Stephanie Edgeley has lived a rather quiet, normal life with a rather quiet, normal family in a rather quiet, normal town. Very little changes, until the death of her uncle Gordon turns her world on its head and throws her into some strange company. You see, Gordon made some very unusual friends, friends who have suddenly become Stephanie's very unusual friends.
Enter one Skulduggery Pleasant.
Skulduggery Pleasant is a sorcerer, a detective - and he's also a skeleton. Stephanie, now involved in his line of work, must confront an ancient evil and stop a malevolent necromancer from wreaking utter havoc upon the world.
Witty. Charming. Endearing. Smart. All words that Skulduggery would use to describe himself (if you were to ask), but I find they apply nicely to Derek Landy's novel. Skulduggery Pleasant is a real treat.
Although I believe it falls on the spectrum of children's/adolescent fiction, I truly enjoyed this novel for its wit and its captivating characters. It's made for a younger audience, of course, so the language and difficulty follow suit, but it's a well-written novel and it's lively, entertaining, and unique.
Why "unique"? Skulduggery Pleasant falls under paranormal fiction, which, at one time, saw a very large surge of interest; however, it isn't the same cookie-cutter paranormal fiction you might usually find. Landy manages to put an entirely new spin on fairy tales, myths, and paranormal creatures, making his novel unique and thoroughly enjoyable.
First and foremost, I should point out that I absolutely love Skulduggery Pleasant. Stephanie is a clever, quirky character and she makes one heck of a heroine - she's a tough girl who manages to take the idea of magic and animated skeletons in stride - but, let's be honest, it's hard to top a walking, talking, flame-throwing magical skeleton like Skulduggery.
Especially with him being such a snappy dresser and witty conversationalist and what not.
Personally, I have no complaints about Skulduggery Pleasant.
It's a novel built for a younger audience, so if you aren't interested in such fiction or you're looking for something particularly challenging, I might not recommended it. However, if you're looking to branch out into something different with snappy dialogue, magical creatures and characters, and plenty of adventure, I would definitely recommend taking Skulduggery Pleasant for a spin.
Skulduggery is a skeleton, so it wouldn't be a great leap in logic to come to the conclusion that something very bad, very tragic happened in his past. (When you finally learn his back story, you'll see exactly what I mean.)
Furthermore, the villain named Serpine (even his name seems evil) is a necromancer. He works with death and dead things, so it's almost guaranteed that there will surely be some blood, gore, violence and, yes, death involved as Serpine becomes a more frequent visitor.