of survival.

But Valkyrie has another problem to deal with much closer to home; the other half of herself, Darquesse, has also had enough and is ready to take control of our heroine to wreck havoc across the world. But will it all become too much for Valkyrie to handle?

Now, my family and myself are huge fans of Landy’s Skulduggery series, and I have followed the series from the start. They are sold as children’s fiction, and you will find the series in the children’s section of the bookshop, however, I am 20 and adore this series; my mother and younger brother also love it, so please don’t assume that this series is too young for you to read, you would be sorely missing out! The humor in the books is what makes me come back to Landy again and again, they really are very funny; the humor isn’t crude or rude, it is the kind of comedy that everyone – no matter their age – can enjoy. Having said that, this series is perfect for getting younger children, especially boys, involved in reading.

So, how does this book compare to the rest in the series? Well, there are important plot developments, not all of which are good. We loose one or two characters in one way or another in this installment, and things are definitely heating up for the next book – last in the series. I won’t say anymore about that, but I was pretty upset.

My favourite characters, by far, are the (now former) zombies, Scapegrace and his useless sidekick, Thrasher. Truth be told, I read the books to see what kind of hilarious situation they’ve found themselves in now. And if you thought Scapegrace’s journey from human to zombie to a head-in-a-jar to man in an attractive woman’s body was bad enough, you probably haven’t been following the series. Very funny, as always!

Tanith and Sanguine turn to different tactics to achieve their goal (what actually in their goal? I know Tanith’s but… anyway) and try and gain the trust of Skulduggery, Valkyrie and co., which works surprisingly well, actually.

In Last Stand of Dead Men, we learn more about the other Sanctuaries around the world, rather than just the Irish Sanctuary; in previous books the world Valkyrie and Skulduggery live in has felt small, confided to Roarhaven, which I loved but now things are getting out of their control.

Needless to say, I cannot wait for book 9, the last in the series, which is due out August 2014. But until then, enjoy this penultimate adventure!

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