Title: Skulduggery Pleasant
Author: Derek Landy
Series: Skulduggery Pleasant #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Crime, Dark fantasy, Easy reading, Paranormal fantasy
Publisher: Harper Collins
5th sentence, 74th page: I don’t know.
Meet Skulduggery Pleasant. Sure, he may lose his head now and again (in fact, he won his current skull in a poker match), but he is much more than he appears to be—which is good, considering that he is, basically, a skeleton. Skulduggery may be long dead, but he is also a mage who dodged the grave so that he could save the world from an ancient evil. But to defeat it, he’ll need the help of a new partner: a not so innocent twelve-year-old girl named Stephanie. That’s right, they’re the heroes.
Stephanie and Skulduggery are quickly caught up in a battle to stop evil forces from acquiring her recently deceased uncle’s most prized possession—the Sceptre of the Ancients. The Ancients were the good guys, an extinct race of uber-magicians from the early days of the earth, and the scepter is their most dangerous weapon, one capable of killing anyone and destroying anything. Back in the day, they used it to banish the bad guys, the evil Faceless Ones. Unfortunately, in the way of bad guys everywhere, the Faceless Ones are staging a comeback and no one besides our two heroes believes in the Faceless Ones, or even that the Sceptre is real.
So Stephanie and Skulduggery set off to find the Sceptre, fend off the minions of the bad guys, beat down vampires and the undead, prove the existence of the Ancients and the Faceless Ones, all while trading snappy, snippy banter worthy of the best screwball comedies.
I haven’t read this book for years. Actually, it’s been in a box in a cupboard for a few years (the joys of moving around). So, the first thing that I did when I unpacked my many, many, many books, was crack open this story again. There is something fun and entertaining about this story that always leaves a smile on my face. Plus, there is an attitudinal, sassy thirteen-year-old girl who completely takes centre stage.
Following the death of Stephanie’s favourite uncle, and her subsequent inheritance, she is thrust into a world of magic and mayhem. Which, as any anarchic teen would, she completely adores and eventually decides to join. The fact that everything always seems to go wrong and her mentor is actually a living (but not quite breathing) skeleton just adds to the joy and absurdity of this story. Which is probably why, as a thirteen-year-old girl myself, I insanely enjoyed this series. A completely off-kilter mentor, a world just beneath our own where you can be something more, and a teenager who is making all of her own decisions.
Sometimes revisiting an old and well loved series just leads to heartache and a sense of loss – there’s nothing like finding out that it isn’t quite what you remember it to be. However, for me, rereading Skulduggery Pleasant was a really fun and memorable journey… now I just have to buy the next books in the series (I only had the one!)
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