Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy

Stephanie’s uncle Gordon is dead. His family gather around for the will, joined by a strange man in a flash suit with his face wrapped up in a scarf and sunglasses on indoors. Knowing Gordon as they do, they assume this is one of his odd friends, which he is, very odd. Stephanie, who has always been Gordon’s favourite in the family, inherits his house, including contents. Little does she know, she’s inherited a whole lot more than that, she inherited his odd friends and strange ideas as well.

Gordon plunges his niece into a world filled with magic, demons, sorcerers and talking detective skeletons included. She takes to it like a duck to water and promptly finds herself on a roller coaster ride with real, live skeleton detective Skulduggary Pleasant as they try to beat their evil adversaries to one of the most destructive weapons ever made. Along the way, she finds out more about herself than she ever thought she could, even the sarcastic, talking skeleton is impressed. Explosions, murder, car chases, general mayhem ensue and ensure that the reader never gets bored.

I’m not really even sure how I found this book. It may have been from a blog or from an Amazon recommendation. However I found it, I enjoy a good children’s story now and again so I thought, what the heck, and bought it. It didn’t disappoint. Granted, if you’re an adult, this book isn’t going to challenge you (except if it’s to think like a kid for a change), but if you’re a kid, it will in more ways than one. Aside from being a great, original story, it’s got a good range of vocabulary and some interesting ideas in it. Skulduggery’s humour is also some of the driest I’ve ever come across, which is perhaps why I liked it so much. All the characters are strong, but I appreciate that there’s a good, strong female at the head of things. Not that I’m knocking books like Harry Potter where the protagonist is male, but it’s always good for girls to get their turn as well.

Rated as the children’s book it is (9 and above according to the Amazon categorization): 5 out of 5.

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