This is a book that’s part detective drama, part action movie. Let me introduce to you a walking talking skeleton whose bones animated themselves out of sheer spite. He solves crimes and is a good guy. After his friend’s death, Skulduggery Pleasant meet’s his niece: a twelve-year-old girl named Stephanie. This unlikely friendship blooms into a beautiful partnership of wit and fighting ancient evil with magic. I adored the world that Derek has created, it was just right. I would call it magical realism which I like to think of as subtle enough to be plausible much like Neil Gaiman’s works.
There is no faulting Derek Landy’s dialogue. Skulduggery meets an equal in Stephanie and it makes for fantastic reading. Cheesy but good cheese: the good guys saying something witty after disposing of a replaceable generic minion by knocking him unconscious with a tennis racket and remarking ‘ten – love’ or something similar. This is Derek’s realm of expertise, not mine. It reads and feels like an action film. There are chases, time is running out and we don’t know who we can trust. It’s a gripping read and I read it too fast, I would have to go back to re-read passages because I didn’t know how a character found themselves in the jaw of a monster. That’s an example, I don’t think that quite happened in the book. Or did it and I’m tricking you so I don’t spoil the ending. Read it for yourself and find out.
Occasionally, you need a book like Skulduggery Pleasant. I call them palate cleansers, like a sorbet at a fancy restaurant with several courses and a new wine for each one. I’m okay with the wine side, but I’ll stick to three courses. After reading crime or generally depressing but beautiful books, I want fun and hope. This falls in the fun category. I’m desperate for the rest of the series. Everyone’s shitting all over 2016 because it shit on us. For me 2016 was a good year and Skulduggery Pleasant was a part of that joy.