Chaos in the Shadows

Today’s review: Skulduggery Pleasant- Last Stand of Dead Men 

Front cover of LSODM. The beauty, I can't-

Front cover of LSODM. The beauty, I can’t-

Author: Derek Landy
Publisher: Harper Collins
Number of Pages: 604
Number of Chapters: 79 (holy moly)
Tagline: No one is safe 

For the magical community of present-day Ireland, tensions have risen and life teeters on the edge of chaos. This is it. This is what they’ve all been expecting, and long been dreading; war has finally come. This war however, is not a battle between the forces of good and evil, but a war between Sanctuaries. The responsibility of making it out of this mess alive falls, once again, into the hands of Skulduggery Pleasant and Valkyrie Cain who, along with the rest of the Dead Men, journey to all corners of the globe to try and prevent the outbreak of uncontrolled havoc. As if this wasn’t enough for them to deal with, another fight rages inside Valkyrie’s mind, as she slowly, but surely, crumbles under the power rising within her that is Darquesse.

Okay guys as you read this, I have literally just finished reading the book. It is currently 6:05 pm on Friday, 20th September and I now have no idea what I’m going to do with my life. For the past couple of days, my life has revolved around this book and now that I’m finished, I have literally nothing to live for.

This is the eighth instalment of Irish author Derek Landy’s Skulduggery Pleasant series and, as someone who has been reading these books for six years, I can tell you that they just keep getting better and better. LSODM is jam-packed with gory action scenes, astounding magic, and awesome characters. Characters who were merely subplots in previous books take on major roles in this latest novel, and it is fascinating to be able to relate to them, laugh with them, hurt with them, and feel for them. Landy’s constant use of imagery and his attention to detail, along with his not-too-formal style of writing are the perfect combination to enrapture audiences both young and old. His witty humour and the way he can manipulate the reader’s emotions make LSODM, along with all of his other novels, a roller-coaster ride of, as we fangirls say, ‘feels’.

It’s actually kind of hard to write a review for this, as there is so many crucial points in the book that have to remain unspoiled. I honestly wish I could write more but if I do, I’ll probably end up ruining it for any of you considering reading it.

If you haven’t considered reading it, then do.

Consider it.

Seriously, consider the hell out of it. You have no idea what you’re missing.

There are only two authors on this planet that have successfully made me laugh out loud, one of which is Derek Landy (the other is Nick Griffiths, author of Dalek, I Loved You. That book was hilarious). His characters, although witty and loveable, are also incredibly flawed. I feel that it is this fact that makes you relate to the characters and feel more empathetic towards them, even if you dislike them. To me, it’s what makes them even more human, and I love that.

Last Stand of Dead Men was the book that I have been waiting for all year and I can honestly tell you, I was not disappointed. Sure, tears were shed and I might have thrown my copy across the room screaming “NO! NO!!” at one point, but I thoroughly enjoyed every minute. At this point in time, I am torn between wanting to strangle Derek Landy and wanting to run into his arms, sobbing and wailing.

For me, a long-term fan of Skulduggery Pleasant, LSODM ticked all my boxes. It was everything I expected and more, and kept me on my seat for hours. Seriously, I almost missed the bus because I was so engrossed in it. I highly recommend reading it, but I would advise you, if you haven’t already, reading the series from the very beginning. As the story is ongoing, there are some key plot points in the previous books that need to be covered for the story to make sense. The first instalment is Skulduggery Pleasant or, as it was released in the US, Skulduggery Pleasant- Sceptre of the Ancients.  

Rating: 10/10


“Haven’t you heard? We’re all innocent in here”

Today’s review: The Shawshank Redemption.
Rating certificate: MA 15+ (Australia), R (USA), 15 (UK)

Tim Robbins as Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption

Tim Robbins as Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption

Director: Frank Darabont
Released: September 23, 1994 (USA)

In 1947, American banker Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) is convicted of murdering his wife and her lover based on circumstantial evidence. He is given two consecutive live sentences; one for each of his murders, and is destined to spend the rest of his days behind the wire fences and concrete walls of Shawshank State Penitentiary. Whilst in prison, Andy befriends illicit smuggler Ellis “Red” Redding (Morgan Freeman), who is also serving a life sentence.

Where most of the other inmates have succumbed to the day-to-day workings of prison, Andy still holds out hope that he will one day be released when there is enough evidence to proclaim him innocent. Until that day, Andy will have to do everything he can to survive the daily routine of Shawshank prison, not only having to endure the wrath of “The Sisters”, a band of incredibly dangerous and masochistic inmates, but also the prison guards themselves, who are probably more shady than most of the prisoners.

Can I just say… wow. Woooow.

WHAT a movie. After watching this, I can definitely see why this movie is one of the greatest movies ever made. The script is perfection, the acting astounding, and the story amazing.
It was hard to write the plot summary, and I’m afraid that it does not give the movie due credit. It’s just extremely hard to write a summary for a movie like this without giving anything away. All I can say is…

Big twist.

There. I literally cannot say any more without giving anything away. So don’t ask me for spoilers, because I won’t give you any.

Just watch the movie. Seriously. Watch it.

If that isn’t enough to convince you, how about the fact that it was nominated for seven academy awards including best actor (Morgan Freeman), best cinematography (Roger Deakins), best film editing (Richard Francis-Bruce), best music, original score (Thomas Newman), best picture (Niki Marvin), best sound (Robert J. Litt  Elliot Tyson Michael Herbick Willie D. Burton), and best writing, screenplay based on material previously produced or published
(Frank Darabont). Apart from these, it also ranked number 4 on Empire‘s list of “The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time” in 2008, and was voted by BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 1Xtra listeners as their favorite film of all time.

Based on the Stephen King novel, Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, The Shawshank Redemption is a moving tale of friendship, loss, pain, and the courage to do what is right. It’s one of those movies that should be on your 100 movies to see before I die list and should definitely be near the top of that list. I highly recommend it, and I would also advise keeping a box of tissues nearby, just in case.

Rating: 9.5/10