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Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy

Published by Harper Collins, 2007

Reviewed by Kilmihil Children’s Book Club

Stephanie’s Uncle Gordon was an author. He died suddenly and Stephanie, being his favourite niece is left his house and all his money, much to the disgust of her Aunt and Uncle. At Gordon’s funeral, she notices a very unusual looking man in an overcoat, hat and dark glasses, whom she later meets. His name is Skulduggery Pleasant and is in fact a living skeleton of a long dead magician. Stephanie discovers a world of magic, mayhem and the excitement she always longed for.

When Stephanie stays over at Uncle Gordon’s and the house is broken into, she is saved by Skulduggery and is drawn into an adventure beyond her wildest dreams. The man was looking for the key. She finds out the key will lead to the Sceptre of the Ancients.
Skulduggery is sure Serpine is after it. They both go to meet the Elders who guard the book of names. The book lists the names of every person living on earth. It’s protected by the will of the Elders and cannot be stolen. The Elders don’t want to believe Serpine is back to his old tricks.

Serpine is the evil sorcerer who killed Skulduggery and his family. He has a red hand, that when used causes an agonising death to the one it’s turned on. Serpine and the Elders have had an uneasy truce for hundreds of years but Skulduggery knows he is up to no good. He knows it was Serpine’s man who was looking for the key in Gordon’s house and he is fairly sure he killed Gordon. It’s up to Stephanie and Skulduggery to do their best to stop Serpine, but will their best be good enough?

This is a humorous book. It was very enjoyable, fast paced and exciting. It’s based in Ireland so the children could relate to the humour in it. It was very easy to read and was enjoyed by all the book club members.

Rating: 9 out of 10.