Review: Skulduggery Pleasant

This review is for a book that I think is seriously underrated.  Skulduggery Pleasant is the first in a series by Derek Landy and currently has less than 54,000 ratings on Goodreads. The first book is more aimed for middle grade children but as the books go on they become aimed at young adults.  

Skulduggery Pleasant Book cover by Dereke Landy

The book follows a 12 year old girl who has just lost her uncle as she gets dragged into the magical world that her uncle sat on the precipice of. She meets an unusual gentleman at her uncle’s funeral and later learns that his name is Skulduggery Pleasant and he is a detective in the magical world that she slowly becomes more embroiled in. 

Stephanie is an interesting twelve year old, she is a very literal thinker and this can cause her reactions to parts of the magical world to be underwhelming.  Stepahnie is very determined but in certain circumstances you can tell that she is used to getting her own way.  Skulduggery on the other hand is a mystery, as the book goes on we learn more about his character.  From his quick wit which i can imagine being on the end of is slightly irritating.  You very quickly fall in love with his character as his dry sense of humour and strong sense of self makes you feel at ease with him.  

A number of the other characters are equally loveable, and flawed.  Stephanie’s father for instance has a terrible memory despite being a very intelligent person and this is highlighted early on.   I am sure as the series progresses we will learn more about the less major characters and possibly more about Skulduggery’s history as it feels that there is more to him than meets the eye. 

Derek Landy’s writing style is very different to other things that I have read.  He can manage a good mix of mystery, emotion and humour throughout the book.  The worldbuilding is strong and I love the fact that the monsters you see in the book are unlike a lot of monsters that you see in some fantasy books. I also like that the rules for the system of magic are shared early on.  This helps the reader to understand why certain things are more difficult than others. 

The book looks at the often explored good vs evil, Skulduggery and Stephanie do everything they can to prevent someone from stealing the most powerful weapon known and when that isn’t successful they are willing to sacrifice their lives to allow the rest of the world, and humanity to live on in blissful ignorance at how close to destruction they had come.  

Another theme that the book explores iis friendship.  Stepahnie very quickly becomes friends with Skulduggery, possibly due to the extenuating circumstances which pulls them together. By the end of the book Stephanie is willing to do anything for Skulduggery and defies her orders from one of his long term friends to rescue a man she has known for a week.  

The final theme of the book that I want to highlight is family. Given how the story starts is is not unrealistic to have expected this theme, but the book reveals more about Stephanie and her family’s history than she was expecting. The book also shows how different family members can be and that despite this they do all have some common ground, regardless of how they wish they didn’t.  

The final chapter of the series is very quaint and makes me want to continue reading the series as soon as possible.  I am however determined to try and reduce my series binging so you will have to keep your eye open for the book I decide to tackle next.  


I am giving this book a strong 4 stars. I feel that the series will only improve from here and would highly recommend you picking up this series if you enjoy mystery books with a hint of magic. 

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