Thursday, September 9, 2010

Skulduggery Pleasant: Scepter of the Ancients, by Derek Landy

Meet Skulduggery Pleasant
Ace detective
Snappy dresser
Razor-tongued wit
Crackerjack sorcerer
and walking, talking, fire-throwing skeleton
As well as ally, protector, and mentor of Stephanie Edgely, a very unusual and darkly talented twelve-year-old.
These two alone stand in the way of an all-consuming ancient evil.

How fun was that!!! We found ourselves on a long lunch hour without the book we were reading, and picked this up to pass the time. We don't even remember what we were in the middle of reading before, because Skulduggery and Stephanie's banter kept our attention to the end. A couple examples:
Skulduggery switched off the engine and looked at her.
"Okay then, you wait here."
He got out. Two seconds passed...she got out and he looked at her.
"Stephanie, I'm not altogether sure you're respecting my authority."
"Yes, I'm not."
"I see. Okay then."
"I try not to depend on magic these days; I try to get by on what's up here." He tapped his head.
"There's empty space up there."
How have Americans by and large missed this one? Harry Potter fans will love it (but it's not like Harry Potter). Lemony Snicket fans will love it (but it's not like Lemony Snicket). Douglas Adams (but it's not) or Gerald Morris (but not). It's sort of a mix of all those, with the tone of the first Men in Black (but no aliens) thrown in.
There are currently five in the series, with the fifth just recently published - unfortunately, only in the UK and Canada so far. Hopefully by the time we catch up it will be available here as well! We read the HarperCollins version we earned from our Scholastic Book Fair last month, which has some extras in the back - make sure you read those, too! In fact, if you aren't sure whether you will like it (as if the word of three turtles shouldn't be enough), just read the short story at the end. If you aren't at least giggling by the time you finish that, put the book down and go out and buy yourself a personality.
We give this an enthusiastic
5 out of 5

1 comment:

  1. If you can get your hands on these books on CD - only the 1st is available in the US in that format I think - DO IT. Rupert Degas reads Skulduggery with this awesome urbane baritone, which just makes his banter with Stephanie that much funnier. And the Troll under Westminster Bridge is a tour de force.