Book Review: “Skulduggery Pleasant: Scepter of the Ancients”

“Skulduggery Pleasant: Scepter of the Ancients (Skulduggery #1)” by Derek Landy

Genre: Middle Grade/Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy


Other Skulduggery Pleasant books
Source: Kindle freebie

Summary from Goodreads:

Meet Skulduggery Pleasant:

Ace Detective
Snappy Dresser
Razor–tongued Wit
Crackerjack Sorcerer
Walking, Talking,
Fire-throwing Skeleton

—as well as ally, protector, and mentor of Stephanie Edgley, a very unusual and darkly talented twelve-year-old.

These two alone must defeat an all-consuming ancient evil.

The end of the world?

Over his dead body.


The characters made this book for me. Stephanie is a smart and strong heroine. Like many other protagonists in “hidden world” books, she is bored with her ordinary life and jumps at the chance to try a new life. I appreciated the fact that she didn’t just magically fit perfectly into this world. She’s surrounded by magical people and she can’t do magic. That’s a big problem when people are trying to kill you. That doesn’t stop her from working on it though. She practices through out the book and she can finally to a teensy bit of magic.

Skulduggery was… interesting. I liked his personality and how he and Stephanie got along. Seriously the quick, witty banter between the two of them was the best part of the book. I was a bit weirded out by the fact that he’s a 100+ year old skeleton and he’s hanging out with a 12 year old. That’s weird right? Sure nothing weird went on with them but it was a bit odd.

I didn’t enjoy the story as much as I thought I would. I’m always a fan of “hidden world”/save the world books so I should have liked this book. Something just never completely clicked for me. The mythos of the story was a bit too new age-y. Maybe it wasn’t new age-y per se but that’s the vibe I was getting from it. I kind of got in to the habit of skimming over sections where they went into details about the ancient one and the stone. Basically the mythos wasn’t for me but it was done well.

The bottom line? I liked the characters but didn’t enjoy the story.

6 thoughts on “Book Review: “Skulduggery Pleasant: Scepter of the Ancients”

  1. I really loved Skulduggery Pleasant. I particularly like the characters and banter. It’s a series I need to finish. Shame you didn’t like the story line. Great review! 🙂

  2. I have to admit that I love the series and have read them all so far. As I’m a grown up, or so they tell me, I have read so many YA books where teenagers seem to be hanging out with the oldies, that I didn’t even think about it. In Sulkduggery’s defence he does act as a type of father figure to her. I love the way he writes, it flows with such ease without patronising its readers.

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