Hooked on Skulduggery Pleasant
You may already know that I am NUTS about the gruesome Skulduggery Pleasant stories by Derek Landy. I have included its criminals in my Vile Villain series and discussed its heroine Valkyrie Cain in one of my first blogs called, What Makes a Good Heroine? So what is the big deal?
Valkyrie first meets Skulduggery at her uncle's funeral. After a while she becomes his sidekick and they solve mysteries and hunt down villains together. She is a fantastic character who may have attitude and no friends at school, but one thing she does possess is a natural talent for fighting monsters and also… magic.
Yes, there sure is magic in these stories! Valkyrie is an 'Elemental' and also a 'Necromancer', meaning she can control fire, water, earth and the air and also the shadows. So is Skulduggery, a living talking skeleton who is held together with magic. Valkyrie's friend Tanith Low is an 'Adept'. All Adepts have different powers, Tanith's being that she can walk on walls and the roof.
There is also the very strange subject of names. Every person living on Earth has three names. First, there is a given name, the one given at birth. Then there is a taken name, which a person can choose for them self. Thirdly, there's a true name, which most people never find out. This name is magical, but I won't give away more.
Magic? Living talking skeletons? Everyone having three names? This might sound weird, but that's one of the things I like about this series. It's quirky.
Skulduggery Pleasant is also pretty violent in some parts, which while disturbing, adds motive to the storyline. After Valkyrie sees Tanith being tortured, she wants to finish off whoever did it to her. This is balanced by some funny characters; Scapegrace is amusing without even knowing it, but he is boastful and reckless.
Every book begins with a cliff-hanger; book one starts with a murder, the second has Valkyrie hanging off a very high window, the third with another murder and so on. It makes you want to keep turning the pages. The stories all have many ups and downs. When Skulduggery is sucked into another world with crazed gods intent on destroying him, Valkyrie is desperate to save him and gets lonely and upset. She is even more disappointed when Skulduggery thinks that she is a hallucination.
This series is not for the faint-hearted, but Derek Landy gets what 'tweens like. I've read seven of his books and I'm going back for more!