Suzy’s Reading Roundup

Guess what! Stitching for Literacy has two children’s book professionals guest-blogging during the 2010 Bookmark Challenge. They’ve chosen some of their favorite books to share with us.

Skulduggery Pleasant:
Scepter of the Ancients

Written by Derek Landy

The first book in Derek Landy’s Skulduggery Pleasant series is not just another typical world-could-end-at-any-moment-unless-someone-does-something-extra-bright-and-brave fantasy epic. The forces of good include a sassy, smart skeleton detective and an equally smart, sassy twelve year-old girl. Together they attempt to thwart the rather substantial forces of supernatural evil, while trading clever repartee.

Our heroine, Stephanie, is leading a rather quiet life with her parents in small seaside town. After the untimely death of her eccentric uncle, she inherits the bulk of his estate. Soon danger literally lurks at the front door. While staying at her uncle’s mansion, she is attacked by several terrifying criminals intent on locating a secret item hidden within the home. A timely-arriving (and mysteriously garbed) person assists in her escape. After the topsy-turvy scrap reveals the true appearance of Mr. Pleasant, the following conversation occurs, as excerpted from the book:

Stephanie’s legs felt weak and her head felt light.
‘Mr. Pleasant, you’re a skeleton.”
“Ah yes, back to the crux of the thing. Yes. I am, as you say, a skeleton. I have been one for a few years now.”
“Am I going mad?”
“I hope not.”
“So, you’re real? You actually exist?”
“You mean you’re not sure if you exist or not?”
“I’m fairly certain. I mean, I could be wrong. I could be some ghastly hallucination, a figment of my imagination.”
“You might be a figment of your own imagination?”
“Stranger things have happened. And do, with alarming regularity.”

And so begins the wonderful, witty partnership between the two where strange things continue to happen with alarming regularity.

This world is magical. Skulduggery utilizes a nifty piece of magic that allows Stephanie to join him in adventure without her parents noticing her absence. This world is populated by colorful, well-drawn characters. A mesmerizing librarian named China Sorrows. A slinky scoundrel named Nafarian Serpine. This world is dangerous. Whoever finds the destruction-wielding Ancient Scepter, controls the fate of the world. Landy’s superb plotting builds tension with non-stop action and fuzzy loyalties. Impossible to predict and laced with hilarious dialog, it is impossible to put this top-notch detective romp down. Fortunately, the series, and fun, continues in “Skulduggery Pleasant: Playing with Fire” and “Skulduggery Pleasant: The Faceless Ones”.

I always recommend Skulduggery Pleasant for fans of the Artemis Fowl series, The Series of Unfortunate Events and the Percy Jackson series.

Suzy Wilson has been a Bookseller and Children’s Book Buyer for a decade plus a few bonus years. She is a constant reader, resulting in numerous tripping-over-curb injuries.

Categories: Reading