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.
and Skulduggery are quickly caught up in a battle to stop evil forces
from acquiring her recently deceased uncle's most prized possession—the Scepter 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 Scepter
So Stephanie and
Skulduggery set off to find the Scepter, 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.
Thoughts: I don't normally read stuff featuring skeletons, zombies, werewolves, i only make exceptions on witches for the Harry Potter or normal fantasy type...basically anything that's normally applied to Halloween (I'm a big chicken plus I don't celebrate the holiday). So, I was a little surprised when this caught my attention. But all the other aspects intrigued me. Set in Ireland (home of my ancestors and Artemis Fowl). A fantasy/detective/mystery plot. A twelve-year old girl sidekick. There was too much going for it. And then I found it at the library and couldn't resist. It took me less than three days to finish it and I set it aside starry eyed...which was probably due to the tears of laughter filling my yes.
While it's no Artemis Fowl, Skulduggery Pleasant was a book I'm glad I didn't skip out on. It was action packed. No, I'm serious. It was packed. I was comparing this first book to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It was a lot to take in. Even so it was handled really well and has me fascinated with how the series was going to continue. Where could it possibly go next that could compare? Needless to say, the plot was great.
The characters...were good. When it came to happiness, humor, wit, desperation, cunning, bravery or fear; they were perfect. But they seemed to feel little empathy/sorrow or concern for the events around them. I mean, i don't expect much of a reaction to villain's deaths from the adults in the book but Stephanie is a twelve-year old girl who was, until all this began, a normal girl. I felt that she lacked any sort of shock, surprise or...well any emotion to the sudden and chaotic deaths that she was faced with. She just sort of shrugged her shoulders and moved on. I'm hoping this aspect gets developed a little better in the later books but, all in all, it wasn't a big deal and I still really loved the cast (even Stephanie).
The writing was fun. It kept my interest the entire time while remaining a quick and easy read (did i mention it took me less than three days to finish?) so I was pretty impressed. Landy Doesn't feel the need to insert himself into the story and so let it all unfold through the eyes of his characters which was very well done. As this is a bit of a mystery, he includes clever clues for the cast to find and explain while always ensuring with extra tidbits that the reader is never lost.
Content: Despite being a kids novel there is some language (D***, H***, along those lines). This is a book written in Ireland for Ireland where these words aren't seen as any worse than Stupid or Blast are in America. So it's a cultural difference. There's lots of violence and even, yes, death but it's never gory. Plenty of magic and there is a walking, talking, Skeleton; plus some vampires and not the Twilight kind.
All in all though it was a clean and exciting read!