Saturday, November 5, 2011

Week 1 - I Love Dark YA Blogfest

 I have joined the "I love Dark YA" competition which will go on for 5 weeks.
One challenge per week.
This is WEEK ONE...
November 2nd:
Blog about your favorite dark YA book(s).

Evil is in all of us.

The latest and dark Fantasy I read that stuck in my mind is from an Irish Author called Derek Landy. 
Skulduggery Pleasant is a series of fantasy novels relating the adventures of a skeleton detective, Skulduggery Pleasant and a teenage girl, Stephanie Edgley (Valkyrie Cain) who fight to stop the evil forces threatening the world. Now these books would be more for 9+ readers but let me tell you that as an adult, I still enjoyed them thoroughly. 

There are two things I liked:
1) The witty dialogues and excellent sarcastic humour of the Detective. Simply priceless.
2) The very vivid imagination of the author in coming up with a diversity of baddies looks and skills in every book. 
And incidentally I love the artwork of Tom Percival. Wonderful covers every time.
The Detective is kind of blase about it all and the situations and lines are hilarious at times. I often found myself laughing out loud and I cannot recall reading books that made me laugh so heartily.
Yet it was shockingly descriptive in how the heroes and baddies crush bones, spill blood and snap limbs. The author makes his characters suffer at least physically rather than emotionally. 
Now I would prefer they suffer emotionally as i found it shows more depth to the characters but nevertheless we do grow fondly of all characters and I enjoyed reading incredible and near impossible fight scenes, jaws being dislocated, arms being twisted, and teeth being knock out.
For your info, Derek did quite a lot of martial arts training in the past, both of young people and adults so that would explain why he describes the fight scenes very well. Damn I knew I should have done Martial Arts instead of watching T.V. 

Yet in book 5 "Mortal Coil", I must say the author went for the emotional stuff. Near the end, Stephanie is possessed by a nasty soul sneaking its way down her throat. And surprise surprise, the soul wants to take over the world. Yet a part of her remains to watch what the soul is doing to her and her new dark followers and is detached about it. 

She tears out the windpipe of one of her followers for being out of line and feels nothing about it. The body collapsed silencing her new army. The fact that the protagonist becomes for a short time an antagonist and feels nothing at this horrific action truly shocked me and i admired that edge the author created.
Of course, the detective arrives and makes her fight the soul giving her a heart-wrenching speech and the soul escapes her. But that passage, my, it stayed with me well after I read it.

I'm suspecting why.
I think I liked that the author acknowledged that to be good doesn't come that easily and that we can fall for the worst part in us and that fight requires a real strength of mind and is what makes us truly courageous.
I did think Valkyrie was a tiny too courageous and fearless for a twelve year old which makes her less likable and believable (in my humble opinion).  The reader, me, in this instance, didn't feel the need to sympathize with her since she is already doing sooo fine by herself. But all the same I enjoyed it.  The vivid imagination and humour in the books made up for all that.


  1. I haven't seen this book before, plus I love dark books. Thank you for sharing it.

  2. I like your line-
    "to be good doesn't come that easily and we can fall for the worst part in us and that fight requires a real strength of mind and is what makes us truly courageous"
    It ties in with your last post on heroes. There are so many unsung heroes out there such as people who care for sick children or elderly relatives. Courage is not about carrying out a few brave acts, its about facing challenges and doing the right thing, day after day.