Best Books of the Month Shop Costumes Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon Janet Jackson All-New Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote Grocery Introducing Handmade New Kitchen Scale from AmazonBasics Amazon Gift Card Offer redoaks redoaks redoaks  Amazon Echo Starting at $49.99 Kindle Voyage UnchartedBundle Fall Arrivals in Amazon Outdoor Clothing Learn more

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Kindle Price: $7.99

These promotions will be applied to this item:

Some promotions may be combined; others are not eligible to be combined with other offers. For details, please see the Terms & Conditions associated with these promotions.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Flip to back Flip to front
Audible Narration Playing... Paused   You are listening to a sample of the Audible narration for this Kindle book.
Learn more

Skulduggery Pleasant: Playing with Fire (Skulduggery Pleasant series Book 2) Kindle Edition

71 customer reviews

See all 15 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
"Please retry"
Unknown Binding, Import
"Please retry"

Length: 404 pages Age Level: 8 - 12 Grade Level: 5 and up

Kindle Delivers
Kindle Delivers
Subscribe to the Kindle Delivers monthly e-mail to find out about each month's Kindle book deals, new releases, editors' picks and more. Learn more (U.S. customers only)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5–9—In this sequel to Skulduggery Pleasant (HarperCollins, 2007), 13-year-old Valkyrie Cain and her mentor, the living skeleton detective, are faced with the return of the evil Baron Vengeous, who has been freed from prison. Vengeous is trying to reanimate the Grotesquery, a monster made up of pieces of a variety of evil creatures. If his scheme is successful, the Faceless Ones, "the terrible dark gods, exiled from this world," will return. Faced with treachery within the ranks of good magicians, Valkyrie and Skulduggery must rely on their own Elemental magical powers and a few trusted allies to confront Vengeous's magic and helpers, such as the vampire Dusk and Billy-Ray Sanguine, who has the ability to tunnel underground. One magical action sequence follows another as Valkyrie must find the courage to face what seem to be insurmountable foes. Humorous conversations between Valkyrie and Skulduggery add flavor to this generally dark and often-violent novel, as does the girl's appreciation of the dichotomy between her evil-fighting life and that of a quiet student lived by her reflection while she's off saving the world. Fans of the first book will particularly enjoy the new schemes and evil creatures found here. While the back-and-forth between Skulduggery and Vengeous's forces repeats a few too many times, readers looking for a mix of magic and action will find it here.—Beth L. Meister, Milwaukee Jewish Day School, WI
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

In this sequel to Skulduggery Pleasant (2007), skeleton-detective Skullduggery and his apprentice, Valkyrie Cain (aka 13-year-old Stephanie Edgley), track down the recently escaped Baron Vengeous, who plans to animate the Grotesquery, a vicious monster assembled from a variety of fearsome beasts. The Baron has finally located the remaining ingredients necessary to complete his work—the late Lord Vile’s armor and some blood from one of the Ancients. There’s not much character development, but Landy, who has also written horror screenplays, is in his element here. His style is cinematic, and the action nonstop. Skullduggery’s subtle humorous asides (some referencing classic horror films and stories) lighten the mood, and magical details, such as Valkyrie’s ability to throw fireballs, add to the fun. Fans of the earlier title as well as fantasy buffs pining for the now-vanquished Voldemort will enjoy this tale of good versus evil. A final scene suggests another installment is in the works. Grades 5-8. --Kay Weisman

Product Details

  • File Size: 1577 KB
  • Print Length: 404 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B006OHTT5A
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (February 22, 2011)
  • Publication Date: February 22, 2011
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,066 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?

More About the Author

Derek Landy lives near Dublin. Before writing his children's story about a sharply-dressed skeleton detective, he wrote the screenplays for a zombie movie and a murderous horror film. "I think my career-guidance teacher is spinning in her grave," he says, "or she would be if she were dead."

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mary M. Claridge on August 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover
He's back. The wise-guy Skulduggery Pleasant is ready to save the world with his young partner Valkyrie Cain, once called Stephanie Edgely. While she learns the tricks of the magic trade, a new villain, Baron Vengeous, has escaped from jail and plans to awaken the Grotesquery, a creature combining the parts of various monsters that will open the way for the ultimate evil, the Faceless Ones. If he successes, the world is doomed. So, of course it is up to a living skeleton and a thirteen-year old girl to stop him and the beast he hopes to unleash using magic, revolvers, and smart aleck remarks. You have to feel sorry for them, Vengeous and the Grotesquery that is.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By KidsReads on June 21, 2010
Format: Paperback
The cover of Derek Landy's inaugural SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT novel shows the eponymous skeleton in his trademark hat and sunglasses next to the legend, "And he's the good guy." Good doesn't even begin to describe the fun to be found between the covers of that book and, fortunately for readers, the second installment in the series, SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT: PLAYING WITH FIRE, takes the fun to a whole new level.

Well into her apprenticeship with Skulduggery, Valkyrie Cain --- the girl formerly known as Stephanie Edgley --- is fighting alongside her sardonic teacher. As the story unfolds, the pair defeats a homicidal villain known as Scapegrace, who sees his intended killing spree as a form of art. But the victory is short-lived as a new, far more powerful adversary appears on the scene.

Baron Vengeous, a terrible baddie from Skulduggery's past, escapes from prison. (In a clever nod to This is Spinal Tap, Skulduggery notes that on the villain scale of one to ten, Vengeous "turns it all the way up to eleven.") The Baron, much like Serpine from the first book, is on a mission to revive the Faceless Ones from the dead. His plan involves summoning a beast known as the Grotesquery, a Frankenstein-like hodgepodge of body bits. With the Grostequery and the magical armor of the powerful necromancer Lord Vile, nothing can stand in the Baron's way. Except, perhaps, the fire-flinging Valkyrie and her dead mentor.

In their quest to stop the Baron, the pair encounter Springheeled Jack, a creature who strikes fear into the hearts of Londoners at night and an infected assassin called Billy-Ray Sanguine.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Catherine on May 25, 2010
Format: Paperback
When I enjoy a book as much I enjoyed Skulduggery Pleasant, it is only natural that I would be excited for the next one in the series. But with so much to live up to, there is also the slight worry that the book you are looking forward to will suffer from the unfortunate affliction dubbed sequelitis. Playing With Fire though not only matches the first book but - if this is even possible, considering the high standards of Skulduggery Pleasant - exceeds it.

Playing With Fire opens with a bang of a scene, making it very clear that the action and (most importantly to me) the humour of the first are still very much there. The moment I had to set the book down for a minute in that opening as I was laughing so hard I knew that I voice I loved from the first book was still very much there. That wit and snark and all-around humour is one of the most appealing things about this series, so when it is in full form (like it is here in Playing With Fire) it makes for a wonderful read.

While Skulduggery himself is a wonderful character - and really, how could he be anything but? - I must confessed that young Valkyrie Cain has swiftly taken over the position of first place. She is a brilliant character - strong, intelligent, brave - and overall a delight to read. After reading a number of books with "heroines" that have no personality or anything to bring them to life Valkyrie is impressive and that is putting it mildly. Likable characters can make an otherwise average book into a good one, but brilliant characters like Valkryie, Skulduggery and the rest of the cast turn a book with an exciting plot and great world-building into something that is hard to top.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By David Justiss on December 23, 2010
Format: Paperback
[I would apply this review to both the first two books in the series, but I wrote it just after reading the second (Playing With Fire).]
How could a book seem so badly written and yet be this hard to put down? It's not as badly written as it seems although a lot of aspects of the story are not believable at all. Even fantasy has to be believable in a way, and this isn't. Some people are going to really like this style of story. Some people will think it's terrible. As I writer, I appreciate both sides and say it's both. It's terrible and yet it's just the kind of style and story that's likable in way that you like in some movies, but seems a little out of place as a novel.

It reads like one of those comic book movies like Batman and Spiderman or even more like X-Men and Dick Tracy with multiple direct references to H.P. Lovecraft and half a touch of Harry Potter in certain places. It has very little depth (probably less than any of the movies and books I mentioned), and a lot of action -about half of which is pretty much pointless. The plot has a lot of the kind of cheesy bits you expect in those kind of movies.

Another major thing which makes me think of X-men is that although the characters are presented as mages or sorcerers, most of the time they seem a lot more like X-men-esque mutants with certain special power(s). And something about the way the characters, especially the bad guys, are described and the way they interact reminds me of Dick Tracy.

It seems like this story could've been a much better fit as a comic book and/or a movie or cartoon in which case I probably would never have read/watched it -and would not have suffered much loss for that.
Read more ›
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again


Topic From this Discussion
real date Be the first to reply
Have something you'd like to share about this product?
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions