Landy, Derek -- Skulduggery Pleasant: Dark Days (book 4)

Landy, Derek -- Skulduggery Pleasant: Mortal Coil (book 5)

Landy, Derek -- Skulduggery Pleasant: Death Bringer (book 6)

I think I've pinned this style: it's Teenage Noir. The characters are streams of sardonic bon mots and clever comebacks, but it's not to deal with the ruin and fatalism of modern life; it's to deal with the loser kids in school. ("School" may be the Ministry of Magic or an ancient cult of necromancers, in the event.) They're great reads, don't get me wrong, but when I read three in a row I got a little cranky about the repeated reliance on the confidence versus socially-inept contrast. (Heroes and villains worth respecting are the former; contemptible toadies white-hat and black-hat are the latter.) Also a little too heavily beaten into the pavement: mocking Twilight tropes. On the positive side: Valkyrie's relationships with other characters, male and female, continue to grow and develop nuance. Also on the positive side: smartass skeleton with big gun. Skullduggery is just never not fun to hang around.

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