Sunday, December 30, 2012

Book Review: Skulduggery Pleasant

Meet Skulduggery Pleasant

Ace Detective
Snappy Dresser
Razor-tongued Wit
Crackerjack Sorcerer
Walking, Talking,
Fire-throwing Skeleton

--as well as ally, protector, and mentor of Stephanie Edgley, a very unusual and darkly talented twelve-year-old.

These two alone must defeat an all-consuming ancient evil.

The end of the world?

Over his dead body.

I scored a set of Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy at a used book store a few years ago. As so many books do, they sat on my shelf, unread. I finally read the first book and quite enjoyed it. I often find myself having difficulty getting into Middle Grade books. I have trouble relating to the characters. I'm thirty, so I'm old enough to be a mother of these 10-12 year old kids. It's a paranormal, action adventure. So every time poor Stephanie gets within sight of danger, I'm going "Why isn't her mother with her?" or "Go home where it's safe!" And that wouldn't be an exciting story.

I think it's the age difference that causes the difficulty relating to these kids, and that causes the difficulty with getting into the book. But once the story picks up, I stop having these troubles.

Stephanie meets Skulduggery Pleasant, an acquaintance of her late uncle, shortly after his death. Skulduggery is a walking, talking skeleton. Yep, that's him on the covers. He's also a sorcerer, capable of great magic. He's also quite funny, with a rather dry sense of humor. While he wants to keep Stephanie out of harm's way, danger comes knocking and two are thrust into a non-stop adventure.

Once I got into this book, it didn't want me to put it down. I rarely find myself laughing out loud as much as I did while reading this. I enjoyed both Skulduggery and Stephanie's characters and relationship. Stephanie's parents are rather remover, and Skulduggery makes a good mentor for her. Stephanie grows up a lot, being put in dangerous situations and having to make adult choices. And I can't wait to see where she goes next.

If you're in the mood for something light-hearted and fun, I definitely suggest this series. One thing that draws me to middle grade fiction is that even when danger is surrounding our beloved characters, it doesn't have such a dark and heavy feel as most YA and adult books. And while I like the darkness that is found in such books, it's really nice to break it up with a few middle grades.

Unfortunately, if you're in the US, only the first three books are available. Book seven was published this year, but as the author is from Ireland, these books have not made it over here... yet.


Beverly said...

I just had to comment when I saw your review. I loved this book! I too got it for a good deal and it sat for quite awhile. Once I opened it - I was hooked. I have given it to sooooo many students now. His humor is wonderful as is the story. Nice to find another fan of Skulduggery Pleasant. Happy reading.

Sandy said...

Yay ^_^. So happy you enjoyed it. I don't understand why only the first 3 books are available in US so far since that's a 4 book difference from the rest of the world. I guess there isn't a lot of demand for it in the US? :/

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