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Saturday, 15 October 2011

***Review*** Skulduggery Pleasant (Skulduggery Pleasant #1) by Derek Landy

On the Back of the Book

Meet Skulduggery Pleasant: detective, magician, warrior. Oh yes, and dead.

[Now, I think we all agree that that is the worst blurb in history so I'm going to use the Goodreads description.]

Goodreads Description

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.

Stephanie and Skulduggery are quickly caught up in a battle to stop evil forces from acquiring her recently deceased uncle's most prized possession—the Sceptre 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 Sceptre is real.

So Stephanie and Skulduggery set off to find the Sceptre, 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.

[Much better. Now we can get down to reviewing.]

Pre Read Thoughts

I stole this book from my brother because he said that he thought I'd like it. By "stole" I mean "borrowed" by the way. I bumped it up to the top of my TBR for a favourites challenge that I'm taking part in on Goodreads. As I stole borrowed this off my brother I didn't pay anything for it, however I believe he paid £6.99 at WHSmith, it may have been part of an offer but I don't know. I love the front cover and the back cover for that matter. They're really eye catching and well drawn. The colours are bright and draw you to the book and the font is amazing. The synopsis, as we have already established, is a bit rubbish. Okay, it's more than a bit rubbish but I'm hoping that the book is much better.

Post Read Thoughts

I really enjoyed this. It appealed to me on so many levels. It was a simple read that was a nice change to Pride & Prejudice, which I'm also reading. The humour was right up my street, especially Skulduggery's. I spent a lot of time sniggering at him. The opening paragraph had me hooked. I felt like I was put straight into an interesting scene and that made me stick with the book. The writing in general was really good. It had a good pace and wasn't written just for kids (in my opinion. I found it thoroughly entertaining and I'm 20). The plot was a little obvious for me in places. I guess that this is because this is aimed at kids and they wouldn't think the way I did. I didn't let that bother me though and it's pretty much my only complaint. Sometimes I feel that a book is too long or too short but I thought this was the perfect length. It didn't feel like there was too much filler or not enough action.

This is normally where I tell you all about the characters but "my" copy of Skulduggery Pleasant contains a short story called "The Lost Art of World Domination" and I think it deserves a short review. I thought it was hilarious, I don't mean I had a little chuckle. I mean I was in stitches, I didn't know it was possible to laugh that much over a story. It was everything a short story should be and more. It only took me about 10 minutes to read it but boy was it worth it. I think I enjoyed it way more than I did the main story.

The narrator for this story is 12-year-old Stephanie Edgely and I confess: I liked her. She had more guts than a lot of other main characters I've read this year. She was extremely likeable and I found her reactions to things to be very realistic. I do think that she could have been more involved in the action sometimes but I get why she wasn't. The other main character is Skulduggery Pleasant. He takes Stephanie on as a sort of apprentice/partner. I loved everything about him, words actually can't describe what I loved about him and why. He had me laughing my head off many times with his antics and speeches.

Overall this is a light, fun, quick read that should entertain boys and girls. I found it captured my attention quickly and didn't get boring half way through the story as some books do. I definitely recommend this for kids and teens, it's a different way of looking at a mystery novel and the inclusion of magic means that it'll probably hit the mark with people who like magical novels. It's a great way to waste a few hours when there's nothing on the TV or just because you want to.

My Rating

This rating has three parts to it because of the short story. I wanted to evaluate them separately and then round together for an overall rating.

Main story: 3 stars - Enjoyable but nothing special. It could have been better.

Short story: 5 stars - Awesomeness. I love it, I may steal the book to read it again and again. The amazingness of this may be why the book seems to be lacking something in comparison.

Overall rating: 4 stars - You do the maths as to how the overall rating is 4. It's definitely worth reading this story if you want something a little different. I'm going to read the rest of the series now because I liked this one so much.

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