Reviews for Skulduggery Pleasant : Playing With Fire

AudioFile Reviews 2008 August/September
Skeleton-sleuth Skulduggery Pleasant and his 13-year-old partner-in-mystery, Valkyrie Cain, are back to save the world for a second time. This time they face a diverse cast of villains--from a sorcerer rated "11 on the 10-point Evil Villain Scale" to a battalion of vampires. Rupert Degas uniquely characterizes each villain, creating chills with gravelly and whispery voices. Degas's flippant, quick delivery of witty lines brings to life Skulduggery's friendly, hip manner, which is counterpointed with a flatness that only barely covers his core of coldness and a hint of protective fondness for Valkyrie. Degas doesn't flag in his narration of the nonstop action. He keeps up with chases, fights, rescues, and high-speed dialogue and without a pause gives credibility to the characters and their relationships. S.W. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award (c) AudioFile 2008, Portland, Maine

AudioFile Reviews 2010 March
Rupert Degas conveys the suspense in the third adventure of Skulduggery Pleasant. Stymied by multiple murders in his magical community, Skulduggery and his friend Valkyrie race the clock to foil a dangerous cabal. Degas combines skillful characterizations with nuanced narration in a thrilling performance. He assigns each character a unique identity with accents, pitch, and other vocal personality traits. As the story moves around the Emerald Isle, listeners will appreciate being able to identify each character with ease. Degas's delivery of the narrative is as adroit as his dialogue. He perfectly paces the story's rise in dramatic tension. As Valkyrie dashes headlong into the final battle, listeners are right by her side, eager for every detail. C.A. (c) AudioFile 2010, Portland, Maine

AudioFile Reviews 2007 December/January 2008
This production is exactly the reason young adult fantasy fare can work so well as audio entertainment. Narrator Rupert Degas will be known to fans of Philip Pullman as Pantalaimon in the audios of His Dark Materials, and he does a bang-up job here as well. This is dark comic fantasy, and Degas's timing and complete grasp of the main character's personality couldn't be better. Skulduggery is the ultimate undead; in fact, he's just a skeleton. This does not stop him from being a deadly fighter or a snappy dresser. In this first episode, Skulduggery steps in to help the niece of an old friend who unwittingly has something a group of evil magicians badly needs. What sets the story apart is Degas's deadpan delivery with a hint of rumbling laughter. Here is a hero we soon find ourselves immensely attached to. Bring us more Skulduggery! D.G. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award (c) AudioFile 2007, Portland, Maine

Kirkus Reviews 2007 March #2
A high-intensity tale shot through with spectacular magic battles, savage mayhem, cool outfits, monsters, hidden doors, over-the-top names, narrow escapes, evil schemes and behavior heroic, ambiguous and really, really bad. When the murder of a favorite uncle touches off a frantic search for a fabled superweapon known as the Scepter of the Ancients, 12-year-old Stephanie is abruptly pitched out of her mundane life. She hooks up with Skulduggery Pleasant--a walking, wisecracking, nattily dressed, fire-throwing skeleton detective--and similar unlikely allies to fight a genially sadistic sorcerer out to conquer the world and to bring back the bad old gods. It's a great recipe for a page-turner, and though Landy takes a chapter or two to get up to full speed, the plot thereafter accelerates as smoothly as Pleasant's classic Bentley toward a violent, seesaw climax. Earning plenty of style points for hardboiled dialogue and very scary baddies, the author gives his wonderfully tough, sassy youngster a real workout, and readers, particularly Artemis Fowl fans, will be skipping meals and sleep to get to the end. Expect sequels. (Fantasy. 12-15) Copyright Kirkus 2007 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Express Reviews
Skulduggery Pleasant is the adopted name of a powerful detective mage who is sworn to protect Stephanie, the 12-year-old niece of his murdered friend. Here, skulduggery takes a double meaning-our detective is capable of scurrilous behavior in the pursuit of his suspects, and he's also a skeleton, robbed of his flesh by an age-old spell. Listen Up: Skulduggery's droll bass is a delight, and the cool-cat jazz on the soundtrack is an added bonus for grown-ups hip enough to know a groovy story when they hear one. Degas has a wonderful time building this story's suspense and conveying its dry humor.-Angelina Benedetti, King Cty. Lib. Syst., WA Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

School Library Journal Reviews 2007 October

Gr 4-8-- Every once in a while a story comes along that is pure unadulterated fun. This tale (HarperCollins, 2007) by Irish screenwriter Derek Landy is one of those gems. Stephanie Edgley. age 12, meets Skulduggery at her uncle's funeral. He is covered from head to foot and it is some time before Stephanie realizes Skulduggery is a skeleton. Far from being repulsed, she's fascinated by a world of magic she never knew existed. When Stephanie inherits her uncle's estate, strange men begin pursuing her and detective Skulduggery comes to her rescue. The plot thrusts the duo into tight spots and narrow escapes which will keep listeners on the edge of their seats. Narrator Rupert Degas is flawless in his interpretation of the story. Even minor characters come deliciously to life. But it is the relationship between Stephanie and Skulduggery that makes this tale such a hoot. The two bicker back and forth with dry wit and sarcasm, but Stephanie holds her own against the flawed, heart-of-gold Skulduggery. Hopefully, we have not heard the last of this dynamic duo. A must-have purchase.--Tricia Melgaard, Centennial Middle School, Broken Arrow, OK

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