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4.7 out of 5 stars
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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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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on 20 November 2013
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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The first time I came across Skulduggery Pleasant I was pregnant and at a friends house searching for something to do while my other half and said friend watched football. I hadn't brought a book and the only one around that interested me had a picture of a skeleton on the front, naturally I was intrigued. However it wasn't until this year that I came across it again, in the form of Amanda raving about it. I decided to give it a go because of just how much she loved it, but at the same time I was a little put of because I was scared I wouldn't like the series that was so loved by one of my favourite bloggers. I am excited to say that though I may not have liked the first book as much as Amanda, I found myself hooked very early on.

This book is so wonderfully unique and is packed full of adventure, but for me the biggest focal point was the blossoming friendship between Skulduggery and Stephanie . The first time they meet is at the will reading of Stephanie's uncle Gordon. Skulduggery was a friend of uncle Gordon for a long time, helping him do research for some of his best selling fantasy books, and after meeting his niece he seems to connect instantly with her and even goes on to save her life. After an attack at her uncles house, Stephanie finds out that not only is everything her uncle wrote about based on something real, but her new found friend is a skeleton held together by magic. However before she can get used to everything, Skully heads out on a new adventure and case, one that like it or lump it he's got a new sidekick for.

As far as the characters go we have the very wity and smart Skulduggery. Through out the book he makes no secret that he's unhappy at first to have a apprentice. But he's fiercely loyal and protects the people close to him to no ends. Then we have Stephanie, a 12 year old girl that has her world flipped upside down and still manages to come away pretty damn level headed, and we cant forget the wonderful Tanith Low, she's a brilliant fighter with a warm side to her and in my opinion a very underrated and underestimated character.

While reading this book I found myself with a constant smile and a feeling of being content. It was just such a fun reading that was beyond funny with untold amount of sarcasm and deadpan humor, it really has everything you can ask for in a great book, from adventure to friendship. I've always been a big fan of series, and the more books the better. So where many would be put off by the number of books in the series, for me it's just something to look forward to. For such a great first book, I for one can't wait to continue with the story and given that there wasn't that much wrong with this one, I have very high hopes for the rest :).
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on 10 July 2009
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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on 19 June 2007
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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on 15 April 2007
I thought this book was a lot of fun. A plot that twists and turns and keeps the reader entertained. Characters are strong and the relationship between Stephanie and Skulduggery is especially well done. Dialogue is excellent, it crackles along, ensuring the pace never flags.

There are some downsides. At times the novel reads more like a screenplay and parts of the story seem almost rushed, with elements thrown in but not always properly developed.

I'm sure Skulduggery Pleasant will be a hit with older children and teens. The author deserves success as he has come up with an original and intriguing character. But, I can't shake the feeling that the publishers have rushed this book out with the intention of establishing Skulduggery before a Harry Potter shaped hole opens up in the children's book market.
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on 24 October 2007
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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on 3 May 2013
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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on 28 June 2012
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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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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