Review: Skulduggery Pleasant | Derek Landy

This review is spoiler free.

“There’s no such thing as winning or losing. There is won and there is lost, there is victory and defeat. There are absolutes. Everything in between is still left to fight for.”

Series: Skulduggery Pleasant
Published: 2017, by Harper Collins Children’s Books.
Pages: 360
Format: Paperback
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult, Mystery, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Magic, Adventure, Middle Grade, Paranormal
Contains: Violence, Anger, Blood/Gore, Mutilation, Torture

‘Skulduggery Pleasant’ tells the story of a man with the same name. 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 he is a skeleton. Skulduggery may be 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 twelve-year-old girl named Stephanie.

Skulduggery Pleasant was a huge part of my childhood, growing up around the series containing mages, magic and a hell of a lot of wit and humour. I adored this series as a kid, so I thought I’d return to the tale I loved so much as an adult. And I’m so glad that I did.

Skulduggery makes for a brilliant protagonist. Not only is he intelligent, funny, and excessively cool, he’s also a pretty great hero of the story. You can see why so many people trust him, why they’re inspired by him, and why Stephanie wants to be just like him. You can’t help but feel that way about him yourself, essentially finding yourself idolising a walking skeleton.
Stephanie makes for another great character, as there is a lot of childish curiosity through her eyes. It’s relatable, wanting to discover as much about the world as possible and doing so through her narrative.
Tanith, however, is quite possibly the strongest female character of them all, being a sword-wielding warrior who doesn’t seem to know when to quit. She’s ferocious, and a great character for young readers to look up to.

Derek Landy’s writing style is full of humour and wit when you least expect it, making for a brilliantly quick read. There’s no slowing down with this novel, continuing to raise the stakes even when the story is reaching its end, leaving you dying to pick up the next book.

Overall, I adored this novel just as much as I did as a child, and I already have the second instalment lined up ready.


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