Last week, I promised a very special review. When I said special, I didn't mean it would be spectacular, or that I'd suddenly learn how to write and sound interesting...I meant that it would be special to me.
A dark day is upon us. Because Derek Landy's Skulduggery Pleasant series is over.
Several years ago, my mum bought me the first of the Skulduggery Pleasant series. I looked at it, and frowned. The book was orange, a colour I'm not mad keen on. And it was about a skeleton, because of course, every pre-teenage girl wants to read about living skeletons.
Image sourced from here.
It sat on my bookshelf for about six months, probably feeling sorry for itself and resenting me for ignoring it. Until one day, I picked it up...and couldn't put it down.
There is no way to provide a synopsis of the nine-book series, because there are forty billion characters and just as many things happening. But it is well worth a read, and this is why:
1 – This isn't just a story where magic happens: it is an intricately designed world where hints dropped in book one make sense all the way through to book nine. The writing is clever.
2 – Many stories of this kind tend to be all about the punching. And whilst there is a lot of punching (and shooting, exploding, kicking and throwing people across rooms) in this series, there is also an actual story. Real characters with real lives and real emotions fight for things that matter to them. And because the characters matter to the reader, the things they face do too.
3 – When I say 'real characters', I don't mean people who actually exist. I mean that Derek Landy isn't afraid to not give the reader what they want. It's so easy to create protagonists who are perfect people; people who selflessly and effortlessly save the world, and who use violence only as a last resort. But characters like that are boring, and noone cares about them because they're not real. In Skulduggery Pleasant, there's no such thing as a 'good guy', just a better guy. And that reality makes the story so much more convincing. Equally, Landy isn't afraid to brutally destroy the characters we love most, making him some sort of sadistic genius.
4 – Humour and emotion are the two things that I think draw everyone to a story. Humour that makes them feel like they're part of the characters' world, and emotion that makes them care about everyone in it. Skulduggery Pleasant is full of both of these.
I'm not going to talk about the final book because many people are still reading it...but it was pretty epic.
Every girl who reads the series wants to be Valkyrie: either in real life, or in a movie. A movie that, if it comes at all, will be after the final book, which I find a little strange. Still, if only I had an Irish accent...
Derek Landy has a frankly, ma-HOO-sive ego. But he also has a right to, because Skulduggery Pleasant is a work of genius.