Hell Breaks Loose by Derek Landy.

Hell Breaks Loose by Derek Landy. 

A Book Review by Kate O’Brien. 

*I would like to say thank you to HarperCollins Ireland for sending me a copy of this book on Publication Day, however I would also like to state that the following review is not a paid review, it is not an ad, it is not sponsored in any way. All opinions are my own. Thank you.* 

As always, my reviews do contain spoilers as I discuss the novel in full detail. Readers, you’ve been warned!

I am a fan of Landy’s writing & the Skulduggery Pleasant series so I was excited & intrigued to find out what a prequel would entail. I enjoyed this book a lot, however it is definitely not my new favourite. 

Hell Breaks Loose invites readers to step back in time as the novel is set in Italy in the 1700s. 

The idea of this book being a prequel strikes me as interesting because while reading it, I debated on whether or not I’d use this term. 

In so many ways, yes, it is a prequel because Landy fills the pages with characters we already know & love, but sets the novel in a time before they became the characters we know & love. Allowing readers to experience characters before they’ve developed is really interesting & clever because reading about them feels new & exciting, but the sense of familiarity we already have draws us in & makes us eager to turn the page. 

In other ways, I would argue that the novel read as more of a standalone, time travel adventure quest rather than a prequel & there were certain things that I do wish would have been explored in more detail. 

I enjoyed this novel a lot.  It was fun & once again I enjoyed Landy’s writing style. 

He is witty & he has a talent for writing sharp, quick, & fun dialogue. The personality of each character really shines through the pages. Landy is also an incredibly vivid writer. I really enjoyed the battle scenes & his descriptions of war are very stark & quite immersive. 

When it comes to YA literature, it is extremely important that readers feel like they can enter into the world of the characters, this way readers feel even more connected to, & invested in the story. 

Landy’s lively, detailed descriptions invite readers to embrace pure escapism & step into the world of Skulduggery Pleasant. 

I thought the decision to write the novel from Ghastly’s point-of-view was a really interesting & smart choice from Landy. Ghastly is a great character and this is a perspective that hasn’t been explored too much in the past so when I opened the book to see Ghastly’s point-of-view, I was pleasantly surprised & intrigued. 

The tone shifts when Valkyrie Cain enters the story. Personally I think that Valkyrie’s impact changed the pacing & I will be honest & say that — SPOILERS AHEAD — time travel narratives are not my favourite. I find that time travel narratives, particularly when they are used in prequels can be slightly underwhelming because the story arcs are already set in the original stories, so the impacts of time travel etc. don’t effect the plot that readers already know & this makes the stakes of the narrative at hand slightly underwhelming. 

I think that keeping with the tone from the first page would have been extremely interesting. Focusing more on the Dead Men & how they operated in the 1700’s setting would have been amazing & incredibly interesting. I would have liked to see that dynamic play out for the entirety of the book & Valkyrie’s time travel adventures could have been a fun, exciting short story. 

However overall, this novel was a fun read. It was a relatively easy read. 

If you are a fan of Derek Landy & the Skulduggery Pleasant series then you’ll most likely fly through this book in a day or two. 

Derek Landy’s Hell Breaks Loose was a fun, immersive read that entailed lots of twists & turns. The book featured characters we know & love & brought them to life in a new way in a new setting. Personally I felt that at times it read like two different stories going on at once, & I am still unsure if I would concretely class it as a prequel, however that is a personal opinion & other readers may love the time travel aspects of the plot. That’s the joy of reading. We can all read the same book, but experience it in different ways. I’m still a Derek Landy fan, I always will be & while Hell Breaks Loose is not my new absolute favourite book in the series, I would still recommend it. 

I hope there’s more of this world to come & I would love, love, love to get an entirely immersive book that is entirely focused on the Dead Men. 

Are you a fan of Derek Landy & Skulduggery Pleasant? 

Happy Reading. 

Follow me on Instagram if don’t already for the latest updates about all that is to come on Katelovesliterature.com


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s