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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly Exciting. A Real Page Turner
My eight year old daughter chose this as the book she wanted to take on holiday with us for bed time reading. Her teacher is reading it to her class at school and she wanted to know what happened while she was away. I have to say I was dubious to start with, but was as hooked as she was after a couple of chapters.

It's a very well written, incredibly fast...
Published on 24 April 2008 by Mrs. K. A. Wheatley

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun to read, but that's about it
I've heard so much about these books that I was decidedly nervous when it came to actually reading them. The promises had been huge. Far too huge in fact. As things are, 'Skulduggery Pleasant' was good fun to read. The characters were engaging and I enjoyed their rather flippant conversation and shenanigans. The actual world building all felt very familiar, essentially...
Published 19 months ago by J. Gardner


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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly Exciting. A Real Page Turner, 24 April 2008
By 
Mrs. K. A. Wheatley "katywheatley" (Leicester, UK) - See all my reviews
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My eight year old daughter chose this as the book she wanted to take on holiday with us for bed time reading. Her teacher is reading it to her class at school and she wanted to know what happened while she was away. I have to say I was dubious to start with, but was as hooked as she was after a couple of chapters.

It's a very well written, incredibly fast paced roller coaster of a book with action on almost every page. You really want to get through it as fast as possible because you just have to know what happens next.

It concerns a twelve year old girl, Stephanie Edgely, who is left a fortune by her crime writing uncle in his will. At the will reading she meets Skulduggery Pleasant, who turns out to be a detective who is also a skeleton with supernatural powers. Stephanie is drawn inexorably into Skulduggery's dangerous world and comes face to face with a truly evil villain, Nefarious Serpine, whose mission is of course to end the world as we know it. Skulduggery and Stephanie team up to try and stop him.

Despite the focus being on action the plot is tight and the characters are well drawn. It clearly isn't just a gratuitious slug fest, and there are some highly comical moments amongst what are some very dark moments.

I would say that I think this may be slightly too dark for the average eight year old, and I'm glad I read it with my daughter. I'd be happier recommending it to tens and ups. Having said that she can't wait to read the sequel, and it's almost a dead cert she'll get it for her upcoming birthday, because neither can I!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Exciting and unusual, 16 Jun 2010
By 
A. L. Rutter "Floor to Ceiling Books" (Portsmouth, UK) - See all my reviews
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Skulduggery Pleasant is the debut novel by Derek Landy, and on this evidence I believe he should have many successful books ahead of him. He tells the tale of a wise-cracking skeleton detective, who befriends a young girl called Stephenie Edgley when her uncle is murdered. They are from then drawn into a world of magic and mystery and uncover a plot by the leading dark wizard to bring back old Gods and murder all those without magic.

The plot moves at breakneck speed, with sparkling dialogue between Skulduggery and Stephenie. It is easy to follow and twists many cliches in the pursuit of entertainment. The skeletal detective at the heart of the novel is by far the best part of it all - never less than interesting, witty and good-humoured. I would greatly enjoy reading more adventures involving him.

Stephenie is resourceful, brave and cool-headed - a fine role model for girls who pick up this book. In fact, the strength of these two characters cause the others to fall into their shadow and the secondary characters are never truly fleshed out to the point where you would care about them.

I also have complaints about the bad guy who, despite my earlier words, is terribly cliched. He is paper-thin in terms of characterisation, never really gives reason for his motives, and is used more for comedy effect than tense moments.

It is easy to see that Landy has a background in martial arts because his fight scenes are effective and efficiently-written, showing us clearly how they would play out.

Lastly, I would comment that the system of magic, while unoriginal, shows signs of being used to a greater extent in novels to follow.

Altogether this is a blast of a debut novel, setting the scene in an exciting manner for more tales of Skulduggery Pleasant.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this book!, 20 Nov 2013
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I was recommended this book my a friend of mine and she lent it to me to read, two days later I returned it too her and begged for the second in the series! When it's not action packed it's witty and genius, hard to put down and a real page turner. So now I find myself buying all the books for my own collection, I love them so much.

This may be for teenagers aged 11-15 but I stared reading the series at aged 17 and still found them brilliant and now at 20 I still have to have the newest book on preorder and read it in under a week. Derek Landy sure knows how to write well.

This book is perfect for boys, girls, of many ages, all that is needed is a love of adventure, mystery, and magic!

This comes well recommended from me and my friends!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars BelleBooks, 6 Jan 2012
This is another book series that I had bought the first book and had it sitting on my shelf for a while.
I wasn't entirely too sure what to expect from this book as I know it is aimed at a younger audience but I had heard only good things about it.

When I found out that Derek Landy was doing a book signing for the newest (6th) book in this series I decided I wanted to go, that meant reading at least one book from the Skulduggery series before it!

Skulduggery Pleasant follows twelve year old Stephanie, her uncle has just passed away and he has left her his house in his will!
After a few mishaps, some heavy rain and her mother's car breaking down later Stephanie ends up spending the night alone at what used to be her uncle's house.
During the night, someone breaks in and tries to kill her! Then her uncle's strange friend Skulduggery Pleasant comes barging in to save her from the attacker.

It turns out Skulduggery is a skeleton detective and Stephanie's uncle may have been murdered for a magical sceptre he was hiding.

I did really enjoy this book, it was a nice taster into Stephanie and Skulduggery's world.
I did think that Stephanie seems to be a lot older that twelve however, maybe she is just smart and witty for her age though, but it did have to keep reminding myself this girl was only twelve!

I really loved the fact that this was a UK based book.
I do have trouble sometimes with US authors when they are describing places or talking about high school. I'll admit, I don't understand how the American school system works at all. How can you only have 3 years of high school when we have 6??
Anyway, I felt relieved in a way to hear Stephanie talking about secondary school, and see the characters visiting Dublin. I've actually been to Dublin a few times, so I could imagine the scenes in my perfectly when I was reading this book. It was also great to read a book written by a UK author as well, I was more comfortable with the language used in it.

Even though this is a book aimed at younger readers. I loved it!
There was so much action and mystery involved in the plot and some of the things that Skulduggery comes away with actually made me laugh out loud.
I love the banter between Skulduggery and Stephanie!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun to read, but that's about it, 3 May 2013
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I've heard so much about these books that I was decidedly nervous when it came to actually reading them. The promises had been huge. Far too huge in fact. As things are, 'Skulduggery Pleasant' was good fun to read. The characters were engaging and I enjoyed their rather flippant conversation and shenanigans. The actual world building all felt very familiar, essentially being standard children's/YA fantasy fare - i.e. our own dull world underpinned with a load of super-cool, magic-wielding, kick-ass individuals no one ever knew existed until kid-X runs into them and joins their ranks. The main issue I had with the story was the lack of plot given the number of pages. The first Harry Potter for instance actually has a great deal going on all the time. Things happen because those things advance the plot. And they all happen at a great pace, with fun and relative originality. S.P. however has surprisingly little actually happening, and what does happen is so predictable that it might as well not have happened. It's Super-Evil-Bad-Guy-Threatens-to-Destroy-the-World. And, yeah, the goodies beat him. Landy also has a wearisome fetish for frequent and unnecessary fight scenes which weren't very well written, all interspersed with one-liners and slightly quirky dialogue. It was readable. But unremarkable. I won't be investing further into the series.
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32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A positive role model if ever there was one... dead or alive!, 19 Jun 2007
By 
Ms. D. Samwell "Little Miss Muffet" (Northampton, England) - See all my reviews
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Since childhood I've always enjoyed a good read that enlivens the imagination and makes me smile. I was after a new read, something along the dark and twisted road with a morbid sense of humour; who would have thought it would be found in a "childrens" book?

I read reviews on Amazon about this book and was pleasantly surprised by the number of "adults" who too like to venture into their deepest imagination, and who better to do it with than Skulduggery? It was the number of warm and encouraging reviews that pursueded me to buy this adventure.

I loved every word of it. The characters and plot are well developed and rounded with interesting and strangely believable backstories. Derek Landy has touched on the single most important point that leads to the spectacular success of this book, we all want to believe in magic and so we are compelled to agree with Stephanie in her pursuit of her uncle's mysterious death. She encounters trouble and problems in everyway imaginable, both in her old normal life and in her new mysterious, magical and dangerous one.

I for one can't wait until my newly pre-ordered copy of Skulduggery Pleasant: 2 drops through my letterbox! Bravo!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars for a blissfully peaceful half-term!, 24 Oct 2007
By 
J. E. White "Lucy's mum" (East Yorkshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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I bought this for my eleven year old daughter on Monday and haven't heard a squeak out of her since! Its now Wednesday afternoon and I fear she has lost the power of speech. Seriously though, Lucy thinks this is fantastic, she's almost finished it which means it must have been blooming good as she has been known to abandon books half way through if they're not very gripping. Now she's just got to wait till April for the next one.
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79 of 92 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Warning before you buy, 10 July 2009
By 
J. Harvey (UK) - See all my reviews
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Important to note that Scepter of the Ancients is a re-print of the original Skullduggery Pleasant book - just re-titled ( we accidentally bought both - fell for the same trick when Northern Lights became the Golden compass, and when Sorcerers Apprentice was retitled Magicians Apprentice...all very annoying, I wish Amazon would make it clearer)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Story for Older Children and Young Adults, 28 Jun 2012
By 
Sir Furboy (Aberystwyth, UK) - See all my reviews
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This was a fun story of a detective who is in fact an animated Skeleton, and an 11 year old girl who becomes his associate. It is a story of magic and ancient artefacts as well as murder and other dastardly deeds. Perfect for approximately 11 year olds, and perhaps reminiscent of Anthony Horowitz. Nevertheless it is neither deep nor fantastically original. A good fun read though.

From what I understand from others, the books get darker and darker. A friend of mine also wasn't that thrilled with the book, but was impressed by the enthusiastic fans that turned up to meet Landy. They knew every detail of these books! Landy was apparently quite funny, described as "like a failing standup comedian". On the evidence I think this is probably a great book for its intended age group but one of those that does not cross to the adult reader so well.

Recommended for younger readers.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Skeleton, detective, joker - all round good guy, 5 Jun 2007
By 
Brida "izumi" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This is a brilliant book. Having just finished it, I am almost sorry it had to come to an end. Girls, don't be put off by the cover, this book can easily be enjoyed by you too. It is also perfect for younger readers and those who can't really say that we are 'young adults' anymore! I am in my late twenties, and I enjoyed it immensely.

The story follows Stephanie, a 12 year old, whose uncle passes away. From his funeral, Stephanie spots a stranger - someone who wears a long coat, a ha, a scarf wrapped around his face, and a pair of sunglasses. Then, at the reading of her uncle's will, Stephanie sees this stranger again. It becomes apparent that he had something to do with her uncle. As time passes, Stephanie learns more about her uncle, and the world around her, than she ever expected - it seems that all along, magic was never far away from Stephanie, if onyl she had known how to look into the right places.

The stranger in the coat, hat and scarf, is Sklduggery Pleasant. Now a detective by trade, he is one of the most original characters in children's literature around. For, Skulduggery is dead - a skeleton, to be precise. It is when Stephanie realises just how different Skulduggery is that she begins to become involved in another world and she realises that her uncle was hiding more secrets than she ever could have imagined. For the new world she is thrown into is one where vampires, Hollow Men and secret wars threaten the safety of us all.

What I loved about this book is the originality - although there are vampires, for example, they are very unlike the ones you usually find within the pages of books.

Landy has done a great job at characterisation aswell - both Stephanie and Skulduggery are well rounded characters, with the potential to develop them further if there are any sequels (which surely there will be).

What I also liked was the underlying humour to the book. There were times when I laughed out loud; this is a great achievement, as it helps to lighten the mood sometimes for younger readers (the older ones can appreciate it oo).

All in all, this is a fantastic book. I am sure it will be the beginning of a new phenomenon in the literature world. Recommended, to young, old and both sexes.
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