12:00 Jazz Blackwell 0 Comments

If you're a child of the 00s and enjoy reading fantasy, chances are you’ve stumbled across the nine-part beauty that is Derek Landy’s Skulduggery Pleasant series at some point.

The series follows Stephanie Edgley (who later adopts the pseudonym Valkyrie Crane in order to protect herself), beginning immediately after the sudden death of her beloved author uncle who, strangely, leaves his mansion and the royalties for all his novels to his twelve-year-old niece. After a break in when she spends a night alone in her newly accquired house, Stephanie meets a strange detective who wears a wide-brimmed hat, drives a vintage Bentley and goes by the bizarre name of Skulduggery Pleasant. The pair team up, and together they go out to rid the world of villains.

What? Sounds like every other YA detective series in the world?

What if I told you that Skulduggery just happens to be a four-hundred-year-old skeleton mage who, aside from being the very definition of BAMF, can produce fireballs with a click of his fingers? Or that the villains the pair set out to defeat are not just sinister but positively supernatural in nature? Or that Stephanie is a descendant of the legendary Ancients and has the ability to manipulate the elements?

I actually discovered this series of books through a very close friend. Following her 11th birthday in 2008 (boy, does typing that make me feel old...), she kept on and on about this amazing book she’d been gifted, how it was the best thing she’d ever read, she couldn’t put it down, she hoped there would be a sequel. At this point, I was a militant Potterhead, to the point where my fantasy reading did not stray beyond the realm of Rowling. But, after weeks of nagging on my friend’s part, I finally caved and I picked up a copy of the book on my regular Sunday library trip.

All I can say is that I wish I had gone the second my friend recommended me to. The series is beautifully written – Landy has a style that is both sophisticated and very readable, even to slightly younger audiences. The writing - as well as the reader - matures with Stephanie (who is twelve in the first novel, twenty by the last) and the characters are infinitely loveable – especially the man himself, Skulduggery, who is a past master of the sassy quip.

If you like fantasy and/or detective novels, I seriously implore you to pick up these books, whether you're a young adult or a not-so-young one. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll gasp at every twist and turn, and you’ll find that this strange skeleton man and his strong female companion will have won themselves a very special place in your heart in no time.
Keep reading,
Jazz x

You Might Also Like