Category Archives: horror

Skulduggery Pleasant: Last Stand of Dead Men by Derek Landy

War has finally come. But it’s not a war between good and evil, or light and dark – it’s a war between Sanctuaries. For too long, the Irish Sanctuary has teetered on the brink of world-ending disaster, and the other Sanctuaries around the world have had enough. Allies turn to enemies, friends turn to foes, and Skulduggery and Valkyrie must team up with the rest of the Dead Men if they’re going to have any chance at all of maintaining the balance of power and getting to the root of a vast conspiracy that has been years in the making. But while this war is only beginning, another war rages within Valkyrie herself. Her own dark side, the insanely powerful being known as Darquesse, is on the verge of rising to the surface. And if Valkyrie slips, even for a moment, then Darquesse will burn the world and everyone in it.

Last Stand of Dead Men is the second to last book in Derek Landy’s wonderful Skulduggery Pleasant series, and it sure is one tense, action-packed read.  The further we’ve been getting to the end of the series, the more dramatic the events of each book have been.  The magic world has been teetering on the brink of war for some time now and it’s in Last Stand of Dead Men that war finally breaks out between the Sanctuaries.  An epic magic battle ensues, with death and destruction galore.

As the front cover says, ‘no one is safe.’  The characters that we’ve come to love are caught up in the middle of the war and not everyone survives.  Heroes become villains, enemies fight together, some people aren’t who we thought they were, and others look completely different from the last time we saw them.  Derek also introduces us to new characters and creations, my favourite of which are the Warlock’s minions, the Wretchlings.

Last Stand of Dead Men is the darkest of the series so far and we see the darker side of Skulduggery coming out.  While it doesn’t have the same humour as some of the earlier books, the scenes with Scapegrace and Thrasher provide some light relief and had me laughing out loud.  One of the things I like the most about Derek’s books is his brilliant dialogue and there is plenty of this in this book.

Skulduggery will do anything to save Valkyrie and I certainly can’t wait until September next year to find out how it all ends.  Will Skulduggery save her or will Darquesse destroy the world?

Last Stand of Dead Men is out now.  Grab a copy from your library or bookshop.

Win a copy of Last Stand of Dead Men!

Thanks to HarperCollins NZ I have 3 copies of Last Stand of Dead Men to give away.  All you have to do to get in the draw is enter your name and email address in the form below.  Competition closes Friday 4 October (NZ only).

 

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under authors, books, children, children's fiction, horror

Derek Landy talks about Last Stand of Dead Men

War has finally come. But it’s not a war between good and evil, or light and dark – it’s a war between Sanctuaries. For too long, the Irish Sanctuary has teetered on the brink of world-ending disaster, and the other Sanctuaries around the world have had enough. Allies turn to enemies, friends turn to foes, and Skulduggery and Valkyrie must team up with the rest of the Dead Men if they’re going to have any chance at all of maintaining the balance of power and getting to the root of a vast conspiracy that has been years in the making. But while this war is only beginning, another war rages within Valkyrie herself. Her own dark side, the insanely powerful being known as Darquesse, is on the verge of rising to the surface. And if Valkyrie slips, even for a moment, then Darquesse will burn the world and everyone in it.

The second to last book in the Skulduggery Pleasant series, Last Stand of Dead Men, is finally here!  The last couple of books are going to be pretty epic and it will be really interesting to see how the series ends.  I’ll post my review very soon and there will be a copy to win.

Leave a comment

Filed under authors, books, children's fiction, horror

Jonathan Stroud talks about his new series, Lockwood & Co.

When the dead come back to haunt the living, Lockwood & Co. step in . . .
For more than fifty years, the country has been affected by a horrifying epidemic of ghosts. A number of Psychic Investigations Agencies have sprung up to destroy the dangerous apparitions.

Lucy Carlyle, a talented young agent, arrives in London hoping for a notable career. Instead she finds herself joining the smallest, most ramshackle agency in the city, run by the charismatic Anthony Lockwood. When one of their cases goes horribly wrong, Lockwood & Co. have one last chance of redemption. Unfortunately this involves spending the night in one of the most haunted houses in England, and trying to escape alive.

Set in a city stalked by spectres, The Screaming Staircase is the first in a chilling new series full of suspense, humour and truly terrifying ghosts. Your nights will never be the same again.

The first book in Jonathan Stroud’s new series, Lockwood and Co., The Screaming Staircase, is one of my most anticipated books of 2013.  It sounds absolutely fantastic!  I loved Gareth P. Jones’ Constable and Toop and The Screaming Staircase sounds like a similar sort of story.  Ghosts and supernatural detectives – what more could I want?
The Screaming Staircase is due out in NZ on 20 September 2013.

Leave a comment

Filed under authors, books, children, children's fiction, horror, mystery

Cover Reveal: Last Stand of Dead Men by Derek Landy

The eighth instalment in the biggest, funniest, most thrilling comedy-horror-adventure series in the universe – and the follow-up to 2012’s number-one bestseller, Kingdom of the Wicked…

War has finally come.

But it’s not a war between good and evil, or light and dark – it’s a war between Sanctuaries. For too long, the Irish Sanctuary has teetered on the brink of world-ending disaster, and the other Sanctuaries around the world have had enough. Allies turn to enemies, friends turn to foes, and Skulduggery and Valkyrie must team up with the rest of the Dead Men if they’re going to have any chance at all of maintaining the balance of power and getting to the root of a vast conspiracy that has been years in the making.

But while this war is only beginning, another war rages within Valkyrie herself. Her own dark side, the insanely powerful being known as Darquesse, is on the verge of rising to the surface. And if Valkyrie slips, even for a moment, then Darquesse will burn the world and everyone in it.

Last Stand of Dead Men is released in New Zealand in August by HarperCollins NZ.

Leave a comment

Filed under books, children, children's fiction, horror

Department 19: Battle Lines by Will Hill

Will Hill is one of those authors that just keeps impressing me.  I was blown away by his first Department 19 book when it came out in 2011, then he took things up a notch last year in Department 19: The Rising.  Now Jamie, Larissa and Department 19 are back and even more awesome than ever in the latest installment, Department 19: Battle Lines.

As the clock ticks remorselessly towards Zero Hour and the return of Dracula, the devastated remnants of Department 19 try to hold back the rising darkness. Jamie Carpenter is training new recruits, trying to prepare them for a fight that appears increasingly futile. Kate Randall is pouring her grief into trying to plug the Department’s final leaks, as Matt Browning races against time to find a cure for vampirism. And on the other side of the world, Larissa Kinley has found a place she feels at home, yet where she makes a startling discovery. Uneasy truces are struck, new dangers emerge on all sides, and relationships are pushed to breaking point. And in the midst of it all, Department 19 faces a new and potentially deadly threat, born out of one of the darkest moments of its own long and bloody history. Zero Hour is coming. And the Battle Lines have been drawn.

Department 19: Battle Lines is full of everything I loved about the previous books – vicious blood-sucking vampires, cool weapons and technology, suspense, action, violence, and Frankenstein.  Battle Lines is the biggest book yet (at 702 pages) and there is so much happening.  I’d love to know how Will keeps track with everything that’s happening.  You finish a chapter and just want to go straight on with the next one to find out what’s happening with the other characters. 

Like the other books in the series, there are lots of different threads of the story and many characters whose story we’re following.  If the Department didn’t have enough problems dealing with the attack on The Loop and the imminent rise of Dracula, they have another crisis to deal with.  Patients from mental institutions around the world have been ‘turned’ and escaped, leaving incredibly powerful and unpredictable vampires running loose.  It’s up to the Operators, including Jamie and his new recruits, to hunt down and terminate them before they create havoc.  While Jamie is out hunting vampires, his friends are busy with their own important tasks.  Kate helps carry out interviews to try and find the leaks within the Department, Matt works on a cure for vampirism as part of the reformed Lazarus Project, and Larissa is sent to NS9 in America to help them and select a team to bring back to the Department.  A descendant of of the founders of Department 19 is also out for revenge and threatens to blow the Department wide open by exposing them.  All of this is happening while Dracula bides his time in a chateau in France.

Will’s range of characters is great, from the members of Blacklight to the vampires and the minor characters.  With each book you find out more about the main characters and get introduced to new ones.  One of the things I really liked about this book was that Will is introducing new characters who will go on to play a greater part in the series. 

The pages of the book are dripping with vampire blood and you can almost smell the charred vampire flesh.  Will’s vampires explode like a balloon when staked in the heart and they burst into flame when shot with a UV gun.  There’s more than enough blood, gore and violence to keep any horror fan happy.

I can’t wait to find out where Will takes us from here.  I know one thing for sure – whatever happens, it will be epic!

Win Department 19: Battle Lines

Thanks to HarperCollins NZ I have a copy of Department 19: Battle Lines to give away.  All you have to do to get in the draw is enter your name and email address in the form below.  Competition closes Friday 17 May (NZ only).

Leave a comment

Filed under authors, books, horror, young adult, young adult fiction

Department 19: New Recruit

New Recruit is the second part of the Department 19 animated web comic created by Will Hill and Tom Percival.  You can watch the first part, If you go down to the woods today, here on the blog.

The latest book in Will Hill’s Department 19 series, Department 19: Battle Lines is out now.

Leave a comment

Filed under authors, books, horror, young adult, young adult fiction

Through Dead Eyes by Chris Priestley

One of my favourite genres of stories for children and teens is horror.  There weren’t many of these types of book around when I was younger, but there is plenty to choose from these days, from Derek Landy and Joseph Delaney, to Darren Shan and Barry Hutchison.  Chris Priestley is an author of spooky, chilling and creepy stories that I’ve been reading more of lately and his latest book, Through Dead Eyes is a new favourite.

Alex joins his father on a business trip to Amsterdam. During the day he hangs out with the daughter of a family friend. They visit the usual sights but also coffee shops and flea markets off the beaten track. At one of these markets Alex spots an ancient-looking mask. Before he knows what he’s doing he buys it. Later, in his hotel room, he feels compelled to put the mask on. Alex is sucked into a parallel Amsterdam, one from centuries before which begins to reveal the dark past of both the building he is staying in and the little girl who once lived there edging stealthily towards the terrible twist.

Through Dead Eyes is a chilling ghost story that haunts you long after you’ve turned the last page.  I read it on a wet and dreary day which added to the chilling tone.   Chris Priestley really knows how to keep the reader on edge throughout the story.  The thing I love the most about Chris’s writing is that there are lots of twists that you don’t see coming, especially towards the end of the story, and he leaves you with a feeling of unease.  You know that, even though the story has finished, things are not right in the life of the characters.  Like any good ghost story you get pieces of the puzzle as the story progresses and you’ve got to figure out how they all fit together.  You just hope that the main character solves the puzzle before it’s too late.

The setting of Amsterdam adds to the eerie feeling of the story, because Alex is surrounded by so much history.  The buildings are hundreds of years old and they would hold many stories.  Alex is drawn to the history of the hotel he is staying in and the strange feelings he has inside his room.  This history and the connection between the mask and the paintings draw you in to the story.

The cover is fantastic and captures the tone of the story perfectly.  It was the cover, with the mottled and cracked surface, and the creepy eye, that grabbed my attention and made me pick it up.

Through Dead Eyes is great for readers aged 11+ who like to give themselves a good scare.

Leave a comment

Filed under books, children's fiction, horror, mystery, young adult, young adult fiction

Derek Landy on Tanith Low and the Maleficent Seven

To celebrate the release of his new book, The Maleficent Seven, Derek Landy went down to a crypt under Dublin and answered some questions about Tanith and her part in the Skulduggery Pleasant series.  The 3 parts of the interview are below for your viewing pleasure.

Leave a comment

Filed under authors, books, children, funny, horror

Department 19: If you go down to the woods…

Tom Percival is the brilliant artist that creates the amazing Skulduggery Pleasant covers.  He’s also an animator, and an author and illustrator of his own picture books.  Tom created this very cool video to promote Will Hill’s Department 19 series.

The latest book in Will Hill’s Department 19 series, Department 19: Battle Lines is out now.  Department 19 is one of my favourite series and I can’t wait to sink my teeth in to this latest book.  Keep an eye on the blog for my review and your chance to win a copy.

Leave a comment

Filed under book trailer, books, horror, young adult, young adult fiction

Introducing The Department 19 Files by Will Hill

I’m a huge fan of Will Hill’s Department 19 series.  I love them because they’re action-packed and gory, and there are vicious, blood-sucking vampires galore.  If you haven’t come across the series you can read my reviews of Department 19 and Department 19: The Rising here on the blog.

The third book in this awesome series, Department 19: Battle Lines will be released in April in New Zealand (March 28th in the UK).  In the lead-up to the release of Battle Lines, Will Hill is publishing three Department 19 short stories as ebooks.  The Department 19 Files is a trilogy of new stories, set in the same world as Jamie’s, but further back in history.  Will describes the stories as:

“…some of the darkest, most painful stuff I’ve written, and are full of all the action and gore you’ll be expecting. They shed light on the early years of Blacklight and how it became the organisation that Jamie and his friends are parts of, and they allowed me to write about one of the most fascinating periods in history, a period of mechanised death and devastation on a scale that is almost unimaginable in these days of drone strikes and laser-targeted bombs.”

The three stories are being released over the next three weeks in the lead up to the release of Battle Lines, and you can buy them from Amazon.com or Kobo in NZ.  Will explains what each of the stories is about on his blog:

“if you want to read about Quincey Harker and his horrifying adventures in the darkness of the Western Front, pick up The Devil In No Man’s Land. If you want to see a younger Valeri Rusmanov doing what he does best as Europe is gripped by the flu pandemic of 1918 (and read some of the nastiest stuff I’ve ever written!) then stick around for Undead in the Eternal City. And if you want to know what happened when Quincey Harker returned home and discovered the truth about what his father and his friends really do, then The New Blood contains the answers, along with some characters that fans of Dracula will be very familiar with!”

I’ve just read the first story, The Devil in No Man’s Land, and it’s bloody brilliant!  Set in the muddy battlefields of the Western Front, it tells the story of Quincey Harker (a character you’ll be familiar with if you’ve read any of the other Department 19 books) and the members of the Special Reconnaissance Unit.  They fought relentlessly for their country and were given medals that they could never be officially awarded, but none of them were prepared for the horror that they would discover in Passchendaele.  Will Hill is brilliant at building suspense and having you on the edge of your seat, waiting to find out what Quincey and his squad will come across next.  The gore that I love in the Department 19 books is certainly here in this compact little story and Will portrays the horrors of war very well.

One of the things I like the most about the Department 19 books are the historical chapters that give you background to the story and the organisation, so it’s great that Will has written these ebook short stories.  The great thing about The Department 19 Files is that they can be read separate from the rest of the books, so even someone who hasn’t read the others would enjoy these.  They would be a great way to hook readers into the series too.

Leave a comment

Filed under adventure, authors, books, history, horror, short stories, young adult, young adult fiction