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Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy

Updated on March 24, 2016
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Nightcat is an avid reader who loves writing reviews to spread her addictions with the masses.

Skulduggery Pleasant, Skeleton Detective

Skulduggery Pleasant is one of those novels largely passed over in America, and it shouldn't be. As a novel it reads more like a movie script, with vivid scenes playing out before the reader. It is also one of those rare books where you will forgo food and sleep to read the entire thing in one go.

If of course you aren't so excited that you have to put it down and pace for a while. All you hardcore readers hear me, I know you do. So, even though there is a brief review in my larger SP lens, I figured I could get more in depth here, and let you enjoy the story. Because it deserves further going over, and this lens will not be directed toward any audience but current and future fans of the novel. Warning: Massive spoilers ahead!

Intro photo and scan of my own copy, all other art credited and linked. If you own any of the art used here and want credit and a link, or something removed, please, contact me.

3/1/13: Links to my other SP lenses are up, huzzah!

Skulduggery Pleasant

This is a smash hit of a debut novel, having won awards and acclaim from readers and reviewers alike. Landy is a powerful, vivid writer, all his characters are fully formed, and each scene plays out in cinematic quality.

Although in a sense Valkyrie is the hero of the novel, it is better to say she and Skulduggery are the heroes. For without him she wouldn't be alive, and she certainly wouldn't be magical. Although some readers may dislike her starting in the world of magic so early, she's light years behind other characters such as Tanith Low for example, so it all evens out.

Skulduggery Pleasant
Skulduggery Pleasant

War is a big theme in the novel, and not the romantic version of it either. While most of the adults are cringing cowards about it (the 'peace' is more or less the good guys rolling over and playing dead) Valkyrie is ready to charge in, guns blazing. Well, if someone would give her a gun, she would.

That's what makes her so very brave and appealing. She has no magic, no fighting abilities, yet she risks her life repeatedly for Skulduggery and her other friends. Readers will be cheering the two detectives as they go through the case, and eagerly await the next novel.

 

Skulduggery Pleasant - Book Trailer - Doesn't explain a blessed thing, does it?

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How I came to the Novel - My own copy

I adored the entire series for the longest time, well it seems like a long time, through fan fiction. Don't whine, coming in the back door has a lot to recommend it. I found the type of shippers I liked, devoured the slash, and well, actually ended up ordering the novels. Yes for pity's sake it was Valduggery. Pairing her with anyone else makes my skin crawl.

I was also told Skulduggery Pleasant is a lot like a dear friend of mine, and he is at that. Both men have rather large egos and adore themselves. Both will fight, even when it looks like all hope is lost because you have to fight, even when you know you will die, or the bad guys win.

Plus both are protective and like to see themselves as mentors, but I can't recall either one getting that kind of respect from their prospective 'students'. I've read the novels out of order, due to the shipping times, so it was the novella, then book six, book seven, book one.

I do print out some stories by writers I admire, and sooner or later I will get around to some Valduggery myself. Don't worry it will be g-rated. I am a lady, more or less. I just tore down a Freddy fanfic though, and should really replace that.

Skulduggery Pleasant Bio

Skulduggery isn't quite an anti-hero, but he's close. Despite his rather high opinion of himself not one person other than Valkyrie will listen to him. They see his justifiable need for revenge as a bad thing. Apparently if someone kills your family right in front of you, you are supposed to shrug it off and get over it.

While it is true Skulduggery does desire revenge those aren't his only motivations. Having been good friends with Valkyrie's uncle Gordon, he is fiercely protective of her. He bonds quickly, considering her a good friend within the space of several days, a momentous feat since not too many people truly like him.

Skulduggery will do what needs be done to solve a case, even if it involves lying and breaking sacred trusts. He lies to Valkyrie all the time, but she accepts it since she knows his telling the truth would get him nowhere.

When Valkyrie wins the respect of the elder mages for both of them this only increases his own sense of self worth. Also, since there will be war he will enjoy himself immensely. Detective Pleasant being rather self-centered and needing constant excitement and danger, because of course, he is so wonderful.

Artwork courtesy of Skulduggery Pleasant UK

Valkyrie Cain Bio

She is twelve, going on twenty. Val has a good head on her shoulders and is a lot braver than a lot of the men in the novel, God bless Derek Landy. She has always longed to be more than what she is, so the world of magic beckons to her, despite everyone, Skulduggery included, trying to shield her due to her age.

But she is also a warrior, even though she doesn't feel like one. Her high sense of justice and loyalty will not let her back down after her uncle's murder. He was the one man on the planet she felt understood and accepted her for who she truly is, and she returned the favor.

Valkyrie seems to form strong bonds with those she sees as outsiders, like herself. So she loved her uncle, and adores Skulduggery, not that she would admit to any such thing. She should never be mistaken for a child.

She's a woman, nearly fully grown thanks to the loss and battles she has gone through. She's also magical, something she will have to hide from her family, something that breaks her heart. Living in two worlds is never easy, but her devotion to Skulduggery and her other friends, as well as her need for magic and adventure sustain her.

Artwork courtesy of Skulduggery Pleasant UK

Why aren't the novels big in the US?

Well America, unfortunately, is run by adults. Adults who ever since The Wizard of Oz have been rather nervous about young women paired with adult men. Because apparently every adult male is a monster of depravity, to borrow a song lyric.

So pairing Valkyrie with a living skeleton who is over four hundred makes Americans nervous. Why, every young lady will be out digging up graveyards or tracking down detectives. Who knows what sort of mayhem could result.

This is utter rubbish. Young ladies (I despised the term girl myself) in general have a great deal of common sense about them, and unlike adults they don't read the novel and instantly see some kind of unhealthy relationship.

Yes maybe they become smitten with Skulduggery, and who wouldn't? But they might take a liking to Mr. Bliss or Ghastly just as easily. Frankly, they might like Tanith or Valkyrie better. Young ladies reading this will know very well what I'm dancing around, and I figure that's your own business entirely.

If it wasn't for younger women who are fonder of older men (even if just by a few years) the population of Earth would most likely be zero. You are perfectly normal, don't worry about a thing. You just matured faster than boys your age, all women do. Men of course, never grow up, sorry to disappoint you.

Keep that in mind when you see some hate-filled rant about the novel being unhealthy or a bad influence. Also keep in mind that the readers in the world are the leaders. Keep reading, no matter what it is, read everything you can get your hands on, even a grocery list.

You'll be the ones to get the lessons and wisdom in the novel, you'll be the ones to act on them. Adults rarely learn such marvelous things, which is why I never intend on becoming one.

Artwork courtesy of Skulduggery Pleasant UK

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    • Nightcat profile image
      Author

      Nightcat 3 years ago

      @boneworld: Thank you, boneworld, and thanks for visiting! :)

    • boneworld profile image

      Jackson Thom 3 years ago from West of Left South Lucky

      This sounds great, and that skull face is very expressive. I love it!

    • Nightcat profile image
      Author

      Nightcat 4 years ago

      @getmoreinfo: My pleasure, getmoreinfo, hugs! :)

    • profile image

      getmoreinfo 4 years ago

      This looks like such an interesting storyline. Thanks for sharing.

    • Nightcat profile image
      Author

      Nightcat 4 years ago

      @Holley Web: Thanks so much, 24websurf! The series is certainly addictive! Thanks for the visit, hugs! :)

    • Holley Web profile image

      Holley Web 4 years ago

      Wow! Amazing looking! You've convinced me I need to get this book now.