■ REVIEW: Last Stand of the Dead Men
Classic tale of evil versus worse

Last Stand of the Dead Men is the latest in the Skullduggery Pleasant series. Skullduggery is a living skeleton who is part of a shadowy world of magic hidden amongst us ordinary humans.

His blend of magic and fighting skills have served him well in helping to keep this hidden society safe, especially his home sanctuary in Ireland.

Disharmony amongst different sanctuaries (safe havens for the various witches, mages and similar) is threatening to break into open warfare. Added to this is the increasing fear of the warlocks trying to seize power.

In a classic tale of evil versus worse, Skullduggery must reunite with his former colleagues in their combat unit known as the Dead Men. Together with new recruit Steph Valkyrie, they may be facing their biggest challenge both from without and from within.

This is an odd blend of storytelling styles. Plenty of action, magic and imagination with comedic interludes. Aimed at the burgeoning teen spooky spells and sorcery market, it has some good plotting and action but I felt the comedic repartee unnecessary.

Last Stand of the Dead Men, by Derek Landy (HarperCollins, RRP $25)

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