Bedlam, a reread review

My first reread of 2022 was Bedlam by Derek Landy, the 12th book in the Skulduggery Pleasant series. I’ve been absolutely loving rereading this whole series!

I read this the first time through in May of 2020, so if you want to see that review click here, but in this reread I was, of course, able to get so much more from the book.

First things first. Omen. What a cutie! He’s such an innocent little lad, so unlike Val. And yet he’s so strong. He really takes initiative in this book in helping his brother and Val and Skulduggery to defeat whatever evil they’re up against this week. Seeing his character development from book 9 to here has been lovely, seeing him getting stronger, smarter, and just more confident.

I loved how he approached Abyssinia and her gang because he needed to. Because it would save people. And on that note I adored how when the two teams were fighting, as soon as it was sorcerers vs mortals they banded together? In the most uneasy alliance ever but it was an alliance nonetheless. And they never even spoke about it! It was just cute haha.

There was actually a lot less Skulduggery than usual in this instalment. And whilst I did miss him, it did allow for us to explore Val on her own a little more as well as some of the other characters we follow. We have some longstanding faves back this time including Fletcher and Tanith. And I’m so glad we got more time with them!

Valkyrie is dealing with a lot in this second season of books. Heavy PTSD as well as a myriad of other mental health issues. The topic of addiction, in two strains, is covered really well here. At least in my limited opinion. Val is using it as a coping mechanism for day to day struggles. Not just saving the world, but also for getting out of the damn house. Out of bed. She’s really beating herself up still and lets others damage her too because she believes she deserves it. Landy is really bringing through a deep discussion on PTSD throughout these later books.

We return in this book to a topic that was covered near the end of the first season, and that is power imbalance. The power that is held by police and prison guards, and how that is abused and manipulated by those on a power trip and with an agenda. This goes a little harder than the previous time Landy covered this topic, and that’s saying something considering how he approached Davina Marr and her power trip.

President Flannery is still a fucking moron in this book, but that’s good because he’s basically supposed to represent Donald Trump. After reading an extra in one of my hardbacks it turns out that Landy hadn’t actually intended to add President Trump into the books. He wrote Flannery thinking how ridiculous it would be to have a US president like that and then… well yeah. Apparently Flannery had actually featured more originally in his plot for the series and he had to change everything around because it was a little too on the nose. I’ll always wonder what that original series would’ve looked like. Damn Trump.

I will say that Valkyrie is a little overpowered right now. She seems to be gaining new skills as and when she needs them. Literally. She can just absorbs someone else’s power and use that herself. It’s super cool but also a little bit much and seems quite convenient. I’m just waiting to see what Landy does with it.

On CAWPILE I gave this book: Characters: 8, Atmosphere: 7, Writing: 8, Plot: 8, Intrigue: 8, Logic: 7, and Enjoyment: 8 which gives a score of 7.71 and a rating of 4*.

I’m still really enjoying the series, but I can’t lie it’s not quite captured the magic of those first books. Despite that I will definitely be rereading this series in the future! And of course I’m ridiculously excited for Until The End. It’s stupidly close now and my little heart can’t handle it.

Amari and the Night Brothers, a review

After hearing about it so much online, when I spotted a paperback copy with sprayed edges in Tesco’s (British supermarket/grocery store) I knew I had to grab Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston

This is a middle grade SFF which follows a young girl whose older brother has went missing, presumed dead. She’s convinced that he’s still alive, however, and when she’s offered the chance to go to the same summer school he went to she jumps at the chance. Because that summer school isn’t what it seems.

I adored the M.I.B vibes through this whole book, the lobby, the different species, I could feel Will Smith walking down a different corridor! And the technology through this whole world is fantastic. Just stretching the realms of reality without breaking those boundaries.

We get a fantastic combination of reality, with racism and also limitations because they’re kids, along with the fantastical. And on that note, I love how they got around the parent/guardian issue. They don’t make them useless. They don’t just kill them off. Instead Alston found a way around it that I think is so clever and I’m excited to see how he continues to navigate this in the next book.

I absolutely adored Amari’s best friend and how their relationship develops. But there were also some amazing developments in relationships between Amari and other students, and also with the instructors. Something that I prize highly in books.

I adored the ending of this book, which of course I won’t spoil. I love how it doesn’t full resolve the plot and leaves that link there to move into the sequel. I will definitely be picking that up! (and it’s going to pain me to wait until it’s in paperback but I want my books to match!)

I will say that I did predict the “twist”. However, this is a Middle Grade book aimed at 8-12 year olds. And I’m 25. And I still enjoyed the book! So don’t put too much weight on that. And I enjoyed the misleading aspects leading up to the reveal that added another element to the story.

On CAWPILE I rated this: Characters: 9, Atmosphere: 10, Writing: 8, Plot: 8, Intrigue: 8, Logic: 9, and Enjoyment: 9 which gives an average of 8.71 and a 4.5* rating. (yes I’m trialling out using half stars this year, we’ll see how it goes)

I’m so tempted to bump this up to a five star read. I really and truly adored this book and I was so surprised when it came out as a 4 star! This is a wonderful middle grade that every age can enjoy and I’m so excited to see where the story goes from here!

The Last Stand of Dead Men, a review

We’re back with another Skulduggery Pleasant review! Because of course we are 😂

A book about war, betrayal, torture, death, and suffering. I loved it! This series is increasingly hard to talk about whilst trying to stay spoiler free. I adore the Dead Men and the stories we’ve heard about them in previous books so it was so much fun to have Val join this group on their escapades.

In this book I think we have the most POVs we’ve had so far in a Skulduggery book, which serves to really flesh out the book and the world even further. Although I won’t lie, Grandmaster Ping was… creepy. Poor Scapegrace (and Thrasher). This book also expanded into the world outside of Ireland (and the UK). It’s still primarily set on our Isles but it’s nice to learn a little bit more about the wider world.

On CAWPILE I gave this book: Characters: 10, Atmosphere: 9, Writing: 9, Plot: 9, Intrigue: 9, Logic: 9, and Enjoyment: 9 which is an overall of 9.14, a 5 star read.

This is one of my favourite of the Skulduggery books, and I think that’s totally cause of the Dead Men! So excited to continue this series reread.

Kingdom of the Wicked, a review

We’re back with another Skulduggery Pleasant review! This time it’s book 7 in the series, Kingdom of the Wicked by Derek Landy.


The main plot point of this book (which I won’t be mentioning cause I don’t wanna spoil anything for those who aren’t this far into the series!) is quite different to the other books and gives quite a different vibe. It was really interesting to hear the reactions from the rest of the Dead Famous Readalong crew.

This is most definitely a YA book. There is a lot of violence and deeper discussions on morality which are so interesting from a teen an above view but I wouldn’t recommend this to a 10 year old, which is probably why it has an age rating on the back (11+)

For my CAWPILE rating I gave this: Characters: 9, Atmosphere: 9, Writing: 9, Plot: 8, Intrigue: 9, Logic: 9, Enjoyment: 9. Which gave an overall rating of 8.86 which is a 4 star rating.

As is no surprise to anyone, I’ve been loving this reread!

The End of the World, a review

Continuing on with my reread of the Skulduggery Pleasant series, which I’m doing in chronological order, I’ve got the World Book Day 2012 short story!


These World Book Day novellas, whether from the Skulduggery Universe or elsewhere, are intended to encourage people to pick up the related books and read more. This means that this can totally be read separately from the rest of the series and is designed to stnad alone.

Don’t get me wrong though, this is from Landy, so there are enough references to the main series, and a few to other franchises, that series readers will enjoy the novella too.

I adore the character that the bring in for this novella. It’s a really unique subplot that actually develops the world further as well as being super interesting! It tugs at the heartstrings a little too!

For my CAWPILE rating I gave this book 8 across the board for Character, Atmosphere, Writing, Plot, Intrigue, Logic, and Enjoyment. Which of course gives a score of 8. Which is a solid 4 star read.

I definitely recommend picking this up if either you’re already reading the series or if you’re interested in it. At a little over 100 pages it’ll give you a good feel for what the series is like, and it adds to the world too. A great little book!

Death Bringer, a review

We’re up to the 6th book in the Skulduggery Pleasant series! I was reading these along with the Dead Famous Readalong hosted by Hannah from Ladette M, and they’re all rereads for me which were so much fun as I got to see everyone else’s first time reactions!


Without giving any spoilers, book 6 is where the… alter ego of the SP world starts coming out to play. We get fantastic villain fights, in depth reveals about main characters pasts and their previous lives, and of course the oh so witty banter that the series embodies.

We see so much character growth from Valkyrie, she’s getting older and her viewpoint on this magical world is developing along with her. It’s so interesting to see her change as she ages and Landy does this brilliantly. Especially so considering he was never a teenage girl!

This is the end of the second trilogy, which is how this series spluts down inside of it’s respective seasons, and because of that we do get lot of closure. But we also get a massive cliff-hanger that leaves you desperate for the next book! I remember when I first read this book I had to wait a whole year for book 7. I’m very glad that in this reread the next book is only a month away!

In CAWPILE I gave this book: Characters: 9, Atmosphere: 8, Writing: 8, Plot: 8, Intrigue: 9, Logic: 8, and Enjoyment: 8. Which gives an overall rating of 8.29 which is a solid 4 star read!

I’ve really been enjoying this whole series reread and I can’t believe that, many months after I read this (which was back in July 2021 – I’m still catching up on those reviews) we’re so close to the end!

Mortal Coil, a review

We’re at book 5 in the Skulduggery Pleasant series and things are starting to get dark! I’m not sure if you saw my recent update about being SUPER BEHIND on reviews (I read this in June 2021 for Pete’s sake) but my catch up reviews are going to be a lot more succinct so that we can get up to date!

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The series is really starting to turn towards YA now, with a lot of themes of death and torture in this book. But it still has the amazing Landy humour and I found myself struggling to put it down!

We are introduced to a lot of major players in this book, as well as seeing the constant development of Val and her relationship with Skulduggery and the rest of the magical world. As this was a reread for me I adored seeing how all of these pieces were planned out by Landy to slot into place in the later books!

For my CAWPILE rating I gave this book:

Characters: 8

Atmosphere: 8

Writing: 7

Plot: 8

Intrigue: 8

Logic: 7

Enjoyment: 9

Which gives an overall score of 7.86, being a 4 star read.

It’s not my favourite Skulduggery book, but it does have some incredibly important plot points and seeds planted for later books which was a lot of fun to revisit.

What’s a book you really want to read in 2022?


Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston is one I was so excited to see in the supermarket when I was doing my shopping one day. I’ve heard so many fantastic things about this Middle Grade magical fantasy and the cover is stunning to boot!

I’ve just had a heck of a final quarter of 2021 and been far too busy so I was never able to squeeze this one onto a tbr, but I’m super excited to get around to it in the new year. Fingers crossed I absolutely love it!

Image ID: Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston is laid flat against a blue, white and grey plaid fabric. Behind this fabric peeks through some white

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Dark Days, a review

We’re onto the second trilogy within the Skulduggery Pleasant series by Derek Landy! Dark Days is where the violence, the gore, and the death all start to ramp up


As per usual, this is a difficult series to talk about in a spoiler free review because there’s so much going on and I don’t want to accidentally mention something!

For what I can say, I like the development of Skulduggery and Valkyrie separately to each other. I think this is done really well with the circumstances and shows the events of the books well in terms of the mental impact on them. I also like how Val’s separation from her parents is handled more within this book and how it’s shown.

Of course, I adored the sharp wit, the stupid banter, and the fight scenes. As well as references to other nerdy things littered throughout!

I also like how the magic within the series is delved into more here. We learn more about the different uses if elemental magic, as well as the other branches and what advantages they hold. It fleshes out the world more and provides more depth for the other non-elemental characters actions (as Skulduggery and therefore Valkyrie have focused mainly on elemental magic).

On CAWPILE I rated this book:

Characters: 9

Atmosphere: 8

Writing: 9

Plot: 9

Intrigue: 8

Logic: 9

Enjoyment: 8

Which gives me an overall 8.57 rating which is a really good 4 stars! Is anyone really surprised at that??

Highlight here for trigger warnings: violence, death, bombing attempt and event, attempted murder, wrongful incarceration, torture, PTSD, lack of bodily autonomy, severe burn injuries

This is a series that I adore and it’s so much fun to be reading through them again! We’ve only got one book left to come in the series overall now so it’s nice that I’m “delaying” that ending by rereading through all of the books! Have you read any books in the Skulduggery Pleasant series? What do you think of it?!?!

Dead or Alive, a review

The most recent Skulduggery Pleasant novel!!


If you follow my reviews you might be wondering why I’ve jumped from book 3 to book 14 in this series. So I’m one of the co-hosts for the Dead Famous Readalong where we’re reading the full Skulduggery Pleasant series, one book at a time. But I wasn’t going to not read this just because I’m rereading the beginning of the series!!!

I post my reviews in chronological order of when I read the books (unless it’s an ARC with a time limit) and so here we are. Dead or Alive. Book fourteen in the series.

This is so. So. So different to the early books! Of course I knew that logically but seeing it side by side with the early books put it into stark contrast!

This book is even darker than the ones that came before and has so much character development within it. Val herself? Wow. So much. And so much about so many side characters that I don’t want to mention because they might not even have been introduced depending on where you are in the series! This really goes down a certain route and leaves us on a cliffhanger that’s painful and I NEED the next book now thank you Landy.

There are so many plot points and strings all converging together by this point, and yet Landy is handling them deftly. Interweaving them to create a rich tapestry of utter chaos and I fucking love it.

I can’t even begin to explain how complicated this is becoming. Party because of spoilers and partly because I just don’t want to. That is too much effort. But Landy has managed these plot developments and twists and turns so well that it feels natural to read. You already know all of the information, you have all the puzzle pieces, Landy is just slotting them into place.

I’m so so excited for the final book in this series. I do hope we get some sort of happy ending. It’s Skulduggery so of course it’s not going to be sunshine, rainbows, and kittens. But I hope there is some vague semblance of peace. Both for the reader and the characters. But unfortunately, that’s not up to me.

For my CAWPILE ratings I gave this book:

Characters: 10

Atmosphere: 8

Writing: 8

Plot: 8

Intrigue: 9

Logic: 8

Enjoyment: 9

Which gives us an 8.57 and a pretty high 4 star rating!!

Highlight here for trigger warnings: violence, death, guns, mental illness, police brutality, xenophobia

I’m both so so excited and so sad that this series is coming to an end! Here’s hoping it’s a good one!!