Skulduggery Pleasant (Skulduggery Pleasant Series #1)

Skulduggery Pleasant (Skulduggery Pleasant Series #1)

by Derek Landy

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She’s twelve. He’s dead. But together they’re going to save the world. Hopefully.

The iconic first book in the bestselling Skulduggery Pleasant series.

Stephanie's uncle Gordon is a writer of horror fiction. But when he dies and leaves her his estate, Stephanie learns that while he may have written horror it certainly wasn't fiction. Pursued by evil forces, Stephanie finds help from an unusual source – the wisecracking skeleton of a dead sorcerer…

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780008266318
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/01/2018
Series: Skulduggery Pleasant Series , #1
Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 35,561
File size: 1 MB
Age Range: 9 - 12 Years

About the Author

Derek Landy lives near Dublin. Before writing his children's story about a sharply-dressed skeleton detective, he wrote the screenplays for a zombie movie and a murderous horror film. "I think my career-guidance teacher is spinning in her grave," he says, "or she would be if she were dead."

Read an Excerpt

Scepter of the Ancients

Chapter One


Gordon Edgley's sudden death came as a shock to everyone—not least himself. One moment he was in his study, seven words into the twenty-fifth sentence of the final chapter of his new book, And the Darkness Rained upon Them, and the next he was dead. A tragic loss, his mind echoed numbly as he slipped away.

The funeral was attended by family and acquaintances but not many friends. Gordon hadn't been a well-liked figure in the publishing world, for although the books he wrote—tales of horror and magic and wonder—regularly reared their heads in the bestseller lists, he had the disquieting habit of insulting people without realizing it, then laughing at their shock. It was at Gordon's funeral, however, that Stephanie Edgley first caught sight of the gentleman in the tan overcoat.

He was standing under the shade of a large tree, away from the crowd, the coat buttoned up all the way despite the warmth of the afternoon. A scarf was wrapped around the lower half of his face, and even from her position on the far side of the grave, Stephanie could make out the wild and frizzy hair that escaped from the wide-brimmed hat he wore low over his gigantic sunglasses. She watched him, intrigued by his appearance. And then, like he knew he was being observed, he turned and walked back through the rows of headstones and disappeared from sight.

After the service, Stephanie and her parents traveled back to her dead uncle's house, over a humpbacked bridge and along a narrow road that carved its way through thick woodland. The gates were heavy and grand and stood open,welcoming them into the estate. The grounds were vast, and the old house itself was ridiculously big.

There was an extra door in the living room, a door disguised as a bookcase, and when she was younger Stephanie liked to think that no one else knew about this door, not even Gordon himself. It was a secret passageway, like in the stories she'd read, and she'd make up adventures about haunted houses and smuggled treasures. This secret passageway would always be her escape route, and the imaginary villains in these adventures would be dumbfounded by her sudden and mysterious dis-appearance. But now this door, this secret passageway, stood open, and there was a steady stream of people through it, and she was saddened that this little piece of magic had been taken from her.

Tea was served and drinks were poured and little sandwiches were passed around on silver trays, and Stephanie watched the mourners casually ap-praise their surroundings. The major topic of hushed conversation was the will. Gordon wasn't a man who doted, or even demonstrated any great affec-tion, so no one could predict who would inherit his substantial fortune. Stephanie could see the greed seep into the watery eyes of her father's other brother, a horrible little man called Fergus, as he nodded sadly and spoke somberly and pocketed the silverware when he thought no one was looking.

Fergus's wife was a thoroughly dislikable, sharp-featured woman named Beryl. She drifted through the crowd, deep in unconvincing grief, prying for gossip and digging for scandal. Her daughters did their best to ignore Stephanie. Carol and Crystal were twins, fifteen years old and as sour and vindictive as their parents. Whereas Stephanie was dark haired, tall, slim, and strong, they were bottle blond, stumpy, and dressed in clothes that made them bulge in all the wrong places. Apart from their brown eyes, no one would have guessed that the twins were related to her. She liked that. It was the only thing about them she liked. She left them to their petty glares and snide whispers, and went for a walk.

The corridors of her uncle's house were long and lined with paintings. The floor beneath her feet was wooden, polished to a gleam, and the house smelled of age. Not musty, exactly, but . . . experienced. These walls and these floors had seen a lot in their time, and Stephanie was nothing but a faint whisper to them. Here one instant, gone the next.

Gordon had been a good uncle. Arrogant and irresponsible, yes, but also childish and enormous fun, with a light in his eyes, a glint of mischief. When everyone else was taking him seriously, Stephanie was privy to the winks and the nods and the half smiles that he would shoot her way when they weren't looking. Even as a child, she'd felt she understood him better than most. She liked his intelligence, and his wit, and the way he didn't care what people thought of him. He'd been a good uncle to have. He'd taught her a lot.

She knew that her mother and Gordon had briefly dated ("courted," her mother called it), but when Gordon had introduced her to his younger brother, it was love at first sight. Gordon liked to grumble that he had never gotten more than a peck on the cheek, but he had stepped aside graciously, and had quite happily gone on to have numerous torrid affairs with numerous beautiful women. He used to say that it had almost been a fair trade, but that he suspected he had lost out.

She climbed the staircase to the first floor, pushed open the door to Gordon's study, and stepped inside. The walls were filled with the framed covers from his bestsellers. They shared space with all manner of awards. One entire wall was made up of shelves jammed with books. There were biographies and historical novels and science texts and psychology tomes, and there were battered little paperbacks stuck in between. A lower shelf had magazines, literary reviews, and quarterlies. She passed the shelves that housed first editions of Gordon's novels and approached the desk.

She looked at the chair where he'd died, trying to imagine him there, how he must have slumped.

And then a voice so smooth, it could have been made of velvet.

Scepter of the Ancients. Copyright (c) by Derek Landy . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Skulduggery Pleasant 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 47 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is wonderful and unique. I really enjoyed reading it. Skulduggery Pleasant himself is a funny gentleman who has a darker side. This book is not only thrilling but it also reviews alot of things about society and such. The characters are loveable (and of course, hateable.) I recommend ANYONE to read this book.
Mystryrdr More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
karaicrose More than 1 year ago
I am very happy with Rupert Degas reading of this delightfully witty book. I eagerly await Derek Landy's new books to share with my nine year old boys.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i loved reading this book! it was funny, charming and very entertaining. this book keeps you entertained the entire time. it is full of adventure and excitement, i definitely recommend this book if you love exciting fantasy. another reason i would recommend this book is because i don't like reading books that are boring in some parts and exciting in others, this book was entertaining the entire book!
ImBookingIt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm sorry that I don't remember which Twitter friend recommended this book to me, because I'd like to thank them.This book was tremendous fun, particularly in audio.There are quirky characters, both in the good guys and the bad guys (and it isn't always immediately apparent which category each falls into). Stephanie is a very nice young girl with a good head on her shoulders. Thanks to her uncle, who wrote books describing some absolutely unbelievable adventures, she's able to go along with the situation when her help is needed to save the world.The book is a great adventure. It got a little more intense than I thought it needed to at points, but overall it was the fun kind of scary.I'm looking forward to the next book.
KarenBall on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"The author just may have invented a new genre: the screwball fantasy."¿The New York Times Book Review Stephanie's rich, strange uncle has just passed away, and left his house and most of his possessions to his beloved niece. The only person outside of the family to appear at the reading of her uncle's will was someone named Skulduggery Pleasant, who turns out to be an undead detective, aiming to save the world from a nasty bit of ancient evil. Stephanie's uncle possessed a secret weapon called the Sceptre of the Ancients, and in the wrong hands (the Faceless Ones, vampires, zombies, etc) it could mean the destruction of the world. The forces of evil are after it, and they'll stop at nothing to get it... unless Stephanie and Skulduggery Pleasant can find it first! Mystery, magic, hilarious puns and undead humor, action and adventure - - you name it, it's here. A great beginning to the series! Good for 6th grade and up.
wvlibrarydude on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A good beginning for a young adult book. A little on the violent side, but I enjoyed the beginning setup for the world and the characters involved. A quick fun read.
jerm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Skulduggery PleasantStephanie¿s uncle has just died and she finds out that he has left her a very comfortable fortune due to his Mystery writing career. But she soon finds out the his real life has been the basis for all of his stories, and that his partner has been dead for years, but is still walking around, and flinging elemental magic at the bad guys¿.A skeleton detective who can throw fireballs.You sold yet, I was, and after reading it, I¿m ready for more.Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy
SunnySD on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When her uncle dies, twelve-year-old Stephanie Edgley inherits a fortune -- and discovers a whole new world. Her tour guide is Skulduggery Pleasant, an old friend of her Uncle's -- a wisecracking, fire throwing, animated skeleton detective with a penchant for doing his own thing. When Stephanie insists on tracking down her Uncle's murderer, and it appears that an ancient evil has returned and is stalking her, Skulduggery and her own determination may just be the two things that can stop the end of the world.I sure hope there's a sequel, and soon -- Stephanie's a superior sort of heroine, and Skulduggery is not to be missed.
essa868 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best written YA books I have ever read. The conversations between the two main characters actually made me laugh out loud. This is a detective story with a fantasy twist.
kings7 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the type of book I enjoy
limoncello on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Fast-moving fun. Love the names and the plot twists. The odd sexist comment.I enjoyed reading this book and can understand it's appeal to teenagers.
princessponti on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Fun packed action / adventure book, when Skulduggery Pleasant, the snappy dressing skellington detective first enters into Stephanie's life, things will never be the same. Lots of one liners and sarcasm fill this book in between the fast paced action. Some of the characterisation for me was a little out, with the two main characters feeling too similar, and some of the baddies weren't as scary as they could have been - that aside though, this was a fun book to read, and for its target audience its probably near perfect!
barpurple on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I like this. It's kinda fun and a bit dark. Skulduggery is super cool :)
jiona on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Fantastic book. Great fun, lots of action and a sarcastic skeleton detective driving the story along. Essential reading for anyone who wants to read a book aimed at young people, but that will be fun and rewarding for anyone.
magemanda on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Skulduggery Pleasant is the debut novel by Derek Landy, and on this evidence I believe he should have many successful books ahead of him. He tells the tale of a wise-cracking skeleton detective, who befriends a young girl called Stephenie Edgley when her uncle is murdered. They are from then drawn into a world of magic and mystery and uncover a plot by the leading dark wizard to bring back old Gods and murder all those without magic.The plot moves at breakneck speed, with sparkling dialogue between Skulduggery and Stephenie. It is easy to follow and twists many cliches in the pursuit of entertainment. The skeletal detective at the heart of the novel is by far the best part of it all - never less than interesting, witty and good-humoured. I would greatly enjoy reading more adventures involving him.Stephenie is resourceful, brave and cool-headed - a fine role model for girls who pick up this book. In fact, the strength of these two characters cause the others to fall into their shadow and the secondary characters are never truly fleshed out to the point where you would care about them.I also have complaints about the bad guy who, despite my earlier words, is terribly cliched. He is paper-thin in terms of characterisation, never really gives reason for his motives, and is used more for comedy effect than tense moments.It is easy to see that Landy has a background in martial arts because his fight scenes are effective and efficiently-written, showing us clearly how they would play out.Lastly, I would comment that the system of magic, while unoriginal, shows signs of being used to a greater extent in novels to follow.Altogether this is a blast of a debut novel, setting the scene in an exciting manner for more tales of Skulduggery Pleasant.
welkinscheek on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Excellent. The writing has a wonderful quality. SOrt of an amusing blend between J.K. Rowlings loveable characters and Terry Pratchett's wit.
chibimajo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Stephanie knows there is something strange about Skulduggery when he shows up at her uncle's funeral. But she wasn't expecting to find out that he was a walking, talking skeleton, and now she needs his help in order to survive the attacks on her life and solve the mystery behind her uncle's death.
dfullmer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a fun fantasy not for the faint of heart. Skulduggery is a skeleton detective sent to investigate magical cases. Stephanie's uncle dies mysteriously and she is drawn into Skulduggery's sometimes scary and intense world. Some violence not suitable below 5th grade.
wyvernfriend on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An interesting story about a girl who finds herself embroiled in magic, murder and mayhem in Dublin when her uncle dies suddenly. When she finds that his horror stories were in fact based in truth she has the choice to join forces with good to defeat evil or stay with the normal world.Interestingly complex, the characters aren't always just black and white and betrayal is a strong motif. The idea of an animated skeleton as hero is interesting too.Stephanie came across as being more 15 than 12, and maybe she should have been written as a little older.Interesting first novel and I'm looking forward to more by this author.
_kawaii_chan__ More than 1 year ago
Skulduggery Pleasant has magic, fantasy, fascinating creatures, humor, the most wittiness I've ever read, class, cleverness, and lines which will make you look like you're smirking/smiling to yourself in public. Absolutely a great read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Doors are for people with no imagination." This is an amazing book, and the start of an amazing series. It's fast-paced, fun, and engaging. While the genre is young-adult, older readers will be just as interested as the younger ones. If you're a fan of Rick Riordan, Eoin Colfer, and Brandom Mull, you'll enjoy this series, but it stands out from among other urban fantasy stories. From the witty humor to the creepy undertones of certain aspects, Skulduggery Pleasant is unique and worth your time. The first of an ever-growing number of books, it introduces a cast of characters and a world of magic, which set the stage for the gripping stories to come. Even if you find this first one a little predictable or cliche, trust me, the series is for you. AND it's now widely available in the United States. So go read it! Favorite [spoiler-free!] quote: "I'd just like to take this opportunity to say that, in my own way, I love you all, even those I don't particularly like."
Coreena More than 1 year ago
This is a really fun book, full of interesting characters, adventure, and action. I was engaged right from the first page. Skulduggery Pleasant is a skeleton detective with a dry wit and a quick mind and full of snappy quips. You know right away when he appears at the fringes of his friend’s funeral that he is going to be interesting and full of character. He teams up with twelve year old Stephanie to find the Sceptre of the Ancients after her uncle’s death. There is mystery and intrigue right away, pulling both Stephanie and the reader into a magical world hidden in just below the surface of the everyday world. I liked Stephanie — she is feisty and fearless, willing to fight for what is right. She is sensitive and thoughtful, but also determined, is able to stand up for herself, and is up for adventure. Landy has created a fantastic magical world in this book, filled with interesting characters and menacing villains. Many of the characters are stereotypes, however, with the evil ones having no redeeming qualities and the good ones very sympathetic. This is a great start to the series and I can see kids racing through these books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Skulduggery Pleasant is a wonderful series by Derek Landy. I would recommend this book to anyone. It falls into Fantasy/Mysteries. I have re-read this book multiple times and it really pulls you in even on the third time! Landy Is a great author. The book is witty and intriguing. It left me waiting for book seven! -Hugo