magic, and pinstripes, and mouthy skeletons

I've been dying to review this book at our YS meetings since I read it early last summer.
Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy appealed to me for very few reasons but very compelling ones.

1.) The cover: something about a skinny man in pinstripes suggests quality.
2.) The title: Skulduggery is an excellent word that is underutilized in modern speech.
3.) I think I read a review somewhere that suggested that the main character was a smart-aleck and that made me shiver with anticipation.
4.) It's an action-packed fantasy that's not Harry Potter...In fact, I tend to think that SP would kick HP's tuches in a darkened alley.

The plot: Gordon Edgley dies unexpectedly. In his lifetime, he had become quite wealthy as an author despite being an oddball and not-well-liked in the writing community. At his funeral, Stephanie Edgley, the niece of Gordon, meets a friend of her uncles standing under a tree, far away from the group. He’s an odd man covered from head to toe (think Claude Rains as the Invisible Man) who seems to know more about her than she expected. Stephanie becomes even more fascinated by this unknown man when, at the will reading, his name is given as Skullduggery Pleasant and he is given cryptic advice from her uncle’s lawyer.

When it is discovered that the 12-year old inherits her eccentric uncle’s enormous fortune, her world turns upside down. She discovers that the mysterious man isn’t a man at all but a snappy dressing, sharp-tongued, flame throwing, magic wielding skeleton and that a war is going on unbeknownst to the rest of the world.

She joins forces with Skulduggery and enters a world where people can control the elements, all who are old and wise don’t necessarily have the mental agility to save anyone, and where skeletons can walk, talk, and throw fire.

[Insert a Beavis-like, “Yeah…hehehe. FIRE!”]

It's book one of what is supposed to be a 9-book series.
Yikes. Nine, huh?

The book was good. Pretty good. It was dark and funny, the characters were clever. It didn't really hook me, though. I'm not eagerly anticipating the next one. I will probably read it, though.

Overall it's a fun read but pretty dark to be in the Juvenile section...I'd recommend it to preteens or to older J-readers. I think it could be appealing to both girls and boys, which is always nice.

On a completely different note, the website totally rules. The graphics are great, there are character bios, a short history of the world, and some fun extras.

Check out the British website as well (I think the artwork is way cooler).

It would make a great movie.
Warner Bros. apparently owns the rights to it.
Who knows how good it will be.
It has such potential, though.

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