I am going to keep the next Derek Landy reviews a little more vague since I try really hard not to put spoiler content here.
Bookish Quick Facts:
- Title: The Faceless Ones
- Series: Skulduggery Pleasant, #3
- Author: Derek Landy
- Publisher & Release: HarperCollins, April 2009
- Length: 432 pages
- Rate & Recommend: ⭐⭐⭐⭐✨ if you even remotely liked the first two books yes:
Audio: 7hours, 47 min from HarperCollins. Narrated by Rupert Degas! I’m loving the audio experience.
Here’s the synopsis from GoodReads:
The third bone-breaking, belly-busting adventure in the series that puts the “funny” back in, um, funny series. That didn’t really work, did it?
If you’ve read the previous Skulduggery books then you know what the Faceless Ones are — and if you know what the Faceless Ones are, then you can probably take a wild guess that things in this book are going to get AWFULLY sticky for our skeletal hero and his young sidekick. If you haven’t read the previous Skulduggery books then what are you doing reading this? Go and read them right now, so that you know what all that stuff in the previous paragraph was about. Done? Good. So now you’re on tenterhooks too, desperately awaiting the answers to all your questions, and instead you’re going to have to wait to read the book. Sorry about that.
So I am now three books into my Skulduggery Pleasant audio binge and have no regrets. I think Landy finally hit his stride here in book three because The Faceless Ones is far, far better than the first two! Another action packed story with better writing, nonstop action, mature villains, and an engaging storyline with more depth now.
I think the humor got good reception in book one so he ended up overdoing it in book two. Here he finally hit a good balance. There was a great mix of humor and serious content, with an overall darker tone.
Similar to other middle grade / young reader series like HP, Landy is getting into tougher subject matter as his protagonist gets older. Valkyrie is (I think) 14 now. I like watching series grow up with their characters and I hope Landy continues this trend.
Continuing with the ever present theme of moral grayness, there’s a clear line between the good and bad guys in this one. The bad guys got more serious though and even the good guys are willing to get dirty. There’s no happy ending, some significant character deaths, and the Dr is truly laying into Skulduggery for putting Valkyrie in danger. At the end of the day she is literally just a child and I like that Landy isn’t letting Skulduggery off the hook so easily as a morally gray character wreaking havoc on a child’s life.
Throughout the book we get hints of dark times to come, concluding with a surprisingly bleak ending.
The only thing missing? I wish Landy would do more with Ireland as the setting! Why not engage the middle grade audience with Irish things! The book could take place in Chicago or Berlin or Vancouver for all we know except he keeps mentioning Dublin, and it seems like a terrible waste.
Overall this is by far my favorite of the series so far. It stays age appropriate. Great audio too with Rupert Degas still narrating; he said he stays for the first four books so that’s exciting. Definitely recommend for Middle-grade/YA
Here are a few favorite quotes!
“You don’t treat me like a child”
He smiled. “Of course I do, but you seem to have this ridiculous notion that being treated like a child means to be treated with less respect than an adult
I’m sophisticated, charming, suave and debonair, Professor. But I have never claimed to be civilized.
I will heal your wounds,” he said, “but I will not facilitate your battles.
My series reviews so far: