“Skulduggery Pleasant” – Perhaps the World is Filled With Magic if a Skeleton Becomes Your Friend

Book Review : Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy

Spoiler Alert!

Stephanie Edgley’s Uncle Gordon has died, and while at the funeral she sees an unusual man. He wears a hat, sunglasses and a scarf covering his entire face.

At the reading of the will, Uncle Fergus and Aunt Beryl unscrupulously hope for a fortune, while Stephanie and her parents truly mourn. Gordon’s good friend, Skulduggery Pleasant, receives sage advice.

Stephanie quickly discovers that the world she has always known is but a mere sliver of the truth. She is surprised to find that Skulduggery Pleasant is actually a living skeleton with magical powers, drives a Bentley (when it’s not in the shop), wears a pinstripe suit and he happens to save her from being murdered. Stephanie is an astute 12 year old and insists on accompanying Skulduggery as he searches for the people responsible for Gordon’s death, who would happily kill her too, who want to destroy the world and litter.

Adult Point of View

Skulduggery Pleasant is a very weird book and will definitely appeal to kids. I would recommend it for kids 11 years old and older because of the violence. As an example, in a fight to the death scene one of the characters has a scythe that goes through her back and protrudes through her chest, miraculously she survives. There are also a few incidents which include cursing, which I don’t like to find in childrens’ books.

Stephanie is a no-nonsense girl who has always felt like she was missing something in her life. She is smart, strong and sometimes annoying, in other words, a great character. Skulduggery is quite glib, wants to do what is right and willing to listen to his new friend. Skulduggery is termed as a detective, but his title could more easily be called rescue adventurer. The other characters are not as well developed, however, they have fantastic names. Names in the book include, China Sorrows, Serpine Nefarian, Valkyrie Cain, Sagacious Tome, Mr. Bliss, Morwenna Crow and Eachan Meritorious. I love how the names give the reader a clue to the personality of the person.

Younger kids will not see the humor in the dialogue between the characters, though I thought it was quite funny. Here is an example of the dialogue between Stephanie and Skulduggery,

“Am I going mad?”

“I hope not.”

“So you’re real? You actually exist?”


“You mean you’re not sure if you exist or not?”

“I’m fairly certain. I mean, I could be wrong. I could be some ghastly hallucination, a figment of my imagination.”

“You might be a figment of your own imagination?” (p. 45)

It is a very fast paced read and there are sections that seem to be missing words that would have made the book make more sense, nevertheless, I thought it was fun and creative and will read more of this series in the future.

3.5 out of 5 stars

– the Mother

About Tales Untangled

I am a mother of four children and have a passion for reading. I love sharing my treasury of books with my kids. I also do experiments in cooking which includes such things as Indian Tandoori Chicken slow-cooked in a tagine. I write stories and illustrate in ink.
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