When I enjoy a book as much I enjoyed Skulduggery Pleasant, it is only natural that I would be excited for the next one in the series. But with so much to live up to, there is also the slight worry that the book you are looking forward to will suffer from the unfortunate affliction dubbed sequelitis. Playing With Fire though not only matches the first book but – if this is even possible, considering the high standards of Skulduggery Pleasant – exceeds it.
Playing With Fire opens with a bang of a scene, making it very clear that the action and (most importantly to me) the humour of the first are still very much there. The moment I had to set the book down for a minute in that opening as I was laughing so hard I knew that I voice I loved from the first book was still very much there. That wit and snark and all-around humour is one of the most appealing things about this series, so when it is in full form (like it is here in Playing With Fire) it makes for a wonderful read.
While Skulduggery himself is a wonderful character – and really, how could he be anything but? – I must confessed that young Valkyrie Cain has swiftly taken over the position of first place. She is a brilliant character – strong, intelligent, brave – and overall a delight to read. After reading a number of books with “heroines” that have no personality or anything to bring them to life Valkyrie is impressive and that is putting it mildly. Likable characters can make an otherwise average book into a good one, but brilliant characters like Valkryie, Skulduggery and the rest of the cast turn a book with an exciting plot and great world-building into something that is hard to top.
Speaking of plot, Playing With Fire‘s is nicely-paced and packed with great moments of action and character development, plus some nice twists and turns to keep things interesting – I don’t think I can say much more for fear of spoiling. Just know that if you enjoyed Skulduggery Pleasant, then I think you will enjoy the way the series is continuing and growing. If you haven’t read Skulduggery Pleasant, I suggest you run out and get yourself a copy so you can get onto Playing With Fire.