2014 EVENTS:
Holly Bourne, Non Pratt and James Dawson - 30th October
Becca Fitzpatrick - 15th November

Sunday, 19 October 2014

REVIEW: Skulduggary Pleasant - Derek Landy

Sunday, 19 October 2014
GENRE: Childrens 9-12
PAGES: 398
PUBLISHER: HarperCollins
BUY IT: Waterstones
RATING: 5 Stars

Meet the great Skulduggery Pleasant: wise-cracking detective, powerful magician, master of dirty tricks and burglary (in the name of the greater good, of course). Oh yeah. And dead. Then there's his sidekick, Stephanie. She's...well, she's a twelve-year-old girl. With a pair like this on the case, evil had better watch out.. Stephanie's uncle Gordon is a writer of horror fiction. But when he dies and leaves her his estate, Stephanie learns that while he may have written horror, it certainly wasn't fiction. Pursued by evil forces intent on recovering a mysterious key, Stephanie finds help from an unusual source - the wisecracking skeleton of a dead wizard. When all hell breaks loose, it's lucky for Skulduggery that he's already dead. Though he's about to discover that being a skeleton doesn't stop you from being tortured, if the torturer is determined enough. And if there's anything Skulduggery hates, it's torture...Will evil win the day? Will Stephanie and Skulduggery stop bickering long enough to stop it? One thing's for sure: evil won't know what's hit it.

Skulduggery Pleasant is the coolest, smoothest, most awesomest (and probably the deadest) Detective around and you may not know he exists, but he saves you from some of the evilest supernatural people and creatures around on a daily basis. And it's not easy, no. In fact it's most dangerous. 

Made-up words aside, I am thoroughly in love with this series already - don't let anyone tell you that 'grown-ups' can't enjoy reading books for younger kids. It just proves that done well books can be accessible to anyone. It has an incredibly spot-on humour: kind of dark in places and completely sarcastic. Its straight up my street. I don't know what took me so long to actually get round to reading it but now I'm completely hooked.

Stephanie, our main heroine and guide, is a great character. She is down to Earth, tough and really funny. She has a fantastically dry sense of humour and finds a great, loyal friend in Skulduggery who shows her the world that her beloved late Uncle had inhabited. And more importantly he sweeps her away from her humdrum ordinary life. I love Skulduggery for that ironic reason of how 'fleshed out' he is. He is so set in his ways, like his love of his Bently and his noir-style crime fighting dectection. He's a brilliant father figure and semi-moral compass for Stephanie. He also has a really interesting, if not grim, backstory that is eeked out in this book:
“I woke up, a bag of bones. Literally. They had gathered up my bones and put them in a bag and thrown the bag into a river.”
Even through his humour you can sense a darker side, the feeling that there is so much more to him that will be both uncovered and developed in the following books. Having said this you could quite easily read this on its own and be satisfied. In fact I dare you, because it's virtually impossible to read this and not want to run out for the next.

In fact every character is a burst of colour and fun. It's accessible and there is something for everyone. Girls will love the role model that Stephanie is and boys will love how cool Skulduggery is. An lets face it, everyone loves a bit of action. This should be a staple read in anyone's library.

Each book in the series is a quest in itself. Its almost formulaic: introduces a baddy, world is in jeopardy, massive battle scene and world is temporarily saved. I like that I know what to expect and I have to admit that I don't read these for the action - it's wholly for the banter. I find it hilarious. I really want to show you a few examples of my favourite quotes, it doesn't matter how good a review I write I know these will convince you how awesome this series it.
This is one used on the back of the book:
"So you won't keep anything from me again?"
He put his hand to his chest. "Cross my heart and hope to die."
"Okay then. Though you don't actually have a heart," she said.
"I know."
"And technically, you've already died."
"I know that too."
"Just so we're clear."
Another of my favourites:
"If there is one regret that I have had in my life, it is that I never fathered any children. There are times, when I look at what Fergus and Beryl have produced, when I consider myself fortunate, but there are also times when it breaks my heart.”
This illustrates so well that it is not just one of the funniest things I have ever read, but it has emotion. Yes this book has been around for quite some time now, but you don't even need to be afraid of spoilers because there's so much more to get your teeth in to. This is writing you'd be happy to read in adult literature.

- Bex.

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