Review: Skulduggery Pleasant

284440Meet Skulduggery Pleasant.
Ace Detective
Snappy Dresser
Razor–tongued Wit
Crackerjack Sorcerer
Walking, Talking,
Fire-throwing Skeleton.

—as well as ally, protector, and mentor of Stephanie Edgley, a very unusual and darkly talented twelve-year-old. These two alone must defeat an all-consuming ancient evil.

The end of the world? Over his dead body.

Many thanks to Orphu for introducing me to this series! Its premise sounded completely bizarre, so naturally I was interested. And now I am hooked. I finished the second book just the other day and feel disappointed, not because of the book, but because my library only has the series up to book three. How tragic.

Anyway, the review. Right.

Note: This book can also be found under the title Scepter of the Ancients! It was retitled so as not to confuse the title of the first book with the title of the entire series.


The story is hilarious!

I laughed throughout the entire book. Skulduggery and Stephanie have a great friendship and an even better witty banter between them. I love sarcasm and deadpan humor more than almost anything else in the world (except chocolate and cute fictional girls) and Skulduggery Pleasant did not disappoint in this regard.

I think my favorite quote of all was, “I’m placing you under arrest for murder, conspiracy to commit murder and, I don’t know, possibly littering.”

If you liked Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl series I think you would also like these books – very similar sense of humor, plus similar amounts of odd characters (with even odder names).

The plot was a bit episodic but hey, it kept the action going.

The book was like, “Stephanie and Skulduggery did this fantastic thing and then they did that and then they went over here to defeat the bad guy and then BOOM and and and then it was awesome!”

That’s not the kind of book I’m used to and yet it didn’t irritate me that much. A little? Sure. But it wasn’t a big deal. Skulduggery Pleasant belongs to that odd in-between group where you can’t tell if it’s YA or a children’s book. And authors can get away with episodic plots quite easily in children’s literature, if the majority of what I’ve read is anything to go by.

I want to meet Skulduggery so badly.

When I read, I often look for three types of characters with whom I wish I could have some sort of relationship. I look for characters who would be good best friends, characters who would be good girlfriends, and… uncles. Not what you were expecting?

I don’t really know how it started. I mean, I have decent non-fictional uncles. Maybe it’s because I can’t really imagine anyone else as my dad – the only character who even comes close to dad-ish-ness is Mr. Weasley.

So uncles it is. Seriously, imagine how cool it would be if the Doctor were your uncle and every so often he stopped by your house so the two of you could go visit the planet of the Ood or wherever. Or, for a very different – much calmer – sort of uncle, how about Remus Lupin? He’s smart, he’s kind, he knows how to fight against the Dark Arts.

Now imagine if your uncle were a sarcastic, snazzily-dressed, fireball-throwing skeleton detective. Pretty cool, no? THEN WHY IS SKULDUGGERY NOT REAL? I would love to have weird adventures and fight crime with him and hurl fire at people and generally cause havoc.


Skulduggery Pleasant is, well, like no other book I’ve ever read. It’s witty and zany and yet dark as well. It was a quick read, and a lovely one. I look forward to the next books in the series!

If I can find them, that is.

Rating: 3.5/5


About nevillegirl

Elizabeth. University of Iowa class of 2019. Triple majoring in English & Creative Writing, Journalism, and Gender, Women's, & Sexuality Studies. Twenty-one-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, aspiring writer, and lesbian. Passionate about feminism, mental health, comic books, and cats.
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14 Responses to Review: Skulduggery Pleasant

  1. Miriam Joy says:

    My criteria for uncles is that they have to be called Andrew. Because I have three uncles, and all of them are called Andrew, and therefore I remain convinced that it’s 100% necessary to be called Andrew to be my uncle. Go figure.

  2. Miss Alexandrina says:

    First comment! BOOM!

    jewgfkhabvwdf.inq/ Yay! You did this!
    I have to say, though, if that’s the ebook cover, I don’t like it. What is up with that font??
    “amounts of odd characters (with even odder names)”. Let me tell you, the names get even weirder in the following books. Sometimes I wonder if these characters think “oh, yeah, I’m definitely going to be as my magic progresses, so that’ll be the perfect surname for me.” At least Tanith Low is a magical but also SENSIBLE name. I also wonder what Skulduggery’s name was before he died. Because that would be a creepy coincidence if he was always Skulduggery.
    Again – I don’t know if it was you I was talking about this with/near – as I said, what I’m not liking so much on my way through the penultimate book is the sense of: Skulduggery and Valkyrie find stuff; then evil guys fight them; more running/investigating; more fighting; some other character gets into trouble of the fighting kind. Yeah, Last Stand of Dead Men is effectively about war, but as someone who prefers characters to spend at least some time in contemplation, the pacing felt off to me.
    Aww, I WANT LUPIN AS MY UNCLE. Or possibly my lover.
    (Did I mention I’ve met the author and have his autograph? 😉 )

    • nevillegirl says:

      (Oh noes! Miriam beat you there! xD)

      ????? I didn’t know that you were a fan! Or if I did, I must have forgotten.
      Anyway. The cover. That’s just the… book-book version, I guess. (Aaah I can’t believe I actually said “book-book” what am I five years old? I meant the physical copy not the ebook.) I love the cover, but the font is a little weird, I’ll give you that. A little too cartoonish.

      Names such as Billy-Ray Sanguine? 😀

      AAAAH I HAVE ALL THE LOVE FOR TANITH OK. She does have a lovely, sensible name and she’s just… yes yes yes. She’s all young rebel-ish and sassy but she’s actually quite old and I like that a lot. It’s a neat combination.

      Hmm. Well, honestly, that sounds like my opinion of the first two books. I enjoyed them, but the plot is TOTALLY “they find stuff and they fight evil guys and the plot bounces around wildly.”

      Ahaha, I’m glad you agree!

      (I. AM. JEALOUS! :P)

      • Miss Alexandrina says:

        Ah, yeah, I’ve been a fan for years! (Not since the beginning, but since 2010-ish when I was a reading buddy and my 12-year-old partner starting reading the first book. :P) Hmm, must have been Cait or someone on TCWT whom I was trying to persuade to read the books, then.
        Edit: just looked on my blog, and, going by the tag, I’ve mentioned the series eight times. My favourite is from the March 2013 TCWT blog chain, where I wrote a snarky letter to Billy-Ray. You can also see a version of the cover there:

        Well, it’s not the physical cover(s) I have. Maybe it’s the US version?

        No, that’s acceptable 😀 I mean, Billy-Ray is actually a name. Some of the characters I’ve met have adjectives as their first names as well, and I’m like *raises eyebrow* “really?” I’d be more specific, but my books are at home so I don’t end up reading them when I’m supposed to be revising.

        She’s my favourite character. (And not just because, like me, she’s blonde, likes rock music and is English 😉 ) Though stuff happens to her later in the series and, whilst it doesn’t change my opinion of her as a person or as a written character, it makes me sad because she’s less cool.

        Yeah, I agree. I think what puts me off series of 5+ books is that the writers feel that the first few books can be light-hearted and larky, but then they have to ramp up the tension and make all that happens really dark to build up to the finale. Don’t get me wrong, the back-and-forth in the dialogue between Valkyrie/Skulduggery, Skulduggery/everyone else is still there and it keeps me grinning, but the tone just feels TOO dreary for an SP book.

    • nevillegirl says:

      Ahaha, I love the letter!

      *frets about Tanith possibly becoming less awesome*

  3. orphu44 says:

    Ahh, I’m glad you enjoyed it! And a review for it, too. Goodness.
    I would love to meet Skulduggery, as well. In theory, anyway. If it were actually to happen, I’d probably pick someone like Tanith, for the sake of not being as intimidated. I’d still be intimidated, but just about anyone from the Skulduggery books would intimidate me, so I’d make the best of it. I’d miss out on some good banter, though.
    Although if memory serves, book three would be an … interesting … place to leave off in the series. I could be wrong, though, since I apparently couldn’t remember when the Torment showed up.
    (If that’s the cover of the copy you read, then our copies had different covers. Mine has Stephanie on it, as well.)

    • nevillegirl says:

      Of course, a review! Especially since I’ve pestered you to read god knows how many books, so I thought I’d write this post and then we could fangirl.

      Well, you could always meet Billy-Ray Sanguine instead, I suppose.

      The Torment showed up in book 2. And I’m going to see about filling out some “request book to be purchased” form-thingies that my library supposedly has, because I WANT TO FINISH THIS SERIES.

      And yes, that was my copy’s cover. Is yours basically the same thing, just Stephanie? Or something else entirely?

      • orphu44 says:

        Oh, that’s lovely. Urk. I’d much rather meet Tanith than Billy-Ray. Which isn’t really saying much, because Tanith is a flawless friendly, feisty freelance monster-killer (good Gollum, that was a bit of alliteration). But I’d even rather the Torment than Billy-Ray Sanguine, I think. At least at the moment.
        And yeah, the more I think about this, the more convinced I am that I’m not mixing my timeline again. There’s a /thing/ that happens in book three. Which, as I said before, would make it an interesting place to leave off.
        It was of Skulduggery Pleasant, but it was more of a close-up of his face (such as it is) with Valkyrie just beside/behind him. It still had the ‘and he’s the /good/ guy’ tagline, though.
        And I actually love the names in the series. The name ‘Synecdoche’ comes up later, and there is nothing I dislike about that. (But, honestly, I applaud Valkyrie for choosing such a great name a) in such a stressful situation, and b) when she’s twelve.)
        (Consider me jealous about meeting the author, as well.)

    • nevillegirl says:

      Does Tanith remind you of a more awesome version of Tonks, or is that just me?

  4. Oh! I love this series. It got a bit confusing towards the end, and I have no idea about any of the books in the next one, but it was an…interesting read. I especially like Skulduggery and Valkyrie. It’s not often that I like both of the main characters, but, well, I hit the jackpot here.

  5. Pingback: A Sky Full Of Stars – Top Ten Books I Read In 2014 | Musings From Neville's Navel

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