by Derek Landy
When Stephanie's Uncle Gordon dies, Stephanie's life is changed forever. Not because she misses him, although she's almost the only one who does, and not because she inherits his fortune, which she does, but because she discovers the existence of magic. Stephanie meets a mysterious stranger at Gordon's funeral, a stranger who claims to have been her uncle's friend. The stranger, who calls himself Skulduggery Pleasant, turns out to be a walking, talking skeleton! Skulduggery is a detective and an elemental mage, and Stephanie soon teams up with him to solve the mystery of her uncle's death. Suddenly, breaking and entering, battling monsters, and confronting evil mages is all part of a days work for Stephanie.
Skulduggery Pleasant is one of those books that you just can't put down. It's exciting, it's funny, and it's filled with interesting characters doing interesting things. You just can't help but like Stephanie - her stubbornness, courage, and impulsivity make her a character to be reckoned with. The witty repartee between Skulduggery and Stephanie is hilarious and one of the delights of the book:
"So why do they want me to be there? Aren't I the innocent young girl being led astray?"
"See, I don't really want them to view you as the innocent young girl. I want them to view you as the rebellious, insubordinate, troublesome rapscallion who has made herself my partner. Then maybe they'll take pity on me."
Skulduggery Pleasant is a fun, fun book that will appeal to kids and adults who love adventure, excitement, magic, and humor.
Younger and more sensitive readers should know that there is a fairly high level of violence in this book. The humor takes the edge off of it, but some people may still be disturbed by it.