Typically, I try to post a younger book review on Mondays, but I just read that one of my favorite books was voted Irish Book of the Decade!
Recommended for grades 4 to 8
From a walking, talking skeleton to vampires and the undead, magic--mind you, extremely powerful ancient magic--abounds in Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy. The plot of the story revolves around an adolescent girl named Stephanie, who has just inherited her uncle’s estate and another unlikely treasure (or curse, depending on how you look at it).
The other main character is Skulduggery Pleasant, a frank speaking, and did I mention suavely dressed, ace detective, who just happens to be a skeleton. Skulduggery’s connection to Stephanie is through her deceased uncle. Skulduggery ends up becoming Stephanie’s mentor to the magical world of elementals and adepts, where her uncle’s death has set off a chain reaction leading to the breaking of a treaty between good and evil to attain the scepter--a supposed mythological artifact that will give whoever possesses it ultimate power.
Stephanie and Skulduggery set out on a thrilling and magical adventure to discover where the scepter is located, how to stop Serpine--the evil antagonist--from getting his hands on it, and just what lengths one will go to save a friend.
I loved the story and characters in this book so much, that half way through listening to the audio (you would be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t listen to this on audio; Rupert Degas reads the novel with great zest, sarcastic (sometimes dark) humor, and a gotta love Irish accent), I realized I wanted to read the story again; it was just that intriguing and funny.
The main character, Stephanie, is brilliant and humorous. I laughed out loud at her quirky, yet sometimes deadpan comments. Stephanie has supernatural powers of her own that develop through the series, but her true powers lie in her intelligence, strength in will and determination.
I’m always trying to think of what novel I hold up to par with Harry Potter and this would be the one. I really loved Skulduggery Pleasant and highly recommend this book to anyone who loves fantasy, mystery, and strong female protagonists.
*This is the first in the series and is now renamed Scepter Of The Ancients.