Book Reviews

Playing With Fire By Derek Landy (Mini Review)

Warning!! – This review contains spoilers for Skulduggery Pleasant: Playing with Fire by Derek Landy.

Don’t Try This At Home

I was so excited to start Playing with Fire as one of my favourite characters makes his first appearance, that character is a Texan psychopath called Billy-Ray Sanguine. I know he is a villain but be honest with me, we all love him!

There is also a lot of plot development adding in bits and pieces to go over the whole series, which as someone who has read the series before got me all excited for what will be coming. Again because my memory is terrible and it has been a couple of years since I read this series, I have forgotten how many awesome things take place in Playing with Fire. I always remember the main story plot but the little things that lead up to the main parts always elude me.

But enough about that, let’s get started!

Book Synopsis

Just when you think you’ve saved the world…”You will kill her?” the Torment asked. Skulduggery sagged. “Yes.” He hesitated, then took his gun from his jacket. “I’m sorry, Valkyrie,” he said softly. “Don’t talk to me,” Valkyrie said. “Just do what you have to do.” Valkyrie parted her tunic, and Skulduggery pointed the gun at the vest beneath. “Please forgive me,” Skulduggery said, then aimed the gun at the girl and pulled the trigger. With Serpine dead, the world is safe once more. At least, that’s what Valkyrie and Skulduggery think, until the notorious Baron Vengeous makes a bloody escape from prison, and dead bodies and vampires start showing up all over Ireland. With Baron Vengeous after the deadly armour of Lord Vile, and pretty much everyone out to kill Valkyrie, the daring detective duo face their biggest challenge yet. But what if the greatest threat to Valkyrie is just a little closer to home…?

If you would like a full plot summary I would recommend this one. It tells you everything you need to know if you don’t have time to re-read the book.

Favourite Scenes

As I was reading I was taking notes, like I normally do when I plan on reviewing a book, which if I’m being honest I do with most books. But while reading Playing with Fire I got so into the story and action that I sometime forgot that I was supposed to be keeping notes, this meant that when I finally noticed that major things happened I was already way past it. So I’d have to go back and take my notes.

Enough about my failure of taking notes and get to my favourite scenes!

The first scene I’m going to mention is from Chapter 7. Now I’m only going to mention this scene as it leads up to an awesome scene.

In this scene Valkyrie has gone to visit China while waiting for Tanith at the library, while Valkyrie is there, there is a knock on the door. China tells her to go into the bedroom and close the door right away, which Valkyrie does. The door to the apartment bursts open and Baron Vengeous walks in and proceeds to talk to China about joining him in welcoming back the Faceless Ones, China refuses and when Vengeous tries to take her by force China fights back.

This is why I’m mentioning this scene, this is the first time we see China use her magic and show off what she can do, and ladies and gentlemen, she is a badass!

Which leads to another scene I love, this too shows off how awesome China is!

This is in chapter 32. This chapter is basically showing off China and what her magic can do. In this scene China is heading towards her car while being escorted by two body guards, when Vengeous comes to take her by force. When the body guards try to stop him they are killed, which leads to China and Vengeous having an awesome fight scene. This again shows just what China can do and even when in extreme danger can still be her sassy self.

“You are a brave women to be taunting me.”

“I’m not taunting you sweetie, I’m just really bored of this conversation.”

The next scene is from Chapter 11. In this scene Skulduggery is in a small room questioning Vaurien Scapegrace with Tanith and Valkyrie. When Vaurien doesn’t co-operate with questioning Skulduggery takes things to the next level by telling Vaurien that Tanith is a renowned interrogator, who has an 100 percent success rate at getting information. This gains Skulduggery a weird look from Tanith as this is news to her.

When Vaurien ask how she manages that skulduggery tells him that Tanith has the power to suck out people’s brains. This makes Tanith have to cover her mouth to stop from laughing while standing right behind Vaurien while Valkyrie has to hold her smile back as she is right in his line of sight.

Tanith held up here hands in a what-do-you-expect-me-to-do? gesture. Her hands dropped when Scapegrace tried to look back at her and she became deadly serious. The moment he took his eyes off her again she went back to helpless gesturing.

This scene goes on and Skuklduggery gets the information he is after while at the same time making Vaurien scared to death of Tanith.

I love this scene because it just amuses me so much! Skulduggery doesn’t run this plan by anyone. He just dives in and sees where it gets him, to be honest, this pretty much explains a lot of Skulduggery’s plans.  It also shows just how Valkyrie and Tanith let Skulduggery do his thing and never question him… also that Skulduggery comes up with some weird stuff.

There are so many great and funny scenes in Playing with Fire that I wish I could talk about them all but I can’t. I didn’t even get to talk about my baby Billy-Ray Sanguine… okay I’ll be quick promise!

In Chapter 8 after Valkyrie runs from China’s apartment and is being chased by Billy-Ray into the streets of Dublin, she is cornered in an alley by Billy-Ray. After a scuffle Tanith shows up and gets involved fighting Billy herself.

This whole scene is full of Billy-Ray being his sassy, psychotic and amazing self while he takes on Tanith and Valkyrie. The scene only gets better with a couple lines of dialog between Tanith and Billy-Ray.

“That hurt,” he said with a smile.

“I can make this easy on you.”

“You gonna give me that sword of yours?”

“No, but if you tell me what Baron Vengeous is planning, I’ll let you walk away from this.”

He frowned “But I drove here.”

I have a huge space in my heart for Sanguine and I know that not everyone likes him, but I for some reason do.

Favourite Quotes

Just like the first book, Playing with Fire if full of funny and inspirational quotes. I was really excited to get to this book as it has a few of my favourite quotes from the whole series.

“This necklace cost to very fine men their lives. At times I wear it in tribute to their sacrifice. Other times I wear it because it goes with this skirt.”- China Sorrows to Valkyrie Cain- Page 68

Baron Vengeous: “What would a thing like you know about honour? Only a heathen would bring a gun to a swordfight.”

Skulduggery: “and only a moron would bring a sword to a gunfight.”- Page 175

“…Bravery, after all, isn’t the absence of fear. Bravery is the acknowledgment and conquering of fear.”- Echo Gordon Edgley to Valkyrie Cain- Page 281

“I want you all to know, that we are the first line of defence. In fact, we’re practically the only line of defence. If we fail, there won’t be a whole lot anyone else will be able to do. What I’m trying to say is that failure at this point isn’t really the smart move to make. We are not to fail, do I make myself absolutely clear? Failure is bad, it won’t help us in the short term and certainly won’t do us any favours in the long run, and I think I’ve lost track of this speech, and I’m not too sure where its headed. But I know where it started and that’s what you’ve got to keep in mind. Has anyone seen my hat?”- Skulduggery losing tract of a motivational speech- Page 310

Playing with fire was a great continuation in the Skulduggery Pleasant series as it opens up the world and shows you what to expect in the books to come. It introduces you to characters you will love and hate while at the same time showing you the world in a new way from the first book.

I’m so excited to continue my re-read with The Faceless Ones and see what I missed when I originally read it!

Rating: 5/5 stars- Amazing! I loved it!

Happy reading everyone!



6 thoughts on “Playing With Fire By Derek Landy (Mini Review)

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