Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy: Suddenly I feel like a teenager again….

Hello all!!

So to kick off my intro to WordPress I thought I’d put my post up here! This is going to be a continual thing, you realise. Post here, post on Blogger. Sweet!

First of all I’m just going to say that THIS IS MY NEW FAVOURITE SERIES! This is one book I can absolutely NOT be calm about it’s so good! Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy was recommended to me by a good friend of mine- when I say recommended, I mean she bought me the first one in the series as an early (and AMAZING) Christmas present. Admittedly, I’d had my eye on the series for a while but never really got around to reading it… until now. Three days ago, actually. I haven’t read a book this fast since reading Matthew Reilly’s Hovercar Racer.

Anyway, I bet you’re waiting to hear what its all about, right?

Essentially, Skulduggery Pleasant is the tale of a detective for the magical underworld, who is a walking, talking, in fact as far as he’s concerned LIVING, skeleton. He used to be wholly human, but thanks to an ages-old war between his side and the Elders, and Mevolent the sorcerer, he became the sarcastic, witty, well-dressed and powerful skeleton-man that he is in the present novel.

It begins on the premise that a 12 year old girl, Stephanie, has just lost her uncle Gregory to what everyone presumes is a heart attack. After the funeral, Stephanie is requested to attend the reading of Gregory’s will and much to everyone’s surprise (including Skulduggery’s, who happens to be there as a close friend of Gordon’s) she receives all of his property and possessions, his assets and also royalties (Gordon published a number of books) and some words of advice:

The world is bigger than you know and scarier than you might imagine. The only currency worth anything is being true to yourself, and the only goal worth seeking is finding out who you truly are. Make your parents proud, and make them glad to have you living under their roof…

Stephanie doesn’t at first realise the gravity of Gordon’s remarks, but she soon finds out. The next night, she finds herself alone inside Gordon’s old house, now hers, because of a broken down car and road flooding. Her mother left with the tow truck driver. Stephanie is to spend the night in the house, but just as she is starting to feel comfortable she finds herself thrust into the centre of a strange and bizarre world involving a key and a man who is hellbent on killing her. Just as she is convinced that she is about to die at the man’s hands, the door is slammed open and in bursts Skulduggery, racing to Stephanie’s rescue with fire in his palms.

Over the course of the next 370 pages, Skulduggery and Stephanie become partners-in-crimestopping and Stephanie begins to learn that the world she thought was real was only the tip of the iceberg. Stephanie also goes on a journey of self-discovery, and finds that not only is she gifted with the ability to do magic but also has heritage going waaay back to the Ancients, the oldest sorcerers in the books. She’s a kick-ass kid with a mission to avenge her uncle, who she realises was murdered by an evil sorcerer, Serpine, who now leads one side of an ages-old battle that Skulduggery happens to be on the good side of. Stephanie is pitched headfirst into this battle, and finds that she is an integral part of the winning strategy despite everyone else’s disbelief that she holds any credence in the magical world.

But enough spoilers!

If I had to say that Skulduggery Pleasant had a moral to its tale, it would be that staying true to yourself and your ideals rather than listening to the stereotypes of the masses is the better course. However, that said, in it also are Stephanie’s parents, who urge her that although she should be willing to explore herself and her future, she shouldn’t go too far. They are the voices of reason throughout the novel.

Overall, Landy has written a novel (and series) that has a great ability to entertain, and to keep the reader hooked through every twist and turn and every fireball and battle between good and evil. He has created a cast of very believable characters, and Stephanie herself shows the world that although she might be young, sometimes there is much to be learnt from young people.

However, that said, as an adult reader I did find that the plot was a little too thin for my liking. It was gripping, it was very full-on (a rollercoaster, one might say), and I felt as if I too had been pulled into Stephanie and Skulduggery’s world. But it could have done with a little more detail around Stephanie, her past, and perhaps some more flashbacks to when the war was just beginning.

But, like they say, there’s more where that came from. So I’ll wait and see what happens next when I can get the rest of the series, which I can’t wait for!!!

Never stop reading!!



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