Monday, March 24, 2008

A most unusual detective

I have a crush. On a skeleton. That's right, a skeleton. His name is Skulduggery Pleasant, and he is witty, charming, an accomplished mage, and a kick-ass fighter. What's not to like? He even wears stylish suits.

12-year-old Stephanie Edgley's favorite uncle has died, and she first spots Skulduggery at the funeral. Only, of course, she doesn't realize he's a skeleton. He is wearing a hat, a scarf that obscures his face, and has a lot of frizzy hair. She does feel that there's something strange about him - and as far as Stephanie's concerned, in a life where everything is same old, same old, boring, boring, boring - strange is a good thing.

Skulduggery is at the reading of the will later that week, even though all that eccentric Uncle Gordon has left him is a few cryptic words of advice. Stephanie, on the other hand, suddenly finds herself in possession not only of Uncle Gordon's wonderful old house, but of a considerable amount of his financial resources, as well. Little does she know that Uncle Gordon, writer of horror novels, wasn't exactly writing fiction. And Stephanie's presence in his house draws her into a world she never knew (but always secretly wished) existed.

It takes her a few moments to process the reality of a world that contains a living, (not exactly) breathing skeleton (among other equally unusual, unbelievable things), but from that moment on, she never looks back. Somehow, it seems, this was what has been missing from her life, and now that she's found it, she's not about to let it go. Skulduggery the detective has a new partner, whether he wants one or not - especially when it becomes clear that Uncle Gordon's death was from distinctly unnatural causes. Stephanie has some detecting to do, and nothing is going to stop her.

This is one of the best audio productions I've ever heard. From the jazzy, creepy introduction music to Rupert Degas's amazing reading, I had a grin on my face from beginning to end. Stephanie's fighting prowess as an untrained 12-year-old wasn't too terribly believable, but her gumption and determination were. I particularly enjoyed her relationship with Skulduggery, especially as revealed through their very humorous dialog. This is one of my favorite books of the year, and I am waiting very anxiously for the second book to be published. I intend to wait for the audio version and will be most annoyed if Rupert Degas is not the narrator. I highly recommend this one!

And I've just heard that Skulduggery will be made into a movie!

Books in the Skulduggery Pleasant series:

1. Skulduggery Pleasant
2. Skulduggery Pleasant: Playing with Fire
3. Skulduggery Pleasant: The Faceless Ones 
4. Skulduggery Pleasant: Dark Days
5. Skulduggery Pleasant: Mortal Coil

Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy; narrated by Rupert Degas (HarperChildren's Audio, 2007)

Also reviewed at:
Pageturners Book of the Week
The Book Tub

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16 comments:

  1. I think I have seen the novel version around quite a bit lately. This sounds fun. I really should try out audio books sometime, I will see what my library has when I go to my next book group I think.

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  2. Rhinoa - If you are going to listen to any book on audio, please try this one! You won't regret it, I promise!

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  3. "I have a crush. On a skeleton" has to be the best first line in a review EVER. This sounds fantastic, and once again, who knows if I'd even hear of it if it wasn't for you. Thank you!

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  4. Sounds wonderfully fun. Hope my library has the audio.

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  5. Nymeth - thanks, teehee! I hope you'll read it - it was such fun!

    Booklogged - I hope so, too! I feel like pressing copies of the audiobook into the hands of everyone I know. :-)

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  6. This was recognized on both the YALSA Best Books for Young Adults 2008 and on somebody's recordings list... not sure whether it was ALSC or Audiofile. So I have a copy on display at my library, but nobody's checking it out. Sounds like a should check it out and then do a bit of booktalking! Thanks for your enthusiastic review!

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  7. Julie - it sounds like that book is calling out to you! I hope you enjoy it (I sure did!).

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  8. Hey I love it too. By the way the third one Skulduggery Pleasant 3Æ Return of the Faceless ones

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  9. Thanks, Anonymous! I am STILL waiting for the second one because I really, really want to hear the audio version since I loved this one so much. My library only has the regular book. I've asked for the audible download for Christmas, though, so maybe I'll get lucky!

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  10. Had to comment on here, to avoid reading spoilers! I have now added this series to my giant list of to-reads... it sounds exactly like my kind of thing. I'll likely pick up the audiobook, but I want to read it first.

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  11. I hope you like it as much as I did, Kiirstin! :-)

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  12. I'm only on chapter 7 but I'm completely absorbed by it. Unfortunately I'm reading it in swedish, so I don't really get the authors own version and words - but I love it anyway :-)

    Thanks for the review :-D

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  13. Denise - I'm so glad you're enjoying it. I had to smile at the thought of Skulduggery speaking in Swedish. I bet he's very suave. :-)

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  14. well, I can say it's quite funny how the translator tries to get the polished side to sound good, but it ends up feeling geeky ;-)

    (Sorry about my grammar, you know the swedes:-D)

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  15. well, I can say it's quite funny how the translator tries to get the polished side to sound good, but it ends up feeling geeky ;-)

    (Sorry about my grammar, you know the swedes:-D)

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