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SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT by Derek Landy Kirkus Star

SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT

By Derek Landy

Age Range: 12 - 15

Pub Date: April 3rd, 2007
ISBN: 0-06-123115-0
Publisher: HarperCollins

A high-intensity tale shot through with spectacular magic battles, savage mayhem, cool outfits, monsters, hidden doors, over-the-top names, narrow escapes, evil schemes and behavior heroic, ambiguous and really, really bad. When the murder of a favorite uncle touches off a frantic search for a fabled superweapon known as the Scepter of the Ancients, 12-year-old Stephanie is abruptly pitched out of her mundane life. She hooks up with Skulduggery Pleasant—a walking, wisecracking, nattily dressed, fire-throwing skeleton detective—and similar unlikely allies to fight a genially sadistic sorcerer out to conquer the world and to bring back the bad old gods. It’s a great recipe for a page-turner, and though Landy takes a chapter or two to get up to full speed, the plot thereafter accelerates as smoothly as Pleasant’s classic Bentley toward a violent, seesaw climax. Earning plenty of style points for hardboiled dialogue and very scary baddies, the author gives his wonderfully tough, sassy youngster a real workout, and readers, particularly Artemis Fowl fans, will be skipping meals and sleep to get to the end. Expect sequels. (Fantasy. 12-15)