This I had to pick up as the ending to the previous one was such a cliffhanger that I had to know what happened next.  This is book five in the Skulduggery Pleasant series written by Derek Landy.  The previous books are a lot more light-hearted than this one and I can guess that they only get darker from here. 

Skulduggery Pleasant Mortal Coil by Derek Landy, book cover

There is a lot happening in this book,  between the different factions of characters and Valkyrie is becoming more centre stage than she was in the previous books.  You can feel certain rumblings are coming to a head and know that it is only going to get worse from here. 

Valkyrie comes to a number of realisations in this book, she has been surrounded by magic for four years by this point and this is starting to have a wider impact on her life than she initially expected. When she was younger magic held a form of mystery and it was something that would be fun, now every time she spends time with Skulduggery her life seems to end up in danger. 

We also have a further insight into the characters in Roarhaven who have only been briefly mentioned in previous books we get much more of an insight into this malaligned community in the magical world. 

We also learn a little more about Kenspeckle, and why he has such strong morals,  and how this impacts on his relationship, or lack thereof with Skulduggery Pleasant.  Kenspeckle’s knowledge of magical science is amazing, and I really wish that some of the injuries could be healed as simply as he makes it seem.

This book is the first one that does not simply follow Valkyrie,  we get to see things that are happening in different areas, presumably at the same time.  This dramatic irony is something that has been introduced due to how complex the longer term plot is becoming, with so many strands weaving together to become one.  This also helps the story have a fast pace as there is always some form of action occurring.

One of the main themes in this book is good vs evil.  while this theme is rampant throughout the series, in areas of this book the reader sees the impact of internalisation of this, and what can happen when people give into their darker desires. 

Another theme in this book is hope. Hope while being a positive emotion can also lead to disappointment and that is something that some of the characters will most likely be faced with in the coming books.  Everyone has something that they are hopeful for (I hope to have a book published one day) but unless you do everything in your power to reach what you are hopeful for you will never achieve it.

The final theme I want to share is new beginnings.  There are a number of areas where there are new beginnings during this book.  In some cases this is positive in others it is negative, but these beginnings have a wide ranging impact.  These beginnings may bring hope to the magical community, but the actual impact will need to be seen in the next couple of books.

In places this book made me feel that I should really pick up a martial art and get into better shape because of all the unfortunate things that happen.  During the book the residents of Ireland self isolate and it was one of those moments where fiction reflects reality, and the reader can now relate to how this would impact on everyone.

The ending was very bittersweet and made me appreciate the value of having an enemy who appreciates that a small amount of kindness can go a long way. 

I am going to give this book 3 stars.  I did enjoy it, but it took me a long time to get through, the ending did make me question if this should be four starts but I thought that giving it a very strong three stars was fair. 

This time I have managed to pick up a book that is not in this series for my next read: Murder Most Unladylike, it may take me a while to share the review but I am enjoying it so far.